A Simple Dinner of Beans
As someone who eats mostly vegetarian, beans are regularly on the menu in our home. We love to add them to soups, taco pile-ups, curries, salads, you name it. They’re highly versatile and make a wonderful accompaniment alongside whole grains and vegetables for a complete meal.
So, it was only fitting to make a new family favorite bean recipe for the blog. These Lemon Thyme White Beans with Capers are delicious, satisfying, and incredibly simple to make. Everything gets thrown in the crockpot to cook on low for 8 hours then, voila, you have a delicious dinner ready when you get home!
A great pairing for these beans, in my opinion, is risotto with a side of sautéed asparagus or green beans. And if the idea of standing over the stove top cooking risotto doesn’t excite you, there are plenty of oven-baked risotto recipes on the web these days.
Beans and Longevity
I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about the benefits of beans. In The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner, a book about the world’s oldest and healthiest people, one of the main secrets the research team tied to longevity was that most centenarians ate beans and legumes regularly (i.e. on a daily basis). *Side note: Here is a pdf handout of the Blue Zones Food Guidelines if you’re interested. What’s even more interesting is they found they only ate meat 2-4 times per month.
This is a stark contrast to the way we eat in the United States, where meat is found at every meal and typically covers over half of the plate! Compared to meat, beans are cholesterol-free, lower in fat, and higher in fiber.
Most people are aware of these facts, but what many haven’t heard about is their antioxidant content. It just so happens that beans are one of the top sources of antioxidant-containing foods (source).
So if beans are healthier, cheaper, and easy to make, what’s keeping Americans from eating them more often? THAT I would love to know, but in the mean time I will keep preaching.
- 1 lb. (16 ounces) white beans such as Great Northern or Cannellini, dry
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, whole
- 5 stalks fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Capers, for garnish
- Rinse the beans then put them in the slow cooker with 8 cups water, bay leaves, garlic cloves, thyme stalks, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and salt.
- Set on low, cover, and cook until the beans are soft and done (about 7-8 hours).
- Serve hot and garnish with capers, fresh thyme leaves, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Add more salt to taste.