What to do with a can of beans

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Using canned beans for meals makes sense for a lot of reasons. For one, they are probably the healthiest protein food you can eat - they are high in fiber, many nutrients and phytochemicals - and they don't contain saturated fat. It is even easy to find canned beans with no added salt. For a second reason, which concerns most, they are low in cost per serving - just pennies an ounce. For a third reason, they are convenient and fast. Our taco recipe was made in less time than it takes to round us up and drive to a restaurant.

But a real drawback - is what to do with them? It is not like you are going to find them extremely palatable to open the can and eat them. But a few easy steps in the kitchen can bring you a feast.

Delicious Vegetarian Tacos:
Bean filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 can no-salt-added black beans

cooked rice (2 cups)

10 medium soft taco shells - see notes at end

non-fat sour cream

4 ears of corn, microwaved and kernels sliced off into bowl (or use 2 cups frozen corn kernels and heat according to package directions)

1 sweet potato - bake 5 minutes in the microwave - cut in quarters

1) Saute the garlic, onion and pepper in the olive oil until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the canned beans including the juice. Season with cilantro and lime.
2) Soften the tortillas in the microwave by heating briefly
3) Make the tacos by placing rice, beans, corn and sourcream in the center of the tortilla and rolling up.

Serve the tacos on a plate with corn and sweet potato. Roll and chill extra tacos for later.

We made fresh peaches for dessert - quarter peaches and place in microwave container with lid. Cover and cook for 6 minutes.

Notes about the tortilla shells and other ingredients. We found these tortillas that are low in fat and sodium - that is more important to us to have them low in sodium than it is to have them be whole grain particularly with the fiber found in the beans. Many tortilla shells are very large and very high in sodium so you have to read the labels.

We like the tubes of garlic and cilantro. They are only $3 and they last a long time - we get at least 20 meals out of each one.


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