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Beans for low sodium cooking


Beans for low sodium cooking with Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Cindy Kleckner

Cindy Kleckner, registered dietitian and co-author with Rosanne Rust of the Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies and I were talking about some of the benefits of these little powerhouses of nutrition.

This is an adaptation of our discussion at the Cooper Nutrition & Health Expo in March during National Nutrition Month. (To see the video go to “In honor of Meatless Mondays, the benefits of beans.”)

Neily:  Beans fit into a heart healthy diet so wonderfully.  What is the difference between these three products [packaged unprocessed, canned beans, and canned reduced sodium beans]?

Cindy:  You cannot get any better than beans. It’s a very economical way to get your protein and fiber. To cook them from scratch, you first have to soak them overnight or you can do a quick soak with hot water. There is no sodium at all in beans (dried, unprocessed). Another way to get beans is from the can. You can take a can of beans, put it in a colander, rinse with cold water, and remove 40% of your sodium. You can also get the reduced sodium variety, which is going to be a savings of quite a bit of sodium. You can still, take the liquid out, put it in a colander  and rinse it under cold water to get rid of sodium. There is no difference at all in the fiber (7-8g per half cup). There is no difference at all in the protein content (7-8 g per half cup). The difference is purely the sodium. And convenience, really. You can also generate flavor by adding garlic, celery, onion powder, any other vegetables and you don’t really need the sodium at all for a flavoring agent.

A bowl of Mexican-style vegetarian black bean ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First-Place Chicken Chili

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 9 servings

1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 cup flour

12 yellow corn tortillas, torn in pieces

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced celery

1 large green bell pepper, diced

8 cups unsalted chicken stock

3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

One 16-ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup shredded lowfat cheddar cheese

1 avocado, cut into 8 to 10 slices

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced

Fresh lime wedges (optional)

  1. Combine the pepper, thyme, cumin, garlic, chili powder, and flour in a food processor. Add the tortilla pieces a small amount at a time and process until everything is finely ground.
  2. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper; sauté until the onion is transparent. Add 1/4 cup of the chicken stock and cook until the mixture is well-blended.
  3. Add the ground tortilla mixture and cook until thick.
  4. Slowly add the remaining chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, until soup consistency is achieved.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and the navy beans. Simmer on low heat just until the flavors are well blended, for about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve in warm soup bowls with grated low-fat cheese, avocado slices, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges (if desired).

Per serving: Calories 567 (From Fat 261); Fat 29g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 118mg; Sodium 311mg; Carbohydrate 39g (Dietary Fiber 11g); Protein 36; Potassium 830mg.

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