Creative Ways to Get More Beans in Your Diet, by Deborah M. Gonzales, LCSW, VLCE

posted February 13, 2024

Image credit: Leopictures from Pixabay

Beans! The humble, often maligned and belittled bean is having a moment. From celebrity chefs, environmental groups, animal rights activists, Whole Food Plant-Based/Vegan influencers, to nutritionists—everyone is talking about beans. As they should. Beans are nutritious, affordable, sustainable, and delicious.

I have always loved beans, but my journey to Bean Connoisseur began as an inaugural member of the now coveted Rancho Gordo Bean Club. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, sales at this heirloom bean company doubled over the pandemic. Members of the Bean Club (all 11,000 of us) get a curated box of beans and recipes every quarter. 35,000 people are still on the waitlist to join. Beans are the thing.


Beans are nutritious, full of fiber, protein, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, and calcium. Small but mighty, they can help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org recommends eating beans or whole grains at every meal; they are that nutritious.

They are also filling.

Creative Ways to Eat More Beans

Most of us have eaten beans and rice, refried beans, baked beans, beans in chili, tacos, soups and stews. These dishes are all delicious, but that isn’t where the versatile bean ends.

Image credit: The Jaroudi Family

A little over three years ago, I took the Forks Over Knives Rouxbe Plant-Based Cooking Course and explored such novel (to me at the time) bean dishes as: mayonnaise, sour cream, gravy, cheeze sauce, brownies, cakes, dressings, sauces, and more—yes, all made with beans.

It was quite the learning curve and very exciting. Sauces and dressings elevate dishes from good to great and I was thrilled to find ways to achieve that without animal products

To quote Brittany Jaroudi of The Jaroudi Family, “Beans are such a perfect food. Packed full of fiber, protein, and can be added to any meal, even dessert.”

Check out Brittany’s Chocolate Chip Cookies made with nutritious beans!

Environmental Impact of Beans

Image credit: Pixabay

Beans are good for the soil. As nitrogen-fixating crops they put nitrogen back in the soil, something unique to beans and legumes, thus reducing the need for fertilizers, making them very sustainable. They also help prevent soil erosion.

Beans create 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than meat production, which creates nearly 10% of U.S. climate emissions.

Cooking Beans

Check out the resources from the experts at Rancho Gordo for cooking beans.


Photo credit: Deborah Gonzales

Deborah M. Gonzales LCSW, VLCE, has been a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist for over thirty years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill, Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from eCornell and T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, and is a graduate of the Main Street Vegan Academy.

She is working towards retiring as a psychotherapist to work fulltime as a coach sharing her passion for Whole Food Plant-Based/Vegan eating and living. You can find her at www.deborahmgonzales.com and on Facebook.



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