Kickin’ it kidney bean style

by | Nov 18, 2008

Welcome, class, to today’s Fresh Pick: KIDNEY BEANS

Particularly popular for chili con carne and red beans and rice, this firm, medium-size bean has a dark red skin and cream-colored flesh. Its popularity can be attributed to its full-bodied flavor. On the downside, it’s an enthusiastic producer of flatulence. Unless you live in an area that grows kidney beans, you won’t find them fresh but will have to settle for the dried or canned forms. White kidney beans—referred to as cannellini beans—aren’t favored with the robust flavor of their red cousins, and are only available dried or canned. The tiny, tender French kidney beans are called flageolets (possibly named after “flatulence,” but I’m still checking) and may be purchased dried, canned and, sometimes, frozen.

Kidney beans are a part of the cuisine of North India and are often used in Louisiana Creole cuisine since they pick up flavors well, making them ideal for marinating or adding to stews. They are also an excellent source of iron, magnesium, and folate. Use kidney beans to make chili, and add them to stews, soups, and salads, as well as to grain and vegetable dishes.

For some great recipes, click here or here or try this simple dish:

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt

In a medium pan set on low heat, sauté garlic in olive oil until soft and lightly “toasted” but not brown to avoid bitter flavor. Add cans of beans and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with crusty bread and a green salad.


I’m Dina R. D’Alessandro, MS, RDN, CDN. I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in New York City, and I provide nutrition counseling to women.

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