A tasty Mediterrean dish that’s easy to make and easy to eat: Chicken with white beans

Cannellini

Source: Pond5

You’re going to get more than you bargained for in this blog post. Not only am I going to share a simple and delicious ( I know because I made it) recipe for chicken with white beans, I’m also throwing in two more easy recipes — for couscous and a cucumber salad. They all go together really well.

The money ingredient in the chicken recipe is the white cannellini beans.

  • Low in sodium
  • Low in sugar
  • Very high in dietary fiber

Here’s what registered dietitian Kitty Broihier has to say about beans:

Beans are a nutritional bargain! For the low “cost” of about 125 calories for a ½ cup portion, beans provide about 20% of the Daily Value for fiber (containing both soluble fiber — the kind that helps bring down blood cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels — and insoluble fiber, for “roughage”).

They are also a good source of folate, protein, and magnesium. And speaking of cost, if your time is money, then go with canned beans (buy low sodium or rinse them off to remove extra sodium). If you’re looking for the cheapest beans per serving, then cook your own dried beans.

Something you need to know about beans

Many common beans, including kidney beans, contain a toxic compound known as a lectin. It’s especially concentrated in red kidneys  — white beans contain about one-third as much as red. The toxin can be deactivated by boiling the beans for at least ten minutes, although the Food and Drug Administration recommends 30 minutes. You should also soak the beans overnight or, at least, five hours. Throw the water away after. Once you’ve boiled the beans, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 – 2 hours until they’re tender.

If you eat beans that weren’t boiled, you may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea one to three hours later. Most people feel better within a few hours. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them, just that you need to boil them first. A slow cooker won’t get hot enough. Canned beans should be fine.

Chicken with white beans

Chicken with White Beans
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Oldways
Ingredients
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 4.5-ounce can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add the chilies, beans, tomatoes and chicken and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

The chicken with white beans recipe calls for a can of chopped green chilies, but I’m sure you could substitute with fresh and as hot or as mild as you prefer. (Check out this post if you’d like another recipe that uses hot chile peppers.)

Bowl of couscous

Couscous

How to cook couscous

Couscous looks like a grain, but it’s not. Who knew?  It’s a small pasta-like granule made from either refined wheat or whole wheat. Buy whole grain, so you get an extra boost of fiber. It’s really easy to make.

  • Use 1 cup of water to 2/3 cup couscous
  • Pour water into a pot and bring to a boil
  • Add couscous and take pot off the heat
  • Let sit for about 10 minutes
  • Fluff with a fork and enjoy

Cucumber salad

Cucumbers on the side are a nice complement. The herb vinaigrette didn’t take any time to make and there was plenty left over for other salads or a marinade. One thing to remember, though, is that salad dressing can add a lot of calories and fat, so you might want to use just a tablespoon instead of a cupful.

Cucumber salad with herb vinaigrette

Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until well blended. Add 1 TBS fresh chopped thyme, tarragon, rosemary or whatever herbs you prefer.

All of the recipes in this post are courtesy of Oldways.

If you try these recipes, please let us know how they were. And if you have a tip on how to enjoy white beans share it with us! Passing along what we do (and eat) to stay healthy and well is what the Catching Health blog is all about. ~ Diane Atwood

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.