Why Canned Beans Should Find Their Way Into Your Next Smoothie

Smoothies are a refreshing and delicious treat, especially in hot weather. With flavor variations ranging from mango banana to sweet potato, there's a smoothie for every palate and assortment of ingredients. One addition you may not have thought of, though, is beans. While it may sound strange, canned beans are a quick and easy way to improve the texture of your smoothie while making it more nutritious and satisfying.

While most of us think of canned beans exclusively in a savory sense, most beans have a relatively neutral flavor that lends them to a wide variety of applications, including sweeter ones. For this reason, it's easy to sneak them into smoothies alongside fruits and vegetables without much notice while bringing a lot of nutritional and culinary benefits to the table. For starters, these legumes are loaded with protein and fiber to keep you full for longer and give you energy. Additionally, the high starch content in beans gives them a smooth and velvety texture which they can pass on to your smoothie. This is a bonus in particular for those who cannot have dairy but want a creamier drink.

The best beans for smoothies

While all beans are mild in flavor, some are more cooperative than others when it comes to being used in smoothies. Different beans suit different flavor combinations. For example, black beans have long been touted as an excellent ingredient for use in chocolate-flavored sweets like black bean brownies because their rich and earthy flavor complements the cocoa instead of overpowering it, and their dark color blends into the batter well. For smoothies that are lighter in color, navy beans are a great option as they tend to pick up the flavors of the ingredients they are combined with. Last but not least, chickpeas — also known as garbanzo beans — have a gently nutty flavor that hides well in smoothies that include nut butters or tahini.

You can't beat the convenience of canned beans since they're affordably priced and can last for ages; however, you'll want to make a few preparations before dumping them in your blender to ensure you get the best possible results. First, be sure to drain the liquid from the can since this is where most of that "bean-y" taste comes from. Then, give the beans a good rinse in a colander since canned beans tend to be packed with a high amount of sodium. These two quick steps will give you the most neutral flavor and texture possible, making the beans practically undetectable.