Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pureed White Beans

My grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes about 15 years ago. To be fair, the woman eats pretty well most of the time. It's just those special occasions that seem to cause her to lose her willpower completely. Over the years I've watched her snarf dinner rolls and sugary cranberry jelly, mountains of mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with abandon. She knows she's not supposed to--but it's the holidays. These are the things you eat during the holidays.

Not everyone can turn it off so easily--I, certainly, can't easily cheat one day and go back to the straight-and-narrow the next. Once that door is opened, well, it's ON, baby! Six months later I'm still sneaking potatoes and breads and sugary sweets.

And that's bad for me.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I've learned to make a number of things sugar-free, especially desserts. Cranberry jelly is a no-brainer. Sweet potatoes, which are low glycemic-index, are already fair game--and finding a spicy-and-lightly sweet version instead of the pie-esque concoction that formerly graced my table was easy.

It's those pesky mashed potatoes. How would I enjoy gravy? What would cradle my peas and carrots? What would adorn my forkful of turkey?


They lower bad cholesterol. They are digested slowly, which has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. They're chock full of antioxidants. They encourage weight loss. They make your colon happy. And, best of all, they contain starch-blocking compounds (called amylase inhibitors), which are believed to help prevent some of the starch from other foods eaten during the same meal from being absorbed.

Do we need any more reason to add beans to every holiday meal? I don't!

I've been making pureed white beans for a few years now, occasionally through the year, but especially on holidays. It's so easy: just pre-soak white beans according to package directions (I usually follow the overnight method--1/2 pound of beans, sorted, soaked overnight in 6 cups of cold water), drain, rinse, then cover with a fresh 6 cups of water. Simmer until tender--about 30 minutes, cool slightly and drain again.

Now here's where you can get creative. These are the three main versions I stick with:

Variation 1 - Simple Puree

Process cooked, drained beans in the food processor or with a hand blender until pureed. Add a little melted butter, skim milk, salt and pepper for a simple side dish.

Variation 2 - Skinny Potato-Bean Puree

Process cooked, drained beans in the food processor or with a hand blender until pureed. Add 1-2 peeled, chopped, boiled & drained white potatoes and mash with a little chicken broth, salt and pepper for the right consistency and seasoning. Note: My family likes mashed potatoes a little on the lumpy side, so I usually hand-mash once the potatoes have been added to ensure a lumpy result, which incidentally serves as an excellent disguise.

Variation 3 - Onion and Garlic Pureed White Beans

While cooked beans are draining, saute 1 medium sliced onion in extra virgin olive oil until browned and beginning to caramelize. Add several cloves of chopped garlic (to taste; I like it pretty strong, so I use about 4-5 cloves) and saute until fragrant. Add drained beans and puree with a hand blender; thin with a little chicken broth or skim milk as needed, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

1/2 pound beans prepared serves about 4.

Make your bean puree as flavorful as you like. No, they won't taste exactly like mashed potatoes--but they're a lot tastier than those nasty "fauxtatos" made from cauliflower, they are lovely with turkey and gravy, and best of all, they have those awesome amylase inhibitors which will hopefully help your body process any extra starches you might indulge in at your holiday celebration.

This is my entry to Eat Healthy: Fight Diabetes event hosted by Art of Cooking Indian Food. I'll post a link to the roundup here sometime after the event deadline of November 30, 2008. I'm also submitting this post to Just the Right Spice's Healthy Holiday Recipe Roundup--visit the recipe roundup here.

Meanwhile, here are some other recipes that might help you as you plan your own diabetic-friendly feast:

Pumpkin Curry Soup - this can be made with any winter squash
Pumpkin Milkshake
Sugar-Free Cheesecake
Flourless Dessert Crepes
One-Bowl Sugar-Free Flourless Chocolate Cake - this one contains a stick of butter, but the cake is SO unbelievably rich that you'll get a good many servings from it. Everything in moderation...
Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
Healthy Holiday Recipe Roundup of November 12


Sam said...

All three versions sound good, I'll give this a go!

Amanda said...

Cool beans! (Pun intended.) I'd love to hear how you like the dish, Sam.

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs