Beans, Beans, the musical fruit!

There’s been a lot of ‘bean talk’ at our house lately. Why? Because as of two days ago, my older daughter has decided to become a Pescetarian. A pescetarian (pronounced pesk-a-tarian) is a person who eats seafood and vegetables only, excluding other animals from their diet. I’d like to say this is just a passing fancy, something she’ll toss to the wind when the next basket of chicken tenders comes her way, but I don’t think so. She’s been very serious about this, mulling it over for months now, and her dad & I respect her decision. But while supportive of this choice, we’ve also been stressing the need for her to maintain a balanced diet.  If she’s going to eliminate meat from the equation, she’s going to need to replace it with other sources of protein. Hence the ‘bean talk.’

Beans are such a fabulous source of protein, as well as other vitamins and nutrients. Only problem? She’s reluctant to eat them. I’ve made many bean-inclusive dishes over the years, most recently sharing bean and barley soup, sweet potato and black bean burritos, salmon with mango and chickpea salad, and tuna and white bean salad. All completely acceptable on her new pescetarian diet. Only problem? She’s great when it comes to the fish, but she’s never taken to the beans. My daughter loves tofu and edamame, both excellent meat alternatives.  And she’ll eat peanut butter without jelly.  But she’s going to need more variety.  My mission? To get my older daughter to EAT HER BEANS!

Beans are cheap and abundant.  Whether purchased dry and soaked overnight, or ready-made in cans, I keep lots of them on hand. And whether buying in bulk or preprocessed, Whole Foods is my go-to store.  Some complain that Whole Foods is too expensive, but when you purchase selectively you can do very well shopping there. Beans are a perfect example. Whole Food’s sells a house brand called 365 Everyday Value, and their 365 Everyday Value canned beans are truly a steal. Whereas most grocery stores might have a single type of no salt added canned beans, Whole Food’s sells four different kinds!

365 Everyday Value No Salt Added Garbanzo Beans, Pinto, Kidney and Black – all top quality and delicious – for a mere 89 cents a can.  You heard me!  89 CENTS. A CAN.  Most of the organic, no salt added beans I find in supermarkets or online sell for (on average) $2.49 a can.  Compared to those, that’s savings of $1.60, almost TWO EXTRA CANS OF BEANS.  It’s like buying 3 for the price of one.  They aren’t organic, so that makes a big difference, but at 89 cents a can I’m willing to go conventional on this item.  Not surprising, I go to Whole Foods and stock up, buying 12 cans or more at a time.  Often the clerk and bagger look at me a little funny, but I don’t care!

The bottom line is, I need your help. It take a village to raise a child after all, and it’s been a long time since I was a vegetarian. If you have any kid-friendly bean recipes (or other veggie dishes) that would also fit with my strict low sodium diet, I’d be so grateful if you’d share them below. Thoughts?  Ideas? I’d LOVE to hear from you! THANKS SO MUCH!!

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