When it comes to beans a lot of people are tempted to stick with what they know. This often means exclusively using kidney beans or black beans in their favorite recipes. While these beans are good, exclusively using them means you are missing out on a whole world of flavor that other beans can provide.
One of the best types of beans to use in your recipes is white beans. But before you can use them, you’re going to need to learn how to cook them.
Canned white beans are very easy to cook. All you’ll need to do is add them to your recipe and allow them to heat up, no actual cooking is necessary. Dried beans require a lot more prep work that involves soaking the beans overnight and then boiling them for at least 20 minutes.
What Are Goya White Beans?
When you go to the bean section of your nearest grocery store, try skipping over the more typical kidney and lima beans and take a look at the other options. In most stores, you’ll see cans of a small white bean that is typically called a navy bean.
Navy beans originated in Peru and have now been cultivated so they can be grown all over the world. Like most beans, they are high in protein and fiber making them a great part of your diet, especially when you don’t have access to or can’t store animal proteins.
These beans are small and have a typical “bean” shape that makes them easy to identify as beans instead of peas. Despite being described as white, they are more of a pale yellow color and are typically very soft in texture.
Once you bit into the beans, you will discover that they have a creamy texture making them a great choice for stews. They can even be used on top of a salad where their creaminess provides an excellent dressing-like texture to top your greens.
Of course, just like most other beans, eating white beans or navy beans is associated with certain health benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of navy beans is associated with almost all beans is a healthier gut. When you eat beans, you are consuming large amounts of fiber. The average American should be eating either 25 or 38 grams of fiber for women and men respectively. However, most Americans eat less than 20 grams of fiber every day.
This can result in constipation as well as general abdominal discomfort. It can also make your bowel movements irregular and result in a lack of healthy bacteria in your gut that require fiber to survive.
By consuming lots of beans you can ensure that your gut is healthy and that you are meeting the requirements set out by the USDA.
The high fiber content in these beans can also help to reduce the risk that you suffer from heart disease. The fiber in the beans can help to remove LDL, bad cholesterol, from your body and prevent it from making its way to your heart. This is just another reason that it is so important to ensure that you are consuming adequate fiber.
Nutritional Value of White Beans
Now that you’ve learned about exactly what white beans are and some of the health benefits that you can expect from them, it’s time to learn about their nutritional value. After all, it’s almost impossible to plan a healthy diet without knowing what each food in your diet is providing you.
According to the USDA, one serving of navy beans is roughly ½ cup. In this ½ cup, you will be getting a total of 128 calories, but that’s not the important part. The important thing to understand is exactly what nutrients you are getting from each of those calories to fuel your body.
In total, one serving of these beans will provide you with almost 24 grams of carbohydrates. This makes the beans a great energy source since human bodies run off carbohydrates and need them for energy.
The next proportion in white beans is the protein content. One serving of navy beans will have about 7.5 grams of protein.
For a vegetarian protein source, this is not bad and if you eat multiple servings in one meal, you can end up with a relatively high protein content. This is especially true if you pair the beans with another high-protein food like quinoa on top of a salad or something similar.
Fiber is another big part of a serving of white beans with almost 10 grams of fiber in every serving. If you are looking to increase your fiber intake to meet USDA recommendations, it’s hard to beat the levels of fiber that these beans offer.
After that, the other nutrients fall into play. You have fat and sugar which these beans only contain in negligible amounts. You also have potassium which these beans contain at levels of 354 milligrams per serving. So if you’re tired of eating bananas to hit your daily potassium requirements, try white beans and see what happens.
The Benefits of White Beans
Based on the nutrition content that you just read about, you already know that white beans are extremely nutritious. However, the real question is what their benefits are and how can they be used to improve your health.
Lots of Protein
One of the biggest reasons that people eat beans, and one of their largest benefits no matter what type is that they contain lots of protein. If you’re someone that doesn’t eat meat, you’ll know firsthand how difficult it can be to get enough protein, especially complete protein in your diet.
By eating a couple of servings of beans every day, you’ll be well on your way to eating enough protein every day. You can also combine these white beans with something like rice or quinoa to create a complete protein in a super tasty way.
Great Fiber Content
As was previously mentioned, the fiber content is another reason benefit of white beans. One serving of white beans contains approximately 30% of the amount of fiber that most adults should be aiming toward.
If you are trying to increase the amount of fiber in your diet, eating navy beans can be a great way to do that. Just toss a half cup of these beans onto your lunchtime salad or other foods and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy fiber intake.
Can Promote Healthy Weight
With their high levels of protein and fiber, eating white beans every day can help to promote a healthy weight. This is because both fiber and protein are necessary for silencing hunger cues and allowing you to stay full longer.
When you eat foods with lots of fiber, you know that they are relatively bulky. This means that they will physically fill up your stomach and make you feel full.
The protein can help to make sure your food takes longer to digest. This can also help you to feel full and make sure you’re not hungry 30 minutes after you’ve finished eating.
How to Cook White Beans
At this point, you must be feeling pretty excited about white beans. After all, with their creamy texture and mild flavor, what’s not to love? However, before you can enjoy these delicious beans and all the health benefits they offer, you must cook the beans.
If you purchase canned beans, like these Goya Navy Beans, then there is very little preparation you’ll need to do since the beans are pre-cooked. All you’ll have to do is add them to your recipe of choice and allow the beans to heat up.
Depending on the recipe, you may want to drain out the liquid in the can and rinse the beans before using them. Sometimes the liquid can have a funny flavor that you’ll want to remove.
If you’re operating on a budget, dried beans are the far more economical choice. They usually cost about the same price as one can of beans, but can feed you for months and keep for even longer, especially if they’re stored correctly.
The one downside to dried beans is that they will require a certain amount of preparation on your part.
- Soak the Beans
Before cooking your beans you will want to soak them, preferably overnight. This will allow the beans to soften, making them cook more quickly and helping them absorb less water in the cooking process.
- Rinse Beans
Now you will need to rinse the beans. This will ensure that any contaminants in the dried beans are rinsed away and won’t make their way into your meal.
- Place in Pot
Now you’ll place the beans in a large pot, making sure to fully cover them with water. Since you’ve pre-soaked the beans, they shouldn’t absorb too much water so just add enough for there to be an extra 1-2 inches on top of the beans.
- Add Seasonings
If you want to season your beans now is the time to do so. Some popular seasonings are rosemary and garlic.
- Cook the Beans
After the seasonings are added it’s time to start cooking. Soaked beans will typically need to simmer for 20-30 minutes before they are tender and fully cooked. Start testing your beans around the 20 minute mark. A fully cooked white bean should be easy to pierce and smash with a fork.
When it comes to the bean world, don’t let yourself be limited to the most common varieties of beans. Other beans, like the navy bean, can be just as nutritious and who knows, you may even end up enjoying them more.
If you’re on a time crunch, it’s best to go with canned small white beans. This will ensure that the only prep time required is opening the can and heating the beans up.
If you have more time and want to save a bit of money, go with dried beans. Just make sure to soak them overnight before boiling them. This will ensure that they don’t absorb too much water while boiling and cuts the cooking time down significantly.