By: Jodie Shield, RD

 

Beans belong to the family of plants known as legumes, of which there are about two thousand varieties all over the world.  Beans are a key ingredient in many ethnic foods.  Hummus (pureed garbanzo beans mixed with seasonings) is a popular dish in the Middle East.  Tacos and tostadas – favorite foods from the Southwestern United States – use kidney, black, and pinto beans.  And dal (pureed mung beans or lentils) is a staple of Pakistani and Indian cooking.

To help jump-start your bean knowledge, I’ve put together a some bean facts.  Here are some of kids’ favorite beans, along with suggestions on how to serve them.  For more information and recipes about beans visit www.northarvestbean.org.  They have an awesome bean reference chart!

Pinto Beans: Medium-size, beige and brown color, oval shape, and earthy flavor.  Taste Great In:refried or Tex-Mex dishes.

Navy Beans: Small, white color, oval shape, and mild flavor.  Taste Great In: Baked beans, soups, stews, and pureed spreads.

Great Northern Beans: Medium-size, white color, oval shape, and mild flavor.  Taste Great In: Soups, stews, and casseroles.

Kidney Beans: large, dark or light red color, kidney-shape, and full-bodied flavor.  Taste Great In: Soups, salads, chili, and Creole dishes.

Black Beans: Medium-size, black color, oval shape, and earthy, sweet flavor.  Taste Great In: Soups, rice, and Mexican, Caribbean, and Latin American dishes.

Garbanzo Beans: Medium-size, beige color, round shape, and nutty flavor.  Taste Great In: Soups, salads, and Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes.

Lima Beans: Either large or baby-size, creamy-white color, flat shape, and sweet flavor.  Taste Great In: Soups, casseroles, or by themselves.

Black-Eyed Peas:Medium-size, black dot on creamy color, oval shape, and subtle, savory flavor.  Taste Great In: Rice dishes.

What’s your kid’s favorite bean?

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