Loving the BITE: Black Beans & Rice w/ Mango

If you’re a Loving the Bite reader, you may be asking yourself, where’s the bean been?  Or, maybe not.  Nevertheless, black beans shine as this week’s highlighted ingredient.  For daily nutrition, not many foods top beans.  They are full of healthy nutrients and contain very few components, if any, that aren’t healthy.  And, while beans may not stand out to you as a specific food needed by cyclists, they simply promote health.  And, of course, healthy bodies ride better.

Recipe of the week:  Black Beans & Rice w/ Mango (Vegetarian)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 4 Cups Black Beans (2 15 oz cans rinsed and drained)
  • 1 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano, crushed
  • 1 – 2 Cups fresh mango, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1.5 Cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions: (prep: 10 minutes, cook: 20 minutes)

  1. Chop red pepper & onion.  Mince garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil on med heat; Add onion, pepper, and garlic.  Cook and Stir 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add beans, water, oregano, & crushed red pepper; bring to boiling.  Reduce heat, cover & simmer 10 minutes.  Salt to taste.
  4. Optionally, add in a cooked meat source such as chicken, and avocado slices.
  5. To serve, spoon bean mixture over quinoa or brown rice in individual serving bowls.  Top with mango.

Yield:  6-8 servings

Why black beans?

It’s simple.  Beans are some of the healthiest foods in the world.  And black beans, specifically, offer some of the highest amounts of nutrients.  They provide fiber, protein, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and flavanoids without any of the unhealthy components that come along with many protein sources. Here are the details:

First, black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans is larger than the IF in lentils, chickpeas, or other beans. Research has shown the IF of black beans to be the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, black beans are able to help support this lower part of our digestive tract.  Your digestive tract is the gateway of health – from foods to nutrients to your blood stream.  Don’t neglect it.

Next, there’s protein – and, as an athlete, you need it.  Every ½ cup of black beans provides approximately 8 grams of protein.  When combined with a high-protein grain-seed like quinoa, you’ve got a meals’ worth of vegetarian protein on your plate.  And, although this type of protein is not my first choice for “recovery” after training, it’s a perfect slow-acting protein for daily nutrition. What’s more, black beans offer a great carbohydrate-protein balance.

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