To Your Health: Underappreciated beans easily subbed in to sloppy Joes

To Your Health: Underappreciated beans easily subbed in to sloppy Joes


I firmly believe that beans do not get enough credit for all their versatility in the kitchen.

Added to soups, salads, chilis and more, beans tend to be pushed aside by their meatier or cheesier counterparts. The benefits of including beans in your regular meals are plenty: Beans are high in soluble fiber, which can be helpful for heart and digestive health, and are a great staple when eating on a budget.

While canned beans are convenient, dried beans are easy to work with, too. They do require an extra amount of planning and time. The recipe below uses one can of kidney beans or 2 cups of dried kidney beans prepared using the steps listed below.

To prepare dried beans for cooking, remove them from the package, and sort through them to remove any small rocks or damaged beans, then rinse them with water.

Add the rinsed beans to a large container with 10 cups of fresh water for every 2 cups of beans, then cover and refrigerate the container overnight (eight to 10 hours).

The next day, place the beans in a large pot on the stove on medium heat with new, fresh water covering them.

Bring them to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook them until beans are tender, about 45 minutes to two hours.

The following recipe creates a cousin to the standard sloppy Joes, with a few twists. They feature ground turkey to lower the fat content, and include horseradish and mustard for an extra kick of flavor.


Servings: 6.

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1 can (15 ounces) vegetarian refried beans

1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 2 cups kidney beans

6 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Place turkey and onion in skillet over medium heat and cook until turkey is no longer pink, five to seven minutes.

Drain and return mixture to skillet.

Stir in ketchup, horseradish, mustard and beans and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until mixture is heated through.

Serve on toasted buns. Refrigerate leftovers.

This recipe is available online at; others like it are posted on the UI Extension blog "Eat. Move. Save.: Making Healthier Choices on a Budget."

Beth Peralta is a registered dietitian and media communications specialist for University of Illinois Extension, and a spokesperson for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Contact her at 217-244-7405 or

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Topics (3):Food, Nutrition, People