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Viking beans in the slow cooker are full of flavor and nutrients

Pinto beans in the slow cooker are full of flavor!
Pinto beans in the slow cooker are full of flavor!
P O'Beollain

Ah, the humble pinto bean.

One half-cup serving of beans provides 35% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of folac acid and 11% of the RDI for thiamin. This same half-cup of cooked dry beans contains large amounts of iron, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, and zinc, as well as 500 mg of potassium and a little bit of sodium. (This potassium is useful in a hypertensive diet that may be lacking in potassium due to certain antihypertensive drugs). Most commercially prepared canned and dried beans contain added sodium for flavor.

There are only 100 to 120 calories in a half-cup of beans; however, calories as well as nutrients are diluted in canned beans because the moisture content is higher.

The quality and digestibility of beans are improved by eating them along with cereal grains. Beans are a rich source of lysine (a protein), but a poor source of methionine. Cereal grains are a poor source of lysine, but high in methionine. When beans and grains are served together in dishes like beans and rice, or tortillas and refried beans, they complement each other and create a complete protein (ta da!).

This is an especially flavorful pinto bean recipe that is easily made in the slow-cooker. You can find nearly all of the ingredients for this dish at The Spice Rack at the 2nd Street Market. Garber Farms and Hydrogrowers at the market have very nice onions and garlic, and KJB Farms has smoked as well as side bacon (from pigs treated kindly during their life).

Viking beans

  • 1# dried pintos
  • 6 c water
  • 12 oz bacon (faux bacon is just fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 c cider vinegar

Soak beans in water overnight, then bring to a boil and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tender. Drain, reserving liquid

Mix all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, using just enough reserved bean liquid to cover everything. Cook on low for 5 or 6 hours. Serve alone, or over rice or noodles for a complete protein.

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