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In conjunction with World Heart Day, let’s take a look at beans — a food with many hidden health benefits.

Containing a unique nutrient profile that provides a good source of soluble fibre, iron and protein, beans do not have cholesterol and are low in saturated fats. In savoury recipes, beans are usually well matched with tomatoes — a good source of potassium. If it is difficult to obtain raw beans, remember to drain and rinse canned beans well so as to reduce their salt content.

The following recipe is aligned with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet principles, as it contains a good amount of calcium, potassium and magnesium, which are micronutrients that help to reduce blood pressure, prevent heart disease, stroke and diabetes. If you are preparing this for the elderly, allow the beans to cook longer for a softer texture.

Beans for a Healthier Pulse 

Spicy Kidney Bean Stew Serves 4


  • 1 large onion (150g), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic (20g), crushed
  • 1 red chilli (5g), deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoon (10g) paprika
  • 2 teaspoon (5g) oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 400g tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ medium (100g) carrots, diced
  • 100g celery, chopped
  • 1 medium (140g) yellow capsicum, diced
  • 1 can red kidney beans (220g after draining)
  • 1 can cannellini beans (220g after draining)
  • 120g chick peas


  1. Heat the olive oil in a pot and add onions, garlic to cook until they are soft. Add the cumin, chili, and paprika, and then cook for a further minute or two to release the aroma.
  2. Add tomatoes, carrot, celery, capsicum and oregano into the pot. Rinse the beans well and drain off any liquid. Add chickpeas and both kidney and cannellini beans into the pot with 200ml water, and cook gently for 40 minutes while partially covered.
  3. Add a pinch of corn flour to thicken the stew if it is too watery.
  4. To complete the meal, serve with a slice of wholegrain toast and salad.

By Quek Wei Lin, Dietitian, Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, Tan Tock Seng Hospital

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