The humble old baked bean sometimes gets a bad reputation due to its melodic qualities once it hits the bowels, and there has been some talk going around as to whether they are too sugary or salty. They are sadly underestimated, as they are little powerhouses of nutrients including protein, fibre, iron, vitamin C (thanks tomato sauce!) to name a few, which leave you feeling super satisfied once you have finished eating them. For the sugar, there is only added sugar in the sauce, so to get rid of this, drain as much of the sauce as possible and voila! If you are concerned about the salt, there a reduced salt and no added salt varieties available for purchase.
Beans are not used widely in many Australian households, and they can be really versatile, cost effective, and easy meal option for any meal of the day. They are great straight out of the can for a snack or easy lunch, or warmed up on toast, and the different flavours you can buy at the supermarket provide a great variety of quick easy options. What if there was an easy way to do more with the taste which got you singing for beans again?
So how do we jazz up the humble baked bean to make it more than what came out of a can?
• Cheese – this is the easiest option! Ensure you keep your portions low, so around 20g (size of a credit card, or a pre-cut slice) for 200g serve. If you go too crazy with the cheese, it will be way too stringy to enjoy.
• Mustard, garlic, and cheese – this one is a favourite! Use your favourite mustard to give it some zing. Add a teaspoon of mustard and garlic to a 420g can, and add cheese in similar portions to above. If you like more garlic or mustard, add more! Works well with vegetables for dinner, or with on toast for breakfast.
• Stuffed jacket potatoes – add some hot baked beans and a sprinkle of cheese on top for a magic meal.
• Salsa, corn, and olives – this one is great for a Mexican twist, and the salsa can give it a little zing depending on what level of spice you get. Use ½ cup salsa (can get too runny otherwise, a small can of corn, and 2-3 tablespoons of sliced olives. This one can also be used for nachos, or in lettuce leaf tacos (if you are monitoring your carb intake)
• Burgers – when you need something quick and from the cupboard. Combine a 420g can of beans with 1 egg, a small chopped onion, and ½ cup of flour, mix together or blitz it, form into patties and then give them a quick fry. Burger time!!
For any more ideas, feel free to contact one of our Accredited Practising Dietitians for advice. But feel free to enjoy this easy winter warmer!