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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise

Using Your Bean

With this issue Vegetarians in Paradise continues the bean explorations of VOW, a diabetic who has discovered the importance of beans in her diet. In subsequent VIP issues VOW will enlighten our readers with the further Adventures of the Bean.

Adventures of the Bean #9
VOW and Hubster Visit Future Dream Spot

by VOW

Includes Recipe Below

This month's offering will be a quickie. Hubster and I are escaping the rat race and taking a week off to celebrate our anniversary! A couple of years ago we bought undeveloped land in Arizona, and we're going there to dream our dreams. Hopefully we will be able to retire from our jobs and settle there in the not-so-distant future, living the good life, breathing clean air, and surrounding ourselves with lots of growing things.

I have mentally designed gardens where I will plant all sorts of yummies, including my precious heirloom beans! In fact, one of the reasons for my aggressiveness in diabetes management is to have the health to enjoy the numerous Golden Years I plan on spending on our patch of dirt in Arizona!

Cannellini Returns for an Encore
A couple of months ago, I introduced the cannellini bean, or Italian kidney bean. It's a sturdy fellow, accustomed to holding up well in well-seasoned Italian dishes flavored with herbs and tomatoes. Knowing this, I figured that cannellini would also be an excellent salad bean. I wanted something that wouldn't turn to mush when combined with crunchy veggies and doused with dressing. VOW

I was right, too!

It's summertime, and who wants to sit down to a steaming bowl of soup? Wouldn't you rather have something cold from the fridge that isn't wimpy or, God forbid, "light?" It may be hot outside, but hunger pangs still need to be satisfied. Here's a bean dish that will fill you up, store nicely in the refrigerator without becoming soggy or blah, and also makes a beautiful presentation for parties or picnics.

And with beans as the basis, it's also nutritious.

(If you use the "cheats" (canned beans), it's incredibly easy too!)

Italian-Style Bean Salad

    1 pound (450 g) dry cannellini beans or substitute canned, drained cannellini beans or navy beans, 2 1/2 cups (600 ml)
    2 bunches fresh kale
    2 bunches fresh radishes
    1 bunch green onions
    Bottled fat-free Italian salad dressing.

  1. Rinse and soak beans overnight, using kombu if desired. Drain the next morning, cover with fresh water, and cook until tender, but still firm.
  2. If using canned beans, drain well and rinse slightly, measuring out two and a half cups.
  3. Wash kale, trim from ribs, and steam or microwave briefly, then cool immediately in ice bath or under cold running water. Drain well. Dice kale (about two cups' worth) and add to cooked beans.
  4. Wash and trim radishes, then dice. You should have about one cup. Add to beans and kale.
  5. Wash and clean green onions, then cut into small slices. You should have about a half-cup. Add to beans, kale, and radishes.
  6. Add about a cup of the fat-free bottled Italian salad dressing, or to taste. For more zing, a splash or two of cider vinegar is nice.
  7. If your herb garden is flourishing, diced basil and oregano are excellent in this!
  8. Cover and refrigerate overnight, to allow flavors to blend. This should make eight servings, about two-thirds of a cup each.

Nutrition Information, per serving:

108 calories
6g protein
20g carbohydrate (5g fiber, so 15g net carb)

A good source of phosphorous, potassium, folate, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin K!

Next month, I'll bore you with details about being a diabetic traveler, or "How to Behave While Living out of a Suitcase!"

Click here for more Adventures of the Bean

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