White beans as a one pot meal option? Why not – they’re healthy! We know cooking everything from scratch is not always an option. If you actually look at the cost of some pre-packaged foods in the supermarket, you can quickly realize that it can cost you twice or even three times as much to make that same recipe from scratch.
By the time you factor in all the individual ingredients and place a realistic value on your time, it’s almost easier to just buy the pre-packaged version. But wait – in a health conscious society, it’s good to have options for making healthier versions of those recipes that look so appealing in the freezer of your supermarket. Here’s my white bean remake.
The Value of Cooking from Scratch
Let’s first revisit “scratch cooking”. With today’s focus on health – how much salt we ingest and how this contributes to high blood pressure (not to mention heart disease) it’s hard not to rethink the value of scratch cooking where we control the ingredients.
It becomes easier if you have a good recipe and if you can make that recipe in a reasonable amount of time. Here’s my pre-packaged freezer favorite reworked so I can make it at home.
This recipe, a fast “go to” option, is my compromise between pre-packaged and scratched because it’s done in less than 30 minutes, tastes great and still provides health benefits.
This White Beans Blend is Easy and Healthy
One of the things I like to play around with (when I’m in the mood to cook) is attempting to duplicate a recipe I’ve either eaten in a restaurant or I’ve bought as a packaged food in the grocery store.
For this post, I enjoy buying and eating Green Giant Digestive Health vegetable blend with white beans. A few of the issues I came across were – not all the supermarkets in my area carried it consistently…one package did not make a meal…and it doesn’t have meat. I’m not a vegetarian so for me, it has to have a little meat to be classified as a main dish.
What I wanted to do was to duplicate the blend, turn it into a one dish meal and make it in a sufficient quantity that I could package it in 2 cup containers and throw it in my freezer for future meals.
To be fair to the vegetarians out there, simply leave the meat out of this white beans recipe and it still works!
Here’s what I came up with…
- 1 small onion diced fine
- 1 can chicken broth (low sodium 14.5 ounces)
- 1 package baby spinach (9-12 oz)
- 3 cans lightly seasoned white beans (drain and rinse 1 of 3 cans)
- 2 large links smoked skinless beef sausage
- 4 yellow carrots (you can substitute orange if unavailable)
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 garlic cloves or 1 tsp jarred chopped garlic
- 2 tsp cracked black pepper
- Dice onion and sauté in Dutch oven in about 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil.
- While onion is cooking, thinly slice yellow carrots.
- Add to onion then add garlic.
- Continue cooking a few minutes then add chicken broth.
- Add entire bag of baby spinach and cover.
- Cook covered while thinly slicing beef sausage.
- Add sausage to spinach, onion, garlic and carrot.
- Add thyme, basil and black pepper.
- Simmer until spinach cooks down (about 10 minutes).
- Add two cans of white beans (undrained) followed by the remaining can of white beans drained and rinsed.
- Simmer about another 10 minutes and serve.