Some foods work well together. In fact, they are more nutritious when eaten together. Rice and beans are a perfect example. Together, they make a complete protein. Beans and corn too. That’s why you see them together in many Mexican dishes.
There are other combinations as well: hummus and pita bread, almond butter on whole grain bread, pasta with beans, veggie burgers on bread, bean soup with whole grain bread and tortillas with refried beans.
Whole grains and beans have been eaten together for centuries. In fact, they are an affordable source of calories and protein without having to eat animal protein.
Back in the old days, when our ancestors had to hunt and gather their food, animal protein was not something that was eaten daily. Not only did they eat the entire animal – not just the white meat – but they also made it last. I try to follow this idea most of the time.
I like to use animal protein as a garnish, especially bacon. Yes, you can still eat bacon. Make a big pot of vegetable soup and add a few pieces of cooked bacon for added flavor. (See recipe below.)
A complete protein or whole protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids.
Bean Veggie Soup with Bacon Garnish
1 large container of vegetable or chicken broth
Water, as desired (Depends on how thick you want the soup to be.)
3 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch of kale, chopped (I didn’t use the stems but you could.)
3 or 4 pieces of organic bacon (Applewood Farms or from a locally sourced farm. I buy mine from Your Family Cow or Green Circle Farm.)
2 12 oz. cans of beans (I used navy and black but get creative.)
Few handfuls of cauliflower
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 tsp. dried rosemary
Sprinkle dried paprika
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
In a large soup pot, add the broth and the veggies and bring them to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add the rosemary and paprika.
Cook the bacon in a pan on the stove over medium heat until very crispy and place on a paper towel to dry. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Set aside.
With an immersion blender, blend about 1/3 of the soup leaving some of the veggies and beans chunky.
Add the bacon bits to the soup.
Add the kale and simmer until soft. Add the cooked rice.
Serve hot. Serve with some warm bread and pastured cheese. Yummy!
Betsy Moore is a nutrition and wellness coach. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.