Baked beans are a part of most people's pantry staples - which is great! They are loaded with complex carbohydrates and protein, but also contain a variety of minerals, like calcium and phosphorous (for healthy bones and teeth) and potassium (for a healthy blood pressure).
They are also really good for controlling blood glucose/sugar levels as they contain a low glycemic index (GI), meaning they don't cause a spike in blood sugar or insulin, and they help keep you fuller for longer.
The only negative about buying canned baked beans are the additives that are usually found in them, like salt and sugar.
On average, 1 cup (or 150g) of store-bought canned baked beans contain up to 1100mg of sodium (or salt) - this translates to 2.8g! That's 50% of our maximum salt allowance for one day. So, if you need to buy baked beans, go for the "No Added Salt" varieties.
As for the sugar, 1 cup of the store-bought canned baked beans can have up to 15g (~3 teaspoons) of added sugar - which is quite a lot! If you need to buy the canned varieties, read the labels, choose the lowest in salt and sugar where possible.
However, I have the perfect recipe for you today - Home made Baked Beans, with no added salt or sugar, but packed full of antioxidants, which can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner - or even used as a dip for a snack. So here it is...
Hearty & Healthy Baked Beans
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 400g cannellini beans, canned, rinsed well
2 x 400g diced tomato, canned
1 C spinach leaves, shredded (fresh or frozen)
1 Tb honey
1 Tb wholegrain mustard
1 Tb Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cracked pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Optional: basil leaves, fresh parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
When warm, add onion and garlic; simmer till golden.
Add the tomatoes, honey, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and all spices and herbs together in the saucepan, and stir well to combine.
Simmer gently for 2 minutes, then add the beans. Stir gently, until warmed through and well combined.
Add the spinach leaves and stir well. Cover the saucepan and let the mixture simmer for another 5 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
Optional: tear the basil leaves into pieces and add to the sauce, and stir to combine. Add fresh parsley.
Serve on toast, with eggs, a salad, or with home-made chips as a dip!
Joyce Haddad, Director of A Dietitian's Mission, is an Adelaide based Dietitian, Nutritionist and Master Personal Trainer with a passion for health and wellbeing. ADM aims to help the public make informed and realistic nutritional choices and ensure everyone has a healthy relationship with their body and with food.