Beans do a good job of shoring up to their magical fruit claim for many reasons. They are high in fiber and protein, as well as calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium and iron and antioxidants.
The most important reason to eat these magical little morsels is because they are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from free-radicals, which can cause many health problems and premature aging.
What are free radicals? Free radicals are produced naturally by the body to aid in the metabolic processes of digestion. It is when we have too many free radicals on our bodies that it can start producing adverse health effects and start to prematurely age our tissues and organs.
Free radicals are a molecule with an unpaired electron that readily reacts with other molecules. Antioxidants (like from beans) come along and react and neutralize these free radicals in our bodies so they do not have a chance to react with other cells in your body. In our daily lives we are exposed to many sources of free radicals: cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and industrial fumes just to name a fume.
Beans, especially kidney beans, are one of the highest legumes for neutralizing free radicals that accumulate in the body.
Plan a potluck party for you and your friends and help combat free radicals together with this delicious dish! This Mexican-inspired entrée is easy to make and serves many.
Vegetarian Quesadilla Pie
1 pack 8-10 medium/large corn/whole-wheat tortillas
1 regular can (approx 500g) refried kidney or black beans
half cup salsa
500 ml cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
2 cups fresh or frozen chopped spinach
1-3 cloves garlic
half cup grated cheese
1 tomato sliced
- Combine refried beans and salsa in a bowl and set aside. If you have time you can make your own refried beans – simply get a can of kidney or black beans, mash and sauté with 1 onion, half a green pepper, salt and pepper to taste, hot pepper optional. *note: canned beans are high in sodium so it is good to thoroughly rinse the beans before use.
- Combine cottage cheese/ricotta cheese, spinach (if you are using frozen, thaw first before combining) and garlic in a bowl.
- Take a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Place one tortilla one the baking sheet and first spread a thin layer of the bean/salsa mix. Then place another tortilla and spread a thin layer of the cheese/spinach mixture. Alternate until all ingredients are used. You will have an built an impressive pie at this point.
- On the top layer place the sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with your favourite cheese.
- Bake at 375 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes or until golden brown on top.
- Let cool a bit then slice. Serve with organic plain yogurt or sour cream.
Save leftovers in the fridge for a tasty lunch later!
By Stephanie LeClair