A bean bake is a high-protein and high-fiber dish whose basic ingredients are:

  • 2 cups of white navy beans*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

This combination is very bland, and other ingredients must be added to give the bean bake flavour. However, and most importantly, when those ingredients are added, the final product does not taste like beans!

Bean bakes are versatile.  They can be:

  1. Sweet (made with a fruit) or savoury (made with a vegetable), depending on what’s in your kitchen.
  2. Eaten at breakfast or as a snack, a side dish at lunch or dinner or, in the case of a sweet bean bake, a dessert.**

Bean bakes are extremely easy to make. 

You put all the ingredients in a food processor, mix, and then bake. The only step you may have to take in advance of processing is cooking the vegetable(s) you want to add.

Bean bakes are very nutritious. 

In addition to being high in protein and fiber, they combine the other healthy nutrients of both beans and eggs:

  • Are low in sodium (blood pressure)
  • Have a low glycemic index (insulin/diabetes)
  • Are an excellent source of folate and other B vitamins (heart/arteries/cells)
  • Contain choline (brain development/function)
  • Contain lutein and zeaxanthin (vision/eye health)
  • Are high in potassium (blood pressure)
  • Provide calcium and iron (blood/bones)
  • Provide other vitamins and minerals

For more information, visit Ontario Beans and Get Cracking: Egg Farmers of Canada.

Bean bakes satisfy carb cravings.

A bean bake has a cake-like texture because it rises slightly as it cooks. The result is that the bean bake tricks my body. I feel as if I’m eating carbs—thus easing my carb cravings—when what I’m actually eating is primarily protein with some oil and low carbs.

Bean bakes are filling.

Although they taste like carbs, they don’t act like carbs in the “hunger department.” Rather they act like protein which is satisfying for a longer period of time.

Bean bakes are low in calories and good for dieters.

The calorie count for the basic ingredients are as follows:

Total = 733 calories or 91.6 calories per 1/8 serving

Ingredients that will add more calories are fruits, vegetables, sweetener, and cheese. However, I think it would be rare to have a bean-bake serving with more than 150 calories. (See below*** for the calorie count of a bean bake made with cheese and olives.)

Another plus for dieters: if you use artificial sugar, the beans will, in general, absorb the “chemical” taste.

Bean bakes are cheap. 

Compared to any kind of meat, beans and eggs are an inexpensive source of protein. White navy beans are approximately $1.50 a can (in Canada). Or you can start with dry beans: I recently made 10 cups of beans for $3.00. That’s good for 5 bean bakes or 60¢ per bake!

Bean bakes are good for people with food sensitivities and special diets.

Because they have no flour or milk, the bakes are good for people on gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and paleo diets.

Bean bakes will not cause excess gas in your digestive system.

I find navy beans to be easier on the digestion than stronger-flavoured beans such as kidney or black beans; however, as with all beans, you must rinse them before use. 

  • From a can: Drain and rinse thoroughly.
  • From dried beans: After soaking, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Put back into pan with fresh water and cook until soft.

Given that, your digestion may be very sensitive or you may not have eaten beans regularly. If so, experts recommend the following:

Beans can be eaten every day. If you do not eat them often, start by adding them to your diet gradually, as incorporating high fibre foods into the diet slowly will help to control bloating and gas. Remember to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when increasing fibre intake to help aid digestion. (Adapted from Pulses and the Gluten-Free Diet: Cooking with Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas)

Notes:

*Did you know that white navy beans top the charts for fiber? For more information about these particular beans, check out The World’s Healthiest Foods: Navy Bean.

**Taste tip: Bean cakes are more flavourful the day after cooking. Also, savoury bean bakes taste best warm; sweet bean bakes taste best cold.

***Calorie calculation for Cauliflower Bean Bake with Cheese, Dill, and Olive

Totals: 

  • Entire bean bake: 1,010 calories
  • Per 1/8 serving: 126.25 calories