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Healthy cooking: red beans and kale

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Very few dinners could be more healthful than this delicious combination of dark leafy greens mixed with red beans. Kale and the paprika spice provide for a flavorful dish, however, collard greens also work great.

Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed. Kale's also has risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. In addition, Kale is recognized to support the body’s detoxification system.

The smoky paprika adds a nice addition to the flavor of this dish. Use hot paprika for a spicy zip or sweet paprika to add a bit of sweetness.

Red Beans and Kale

2 cups dried kidney beans

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tsp. dried oregano

1 Tsp. dried thyme

1/2 Tsp. freshly ground sea salt

1/2 Tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/4 Tsp. ground allspice or 6 whole allspice, tied in a piece of cheesecloth

2 bay leaves

4 cups vegetable stock

1 Tsp. smoky or sweet paprika

2 lbs kale, thoroughly washed, stems removed and chopped

Butter

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1. Soak beans according to the package. Drain and rinse and set aside.

2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery to the skillet. Cook, stirring until softened.

3. Add garlic, and spices to the skillet. Cook and stir for about 1 minute. Transfer to a slow cooker.

4. Add beans and vegetable stock.

5. Cover and cook on a low setting for about 9 hours. Or until beans are tender. Stir in the paprika.

6. Steam greens until tender about 10 minutes if using collard greens. Toss with butter and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with freshly group sea salt and pepper. Add to beans and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

7. This recipe makes about 7 servings.

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