Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's for Dinner: Multi-bean soup

I found a great bean, pea and lentil combination at Costco last week (top photo) and had to try the mix with my favorite bean soup recipe.  Beans are one of the most heart healthy foods around, because their soluble fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. Beans and other legumes are also lower on the glycemic index, which means they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels.

Not everyone is a bean lover, but if you are, try this recipe with any mixed bean and legume combination for an excellent cold weather warm-up!

Recipe: Multi-bean soup

20 ounces (2.5 cups) mixed dried beans
1/2 cup quick barley
8 ounces lean ham, cubed (or sliced smoked sausage)
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
28 ounces diced tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
Juice of 1 lemon (3-4 tablespoons)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Wash beans thoroughly. Place beans in large pan and cover with at least 3 inches of water and 1-2 tablespoons salt. Soak overnight (or at least 5 hours) in the refrigerator.  Drain beans and add 2.5 quarts water. Add meat and barley. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours.

Add onions, tomatoes, chili powder, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Simmer another 30-45 minutes.

Serve with crackers or whole grain bread and a green salad. Serves 7 people (2 cup servings) as a main dish, or serves 14-15 using one cup of soup with a sandwich on the side.  Great as leftovers.

Nutrition information per one cup: 149 calories, 9 grams protein, 1 gram fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 388 milligrams sodium.

Recipe adapted from recipe on Hurst’s HamBeens 15 Bean Soup package.

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