|Cranberry beans are a great source of protein and fiber.|
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Beans and Greens
"Beans and greens" is one of my absolute favorite and versatile meals. We always have tons of kale in the garden and a pantry-full of various dried beans. Spinach, chard, escarole, collards, mustard and turnip greens are also excellent "greens" to make with this dish (cooking times will vary depending on the selection of beans and greens). I usually make a big pot for dinner and serve left-overs for lunch. Beans and greens can be eaten over a cooked grain, pasta or as is. And now with my Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker, it's easier than ever to make this healthy and delicious dish.
The Mind Diet, a diet used in a study to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, recommends eating six or more servings of greens and three servings of beans per week.
Cranberry (Borlotti) Beans
This year I became addicted to Rancho Gordo beans. My son sent me a huge assortment of them for Christmas and I've been working my way through them in various recipes. The Cranberry Bean has become one of my favorites. Their creamy texture and short cooking time make them perfect for many dishes such as "beans and greens" or my other personal favorite, "pasta e fagioli", or as they say back in Brooklyn, "pasta fazool."
Cranberry beans are an excellent source of vegetarian protein, providing 16.5 grams of "complete" protein per cup, meaning they contain every essential amino acid. They also provide a whopping 17.7 grams of dietary fiber. One cup also provides 92% of the daily requirement of folate, an especially critical nutrient during pregnancy.
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Cranberry Beans, Kale, and Mushrooms
Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free
[makes 6 servings]
Requires an Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
1 1/2 cups dry cranberry beans
4 inch piece kombu (optional)
4 slices of onion
Salt and pepper to taste
8 cups destemmed, thinly sliced kale
4 ounces fresh maitake or shiitake mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Sort through the beans, removing rocks and debris. Rinse well.
Place in the Instant Pot and cover with 2 or more inches of cold water. Let sit over night.
You have two choices after this:
* Rancho Gordo suggests cooking the beans in their soaking water. This provides for a slightly richer broth. Or:
* You can rinse the beans before cooking them. Soaking and rinsing the beans helps eliminate the indigestible sugars that cause gas and reduces the phytates that bind with important minerals making them unavailable. You still get a rich, delicious broth.
Whether you cook the beans in their soaking water or rinse them after soaking, make sure there is at least an inch or two of water covering the beans. I like to make my beans saucy.
Add the sliced onions over the beans and snip the piece of kombu into thin slices and add to the pot. You may also leave the kombu whole and remove it before eating. Some people reuse it.
|Kombu is a sea vegetable.|
It improves digestibility of beans and reduces issue with gas.
Kombu is a source of iodine, missing in many diets.
Look for it at your health food store or Whole Foods.
|Beans, water, kombu and onions in the Instant Pot.|
Ready to start cooking!
Make sure the top vent of the Instant Pot is closed. Secure the lid, hit the manual button and set to cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.
After the pot cooks at high pressure for 8 minutes, hit the off button and let the pressure come down naturally. Carefully remove the lid, tilting it so that the steam escapes in the back. Test the beans to see if they are done. Salt and pepper to taste and place the cooked beans and broth in a large pot or casserole dish. Set aside. No need to wash the instant pot. You'll be using it again.
|Cranberry beans after cooking.|
I selected maitake mushrooms for this dish today but I've also made it with others. Shiitake mushrooms are particularly good to use. If you are using maitake, break them apart into small pieces. If you are using shiitakes, remove the stem and thinly slice.
Place the kale, mushrooms, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper into the Instant Pot. Add 3/4 cups of the bean broth to the kale mixture. Stir to combine.
Secure the lid and hit the manual button. Set to cook at high pressure for 3 to 4 minutes. When complete, hit the off button and do a quick release of the pressure. Open the lid carefully. Mix the kale and the beans together.
Serve over rice, quinoa, millet, or other whole grain. Or, mix together with cooked pasta.
Per serving: 228 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 285 mg omega-3 and 355 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 15 g protein, 41 g carbohydrates, and 15 g dietary fiber.