At Mange Tout classes this week everyone was full of beans – metaphorically and quite literally too as we were exploring Kidney Beans, along with Tomatoes and Pears!
Kidney Beans are not something you instantly associate with a child’s menu, however they are packed full of goodness and seeing as so many children enjoy a nutritious serving of baked beans as one of their five a day – I thought it would be interesting to see how everyone responded to these delightful looking purple/red kidney shaped beans.
Kidney beans were something I never really ate as a child, vague memories of school dinner mince with them swimming about and the odd spattering of them in my Mum’s stew or chilli doesn’t evoke an enthusiastic nostalgic appetite for them.
However seeing them all glossy and red once they were well rinsed from the can made me think how they might be rather appealing to children on their own without a sauce added.
Demonstrating in class how to feel the smooth skin of the shiny beans on our lips and tongue assured children that there was little to be feared. Similarly when I experimented to see if sucking the bean made it any smaller everyone followed suit. On biting the kidney bean to reveal the soft mashed potato like texture inside – 95% of the children at Mange Tout tucked into the protein packed goodies albeit with mixed responses. Amanda’s daughter Zoe along with several others asked for more and delighted in the bean’s consistent soft smooth texture. One of the Mum’s texted today to say that she had put some in her son’s lunch-box following a request for Pod’s red beans! A great food that’s easy to eat with fingers and packed with protein, carbohydrate and fibre to fuel a busy day and ensure your child is full of beans!
If plain kidney beans are not to you or your child’s taste, why not try pureeing them into a basic tomato sauce for pasta or mashing them with spring onion and herbs and frying to make a tasty bean burger.
TIP: Although it important we ensure our child’s diet is not high in salt and sugar, you may find that tinned kidney beans that are in a salt/sugar solution are more palatable when eaten on their own as a snack or part of a meal – the tiny amount of salt/sugar present in a handful of the beans is far outweighed by the goodness they contain. Remember to drain and rinse the beans well, and if serving on their own cover them in boiling water and drain before serving so that they are warm and softened.
As a treat you could have kidney beans and unsalted corn chips with a tomato dip – squash a bean in between a corn chip and dip into a tomato sauce – delicious and great fun too!
Do you have any kidney bean or other pulse recipes to share with us?