Beans are a cheap source of protein and are very low in fat. So, whether you are looking to lose some weight by consuming less meat but still make sure you are getting enough protein or you are implementing Meatless Monday in your household or you are trying to stay within your food budget or decrease your food budget, beans just may be the answer you are looking for.
I want to help make it easier for you to stretch your budget with beans by giving you a list of a dozen ways that you can decrease the amount of meat by adding beans or lentils, create meatless meals, or substitute beans for a meat listed in a recipe.
- Double your batch of Sloppy Joes by adding a can of slightly mashed pinto beans (drained & rinsed) and 1 can of tomato sauce to your current sloppy joes recipe that call for 1 pound of ground beef. You are are decreasing the meat but stretching how much sloppy joes you have made. This freezes well.
- Make 4-Bean Chili by replacing all of the ground beef in your chili recipe with 4 cans of different beans (black, kidney, pinto, garbanzo, white, or black eyed peas.) If your recipe calls for cans of beans, still just use a total of 4 cans.
- Black Bean Soup is very tasty and simple to make.
- Add beans on your salad. I enjoy having the following beans on my salads: kidney, black & garbanzo.
- Replace half or all of your meat in your Burritos or Enchiladas with mashed pinto or black beans or refried beans. A meat and bean burrito or bean and rice burrito are both very tasty.
- Minestrone Soup has always been a favorite soup of mine.
- In many Curry Dishes, you can easily replace chicken or shrimp with garbanzo beans.
- Try a Costa Rican staple entree and make Pinto de Gallo. This became a favorite of ours after we spent our honeymoon there. It is so simple, yet so tasty!
- Make Homemade Hummus. It is simple to make in just minutes and so much cheaper than buying a small tub of hummus. And while you are at it, make your own pita bread. That is also super easy to make and much more economical when it is homemade.
- Homemade Hummus Recipe: Put all of the following ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth: 1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 2 T lemon juice, 1 T olive oil, & 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Make Ham & White Bean Soup
- Substitute half the ground beef in Taco Meat with cooked lentils
- Substitute half the ground beef in Meat Spaghetti Sauce with cooked lentils
If you consider that you can often stock up on cans of beans on sale at 50-cents a 15-oz. can (conventional) or $1-$1.50 (organic), compared to starting at $3.18 pound for ground beef (conventional, 80% lean) or $6.48 pound for grass fed ground beef, you can see how the savings can really stack up. If you are willing to take the time to cook dried beans, the savings can be even greater.