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What Are Vegetarian Beans?

Cranberry beans on a plate.
Assorted beans. Beans can be easily used in most vegetarian dishes.
All beans are vegetarian, and are a healthful addition to many vegetable-based dishes.
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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
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  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2014
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Vegetarian beans are beans that are prepared without the use of meat, poultry or fish. All beans, by their very definition, are vegetarian. They are legumes that grow out of the earth and do not come from any kind of animal. Many bean dishes, however, call for non-vegetarian ingredients such as bacon, beef, or chicken stock.

One of the most popular bean dishes in the United States and in Britain is baked beans In Britain, baked beans are usually prepared in a manner that is suitable for vegetarians. The beans are made in a light tomato sauce. In the United States, on the other hand, baked beans are usually prepared in a way that does not comply with vegetarian diets. One of the key ingredients in American baked beans is bacon.

The American dish can be retooled to suit vegetarian diets by substituting the bacon with a vegetarian bacon made from soy. Alternatively, the pork can be left out completely and the dish can be flavored with other ingredients that will replace the salty smokiness of the bacon. Another option is for vegetarian Americans to simply switch to the British version of baked beans.

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Beans can be purchased either canned or dried. Most canned varieties are vegetarian beans. This means that there are no animal products in the beans or in the gravy that come with the beans in the can. Dried beans must be rehydrated using water or vegetable stock if they are to yield vegetarian beans. Using beef stock or chicken stock will make the beans unsuitable for anyone following a vegetarian diet.

Vegetarian beans are considered to be a heart-healthy food, especially if they are made without using a large quantity of salt. They can be served as a side dish or on top of salads. They can also be pureed into a low-fat dip for tortilla chips or pretzels. Vegetarian beans can also be used as a delicious filler for tacos and burritos.

Beans are a staple in cuisines from Central America and South America. In many cases, the beans that are served in these cuisines are prepared in a manner that is suitable for vegetarians. Many times beans are added to stews that contain beef, pork, or chicken, in which case they are no longer vegetarian.

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anon329062
Post 3

I'm a Pollotarian, but I will eat things with beef broth or pig fat in them. Rinsed vegetarian beans (canned) with beef bullion, BBQ sauce, and brown sugar in them = awesome.

I tried them with vegetable bullion, but not enough awesome.

backdraft
Post 2

@tigers88 - I couldn't agree with you more. Beans are so versatile and delicious and I have never been able to figure out why we Americans insist on filling them full of meat. My Dad used to make a bean recipe that had literally 4 different kinds of meat in it. The beans were pretty good, but I have had vegetarian bean dishes that blew it out of the water. Vegetarian baked beans are now one of my specialties and I bring them to almost every pot luck I get invited to. They always get completely eaten up!

tigers88
Post 1

As a long time vegetarian and a veteran of many backyard cook outs I can tell you that there are tons of tasty ways to eat beans without any meat in them. There are lots of great canned baked beans that you can buy in the store just make sure that it says "vegetarian" on the label.

Black beans can used to make hearty salsas, relishes and salads. Chick peas can be pureed to make hummus or kept whole to make light and delicious bean dishes. Pinto beans can be combined with all the flavors of the southwest to make crowd pleasing recipes. Beans are one the healthiest and most delicious foods you can eat and they don't need any meat to unlock all their many flavors.

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