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Old 05-14-2008, 06:00 AM   #1  
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Default Cooking with beans

So I have been experimenting with cooking less meat with beans added in to help save money and to stretch our meats/be healthier. Needless to say my attempts haven't been very successful taste wise. Some of my "experiments" have gone basically in the garbage disposal and some we have managed to suck it up and just eat it. Things taste very beany and very unlike the meat version I usually cook (don't know how else to describe it) and I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. Can anybody recommend some recipes or websites to point the way for me? If you cook with beans in your meat, do you do half/half or?? I'm thinking I may be using too much. Any tips or ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 05-14-2008, 06:24 AM   #2  
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I love beans (all legumes really), but I don't try to substitute them for meat. Many people like chili made with kidney beans (and only enough hamburger for flavor) and split pea soup (with enough ham for flavor). Personally, I love red lentils cooked with chicken bullion and no meat. I also love bean soup with some beef or chicken added. You might also try beans&rice (or some other hearty bean-based side dish) and simply go for smaller servings of the entree. Good luck!
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:42 AM   #3  
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I'd say quit trying to make them a substitute for meat and just make them the main focus! Chilis are super easy - just throw some onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, black beans (and any other beans you want), green pepper, and some spices (chili powder, red pepper, cumin, salt, pepper, whatever) in a pot for about 1.5 hours over low heat. This is really good served over brown rice or a baked potato. Black bean tacos are also really good (don't miss the meat at all with enough veggies!). Mix cannellini beans with pasta and sauce instead of a meat sauce. You can make "tuna salad" with garbanzo beans instead of tuna - just mush them up really good. Red lentils are good in pasta sauce. There's nothing like a good lentil soup on a cool night. Ahh the possibilities are endless!
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Old 05-14-2008, 07:05 AM   #4  
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I grew up in a family of bean lovers too, so I don't get the aversion to them. My mom makes this excellent dish with a can of baked beans (the giant can), some ketchup, and a pound of ground turkey. You mix it all together, bake it in the oven, and it's the ultimate comfort food with a little brown bread on the side. Of course, that is not very diet-friendly, and I haven't figured out how to make it so yet. It's also probably not that comforting if you didn't grow up in New England. But beans are delicious! I put chickpeas in salad, or throw white or lima beans in with veggies. Just salt and serve.
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:00 AM   #5  
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I love beans, I eat them every day but I never considered them a substitute for meat but rather beans! If you expect beans to taste like meat (or any non meat item to taste like meat), you will mostly be disappointed as there are very few things that taste like meat other than meat.

A recipe that I heard is awesome and similar to sloppy joes uses lentils. Again, not meat, won't taste like meat but probably won't taste beany since its a bit saucy and lentils tend to have a milder taste.
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Old 05-14-2008, 12:24 PM   #6  
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I've found many good bean recipes (and others as well) on Plus you can usually read many reviews and see if you'd like to change the recipe up.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:35 AM   #7  
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If you look around in some of the diet section recipes (especially South Beach) you'll find some good bean recipes...Some that I've found and make often myself are:
Taco Bake
You can use any beans you'd like with it. I've found dried beans in bulk are cheap and quite easy to fix up... but canned work just as well...
here is another one:
Roasted Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
This is a snacky type of food. Very, very yummy!! I've played around with the spices also. I made one version as a sweet and salty.. cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, splenda and some salt to taste (very yummy)
or just the savory: chili powder, garlic powder, salt to taste, crushed red pepper for a kick
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