9 Essential Ingredients of Italian Cuisine
Beans are an essential, satisfying and healthy ingredient often found in Italian cuisine. Aim to swap out some of your meat and get your protein from beans and other legumes like lentils and chickpeas. By displacing meat, you’ll lower your saturated-fat intake while adding healthful nutrients, like fiber and antioxidant-rich flavonols. Eaten daily, combined with grains and starches, beans provide high-quality protein along with folate, calcium, iron and zinc. They also offer healthy, filling doses of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), phytates and phytosterols; studies suggest beans may help manage diabetes, prevent colon cancer and reduce heart disease risk.
Add a dish or two that contain beans and other legumes to your weekly menu. Try our Bean Bolognese for a hearty bean pasta dish, spread pureed beans on homemade pizza or make a minestrone soup with beans.