Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart,
the more you eat the more you fart,
the more you fart, the better you feel,
so beans, beans for every meal!
I’ve brought you this moment of kid humor in honor of American Heart Month. I’ve got a beany, heart-healthy recipe to share with you–low in fat, high in fiber, and packed with veggies. Like I’ve said before, preventing heart disease is even more important to us as South Asians because we are more susceptible to it. Check out these tips on a heart healthy diet from the Mayo Clinic.
Back when I first started cooking, this was one of the first dishes I created on my own. After I graduated from college, my mother was intent on teaching me to cook. I resisted. I had no interest in cooking and thought it was sexist that she wanted to teach me (but not my brother) to cook. The cooking lessons were generally a part of making me a “marriageable girl.” I asked whether men were being trained to cook so that they could be “marriageable boys.” Further arguments ensued.
(If you’re reading mom, I love you!)
Ironically, my future husband (I Am Dad), is an excellent cook. And we plan to teach I Am Toddler to cook too when he’s old enough. Man or woman, knowing how to cook healthfully is an essential life skill.
Eventually, I did develop an interest in cooking, but not the usual (to me, boring) dal bhaat shakh rotli. No, I wanted to make fun meals (dips, sandwiches, fusion food, etc.). In my mind, anything with Mexican flavors is fun food. Here’s an easy dish that uses the Mexican flavors of beans, garlic, onion, tomato, and taco seasoning (Costco Mexican, though not authentic).
|Southwest potatoes – an easy vegetarian weeknight dish. Heart-healthy too!|
|Bake your potatoes. This takes an hour so start this first. Russett potatoes give you great texture and flavor.|
|Pressure cook your beans. Make sure your kitchen is messy. This adds to the taste of this dish.|
|Here are my chopped veggies, grated garlic, and frozen corn. This large picture size shows me that I need a new cutting board.|
|Sautee your veggies and the cooked beans in a nonstick pan. Looks like healthy confetti!|
|Cut open your baked potato, spoon the bean mixture on top, and add sour cream and salsa.|
Ok, back to the recipe. These are approximations, so you can tweak the mix of veggies and seasonings to your taste.
Russett Potatoes (1-2 per person)
Medium-sized onion, diced
1/4 green bellpepper
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup or so of beans (kidney, red, pinto, or black)
1/2 cup of corn (kernels)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Garnish: sour cream, salsa, taco sauce
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Scrub your potatoes, poke them in several places with a fork, and rub vegetable oil on them. Set them on a baking sheet and let them bake for an hour. You can bake the potatoes in the microwave to save time – 7 to 10 minutes on high, turning halfway through the cooking time. Once they are done, set them aside.
While you are baking the potatoes, pressure cook the beans until they are soft but still retain their shape. With my pressure cooker, this means you let the whistle hiss continuously for 15-20 minutes. Open the pressure cooker once it has cooled and the pressure has dissipated (on mine, a button pops down). You can save time by using canned beans instead.
Now, chop up your veggies. I used frozen corn to cut down on the chopping. This would be a great summertime recipe with fresh corn. You can save time by prechopping your veggies on the weekend and freezing pureed garlic into small ice cubes. Another option is to buy your veggies prechopped at the grocery store.
Heat the oil in a nonstick pan at medium-high.
Add in the onions and garlic first and stir until fragrant. Then add in the corn and bell pepper. Let them cook for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes. Add the cooked beans, reserving the bean water. Now add your taco seasoning. 2-3 tablespoons should do, but you can add more if you want more flavor. Salt to taste and add the cayenne pepper.
If you want a barbecued taste, you can increase the heat to high to char the veggie mixture a bit. Make sure you stir frequently though.
There are two ways to serve the potatoes. The way I did it, and a better way. The better way is to scoop out the inside of the potato, leaving about 1/4″ shell of potato. Mix the scooped out part with the bean mixture and then put it into the potato shells. The easy way (the way I did it), was to cut the potato in half and just pour the mixture on top. The problem with my way is that you have a ton of plain potato left over after you eat the bean mixture, and that’s just not fun.
You can make this recipe diabetic friendly by scooping out most of the potato and serving the bean mixture in a thin potato shell. Substitute diced yellow squash for the corn.
These reheat well, so you can save your leftovers for the following day’s lunch.
Did you make this recipe or any of my other quick weeknight meals? Send me a picture at email@example.com, and you may be featured on an upcoming post!