Beyond baked beans and toast

First aired on Radio West (30/11/11)

Let's face it: beans are not the most glamorous ingredient. Many home cooks in North America don't get far beyond heating up canned baked beans as a side-dish. And, of course, there's the notorious, ahem, gastric side effects associated with consuming them.

Cookbook author Sue Duncan wants us to reassess our relationship with the humble bean.

beans1.jpg"Beans are used in cuisines almost all over the world but we're pretty lagging behind in North America," she told CBC's Radio West during a recent interview. "A lot of the time, we don't quite know what to do with them. If you give someone a chicken or some ground beef, they can usually build a meal, but with beans they're a little unsure, they usually come up with super chili."

Duncan, along with Julie Van Rosendaal, has compiled a new cookbook called Spilling the Beans, which is full of recipes that should win some converts. Try your hand at making turkey chickpea sliders or white bean risotto with sun-dried tomates, spinach and parmesan cheese. After all, Duncan says, it's in our best interest to get more of this high-fibre, high-protein food into our diets.

"We just need to broaden the outlook a little bit. Beans have got...a much bigger role to play actually than just dinner-time, you can bring them into breakfast, you can bring them into snacks, appetizers, lunches, everything."


Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Everyday

by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan

Buy this book at:

Save on Music, Books and Dvds at Indigo

From the publisher:

"Learning to cook delicious meals using healthy ingredients is a snap in this new cookbook from bestselling author Julie Van Rosendaal and her long-time friend Sue Duncan. With humorous anecdotes and current factoids on health, Julie and Sue explain everything from the truth behind beans and flatulence to demystifying the simple process of soaking and cooking dried beans and lentils. At a time when eating foods that are as good for the environment as they are for us is a growing concern, whole, healthy, high-fibre foods such as beans and grains are in high demand. Helpful info from gastroentrologist Dr. Guido Van Rosendaal also highlights the physical benefits of incorporating more legumes and whole grains into our everyday diets. Spilling the Beans covers it all, from how to cook up beans and grains, to how to add healthy fibre to your favourite desserts. An entire section on baking delicious desserts with beans amps up cakes, bars, and cookies with flavour and fibre. With so many delicious desserts with beans as the hidden ingredient, this book is sure to be the talk of many a dinner party. And it's a surefire way to get more healthful foods into children's diets, as well."

Read more at Whitecap Books.

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