This blog post is sponsored by the Can Manufacturers Institute, as part the Cans Get You Cooking initiative. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!
During stressful times, it’s normal to seek out comfort foods. You may think of comfort food as mac & cheese or ice cream, but to me, “comfort food” is something that reminds me of a warm memory. This Asian Bean Salad makes me think of gathering with family and friends at summer BBQ’s.
My favorite part about this recipe is that it’s made primarily with canned foods, which are helpful when food budgets are tight and shopping trips are limited. Not to mention that canned produce is just as healthy as fresh. As a matter of fact, when canned produce is incorporated into diets, people tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Couple that with the fact that this recipe takes 5 minutes to make and tastes really yummy, and it’s a win-win-win.We all could use an easy win these days, and canned foods make mealtimes simple and stress-free.
Canned foods are nutritious
It pains me to say that close to 75% of the population does not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. In addition, Americans’ diets are low in four important nutrients – fiber, potassium, calcium and vitamin D.
But here’s the good news–when canned produce is incorporated into diets, people tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. As a matter of fact, kids and adults who ate six+ canned foods per week are more likely to have diets higher in 17 essential nutrients, including potassium, calcium and fiber(Comerford, 2015).
Knowing that a stocked “cantry” can help me get a nutritious meal on the table brings me comfort and peace of mind—especially during times when fresh food is hard to come by and mealtime is more stressful than ever.
As a matter of fact, of the top 50 best food sources of potassium, eight are canned foods: tomato paste, white beans, clams, chili w/ beans, great northern beans, spinach, refried beans and tomato sauce. So pop open a can and rest assured you’re feeding your family well.
How does the canning process work?
If you’ve ever wondered how those nutritious foods end up in a shelf-stable can, it’s a simple process that dates back to the late 18th century. First, fresh fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of ripeness and canned within only four hours. The proximity of the field to the packaging facility and the efficiency of modern canning facilities locks in nutrients at the peak of ripeness just hours after harvest.
Heat is applied to foods packed into sealed containers in order to destroy any microorganisms. The canned foods are then heated under steam pressure at temperatures of 240-250° Fahrenheit.
Each food is processed for a different amount of time, depending on the food’s acidity, density and ability to transfer heat. For example, tomatoes require less time than green beans, and corn and pumpkin require far more time.
Once the cans are sealed and heat processed, the food maintains its quality and is safe to eat for two years, as long as the can is not damaged. And, like the home canning process, no preservatives are added or necessary.
In other words, canned foods are just as healthy as fresh and offer a convenient, nutritious and affordable option to home chefs.
How to make an Asian Bean Salad
I used three different canned foods– canned black beans, canned corn and canned green beans– to make this Asian Bean Salad. Even before quarantine, my pantry was stocked with canned foods because they help cut down on prep time, while still offering tasty and creative ingredients for home cooked meals.
Bean salads are one of my go-to weekly meals because they come together in 5 minutes or less. Combine a variety of beans with a dressing to enjoy a bean salad for a plant-based lunch or a dinner side dish.
This version has canned black beans, canned green beans, canned corn, edamame, scallions and an Asian style dressing, made from sesame oil, lime juice, powdered ginger and soy sauce. It’s sweet and tangy, and the beans are packed with plant-based protein and filling fiber.
I like to make a big batch of this at the beginning of the week and eat a little everyday. Beans don’t get soggy, so this salad lasts in the fridge for multiple days. And it pairs really nicely with this Coconut Vegetarian Fried Rice (also made with canned foods).
Definitely add this to your weekly meal-prep or your list of easy salads to bring to a (virtual) BBQ. It’s guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser!
Asian Bean Salad
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 1 cup canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup no salt added canned green beans drained
- ½ cup canned corn drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- ½ tablespoon sesame seeds optional
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Cook edamame according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine edamame, black beans, green beans, corn and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk together canola oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, ginger and garlic powder.
Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and refrigerate. When ready to serve, sprinkle sesame seeds on top.