Beans have always come in handy when animal proteins were scarce; now they can stand in for red meat when you’re trying to cut back to eating no more than 3 ounces of lean red meat per day, as AICR recommends for lower cancer risk.
For a warming and satisfying meal, look no further than our Health-e-Recipe for Sweet Potato Bean Soup. Almost a stew, This rich-tasting soup is based on a rich low-sodium chicken broth enhanced with tomato paste, a product high in the protective phytochemical lycopene.
Simmered with nutritious onions and celery, chopped sweet potato chunks add plenty of the cancer-preventive phytochemical beta-carotene (also present in other orange vegetables and fruits, like carrots).
When the sweet potatoes are tender, we add chickpeas (garbanzo beans), an ancient bean commonly used in dishes from India, the Mediterranean and Middle East, as well as Mexico. Like all peas and beans (legumes), they’re high in fiber, contain the B vitamin folate and are a source of protein (14 grams in 1 cup).
Chickpeas have a buttery taste despite naturally having less than 1 gram of fat per cup. This flavor is not upstaged by the white kidney beans in our soup, which add variety in their smaller size and elongated shape. Paprika and cumin, plus freshly ground black pepper and the green basil (or parsley, if you prefer) also contain healthful compounds and make this soup taste terrific. Serve it with crusty whole-grain bread and a green salad tossed with vinaigrette dressing to make a complete and satisfying meal.