Make this two-bean and herb salad that won’t leave you or your friends hungry an hour later — hello fiber and plant-based protein!
The key to making the perfect cold salad for summer parties, BBQ’s and hangs is making a large batch salad once for the entire week ahead or to serve a large group of people. The other key, it needs to be simple, and a two-bean and herb salad filling enough to not leave you hungry an hour after eating it!
That’s where the plant-based protein, fiber, and carbohydrates come into play with this easy bean salad using chickpeas and pinto beans along with fresh herbs, olive oil dressing, and crunchy toasted almonds.
Are Beans Healthy?
For most of us, beans are a great part of a healthy diet! For some, beans may cause digestive issues depending on their digestive health, health issues like diabetes, autoimmune issues, or gut issues in general.
Beans are starchy carbohydrates, they’re rich in fiber and plant-based proteins and minerals especially magnesium, but when did beans get such a bad reputation? Starches, also known as complex carbohydrates, are found in starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, beets, and beans, but they’re also in whole-grain bread, pasta, cereals, and oatmeal.
Whole-food starches and fiber are slowly digested and don’t spike blood-sugar levels as much as white sugar, for example. The problem is when/if we consume too many highly processed starches or ones that lack fiber, that can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes — think of a roller coaster constantly going up and down representing your blood sugar levels and your energy.
Legumes also contain substances called phytates and lectins, which at their core, may prevent our bodies from absorbing and utilizing the nutrients we eat. Lectins are great for plants, they guard plants against “predators” by acting as a natural pesticide, yet can cause digestive issues for some people. For most people though, beans can be a healthy part of most diets, eating around 1/2-1 cup of beans a day is just fine and contributes to a good amount of fiber.
Beyond fiber and plant-based protein, but they’re also rich in other nutrients, like magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. An easy way to increase your daily fiber is to incorporate 1/2 cup or more legumes a day, which is about 10 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup serving, about 30% of your daily fiber needs! These don’t have to be chickpeas and pinto beans, beans and legumes that fall into this category are also lentils, split green peas, hummus, edamame, and tempeh.
Do Beans Cause Bloat?
Maybe, maybe not. Just like any other food, we all react differently to foods because we all have a unique makeup of bacteria in our digestive system (hello microbiome). Feeling bloated after eating beans can be from a variety of reasons, mainly it’s from the gas production from eating dried and cooked beans and it can be prevented by soaking the beans and changing the water several times during the cooking process.
Adding herbs like fennel or caraway can help reduce bloating or gas that you may experience while eating beans. Also, chat with your dietitian to see if beans are right for you in general, and also a digestive enzyme may help you digest beans better or reduce bloating and gas issues if taken before a meal rich in beans.