Sunday 8 February 2009

Bean Soup

Pork & Beans

Beans are rich in fiber and this bean soup recipe that my mom always made for me is a really healthy, fiber-rich meal that is perfect for anyone trying to lose weight.

When I lived in the US, we always made this using pinto beans, but I was unable to find dry pinto beans where I live in the UK, so I made it with two bags of dry crab eye beans instead. If just using the basic ingredients (beans, ham, onion, seasoning, garlic powder), this is also a very inexpensive meal that will feed about five people for two nights.

2 bags of dry crab eye beans or pinto beans
2 thick slices of lean gammon/ham (optional but recommended)
2 large white onions
seasoning (I use Nature's Seasons from the US) - to taste
garlic powder - to taste

Tobasco sauce (optional)
low fat cheese (optional)
one baguette (optional)

First, soak the beans in water overnight.

In the morning, add the beans to a crockpot (called a "slow cooker" in the UK) and add water to cover them.

Chop the onions and add them to the crockpot. Chop up the gammon/ham and add it to the crockpot. Add seasoning and garlic powder to taste. (The ham/gammon is not necessary for bean soup, but it adds a nice flavor to the stock that the beans are cooked in.)

Let cook on high for 5 to 6 hours.

Serve up.

I sometimes add low fat cheese to my bowl of bean soup. It melts right away and tastes yummy, but I only add it if I have saved up enough extra calories for the day. I always add Tobasco sauce to my beans because I like my food spicy, but this is not for everyone.

I also like to have a baguette (the one pictured is an onion baton) with my beans to dip into them, but again, this makes the meal less healthy, so it all depends on how well I have been eating beforehand.

A large bowl of crab eye beans without gammon is about 468 calories, and very low in fat. (I do not know how pinto beans compare in calories to crab eye beans.) The gammon adds about 51 calories to the meal, and the low fat cheese adds another 67 calories (depending on the kind you use). The onion baton is about 200 calories. As you can see, if I plan on having all of the extras with my beans, I have to eat very light for the day prior to the meal.

But having the meal without the cheese or baguette makes for a very healthy meal that is not too high in calories, is very low in fat and is high in fiber too.

Also, for those following a Slimming World diet plan, beans are a "free" food on Slimming World's Green Days, and the meat can be used as a healthy extra.


  1. Nice! If I only ate meat! :-)

    I do love a great crockpot easy and so comforting. Enjoy!