Have you heard the old adage, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper”? Well there’s another one that speaks to my heart. Think of food as precious metals. Breakfast is gold, lunch is silver, and dinner is lead. It’s the same analogy, but it makes you stop and think about the effect of food in the body throughout the day. A good breakfast gets us going, and keeps us going. Grandma always said so, and she was right.
Wait, What About the Wheaties?
Beans may be a common breakfast in some parts of the world. But where I’m from, beans stayed where they belonged: in chili, burritos, and minestrone soup. I grew up happily crunching on cereal and indulging in belgian waffles with whipped cream & strawberries. As an adult I made homemade egg mcMuffin sandwiches and nursed bowls of sugar-drenched oatmeal. That was fine for me then. But as a vegan, I’ve learned to scrutinize everything I know about everything. You’ll still find cereals in my pantry, and a folder of failed vegan egg McMuffin attempts. But now I have a new breakfast friend. As unconventional as it feels, I’ve grown to love it.
Beans as Part of a Healthy Vegan Breakfast
Everyone has an opinion on their ideal breakfast, but reality hits hard for many of us each morning. That’s why this slow cooker recipe is a winner. Once I saw how well it sustained me, I was a convert. Beans are an excellent accompaniment to other breakfast staples like fruit, hot cereal, tofu scramble (or home-made waffles on the weekend).
Beans are a nutrient powerhouse. Packed with iron, potassium, protein — and most importantly dietary fiber — even a small amount can help keep you full until lunch. The fiber can also help reduce cholesterol and control blood sugar. So what’s the catch? If you’re adding beans to your diet for the first time, I recommend doing it slowly. They can cause… abdominal discomfort. And I don’t want you to hate me for ruining your day. Make sure your body is hydrated and work up to it. You’ll find plenty of tricks via google for reducing that pesky property of beans if you find it’s an issue.
I like this recipe for 3 reasons. It’s nearly hands-free; it's extremely cost-effective; and it's very healthy. Simply dump the ingredients in your slow cooker before bed, and by breakfast you’ll have a hot, creamy bean mixture to eat on its own, or ladled liberally over toast.
(Recipe courtesy of Newstart Lifestyle Cookbook, Published by the Weimar Institute)
- 3 cups dried white beans (any white beans will do - Great Northern is implied here, but I actually prefer the taste of navy beans)
- 2 quarts water
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup soy or nut milk (I use Silk brand Original Almond milk)
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour (I use all-purpose if that's what's handy)
- Rinse and carefully sort through the beans.
- Place all ingredients, except soy milk and flour, in a crockpot set on high.
- Cook overnight.
- In the morning, mix soy milk and flour and stir in. Continue stirring until thickened.
- Pour over toast.
If you have a small slow cooker, halve this recipe. It’s really forgiving, so play around with it to find exactly the right timing and temperature setting. Most likely you’ll have leftovers to refrigerate or freeze for the rest of the week! It’s a great vehicle to carry your favorite flavors. Fresh herbs add color and freshness. You might try lemon zest (or juice), liquid smoke, some diced vegan bacon, or whatever strikes your fancy.
This recipe is from the Newstart Lifestyle Cookbook, published by the Weimar Institute. The Newstart program focuses on drastically improving health. So look elsewhere for recipes that’ll impress the omnivore friends at your next dinner party. If you’re looking to lose weight or lower your cholesterol however, check it out. The ingredients in their recipes are always accessible and easy to find locally. The most exotic thing you’ll come across is nutritional yeast, which might require a trip to your local health food store. I’ve only tried a few recipes from this book so far, but they’ve become staples.
So, What do you Think?
Are breakfast beans a new concept for you? It isn’t the most glamorous looking, that’s for sure! Let me know in the comments below, if you had success with this recipe and what flavors you added to it.