Beans: the most versatile alternative for meat

More and more people are starting to limit the amount of meat, fish and dairy they consume. Though the number of good meat and milk substitutes is increasing, the number of good fish and cheese substitutes is still very disappointing. It can therefore be a challenge to replace meat, fish and cheese from our meals, especially because these animal products contain important nutrients for the human body to stay healthy.

Essential amino acids
To keep your body healthy, it is important to get enough of all nine essential amino acids. Animal proteins usually contain plenty of these, whilst many vegetable proteins lack one or more of these amino acids. Meat contains iron, vitamin B12 and zinc and many types of fish contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, vegetable proteins are often more difficult to digest than animal proteins. This makes it challenging for the human body to absorb them. It is therefore important that new substitutes for animal products contain the right nutrients to support a healthy diet.

Beans as a tasty alternative
Beans are rich in protein, iron, B vitamins, fiber and contain omega-3 fatty acids. As one of the fewer plant foods, beans also contain the essential amino acid lysine. It is also proven that beans can lower cholesterol levels, which has a healthy effect on the heart and blood vessels. Finally, the fibers contribute to a healthy intestinal system. In addition to the beneficial health effects, eating beans contributes to a lower climate impact. The impact on the climate of legumes is even 20 times lower than the impact of beef. By eating beans on a regular basis instead of steak, you will give the climate an extra bonus!

Beans, raw material for new foods
We are convinced that beans are a valuable source of replacement for animal products. Although we can imagine very well that you do not want to eat beans every day. That is why we are working on using beans and other legumes as a raw material for tasty, affordable and sustainable meat substitutes. Together with various partners in the food industry, we have set up a large-scale project that will last about three years. In addition, TOP is investigating various ways in which beans can be processed into valuable industrial ingredients and innovative new foods. This is how we try to contribute to a sustainable and healthy future. In fact, TOP has been so convinced of the value of beans for years that we have put one of them in our corporate identity! 😉

PS. It will take some time before our new foods arrive on your plate. That is why we are happy to provide you a delicious recipe without meat but with beans.

Chili sin carne
(serves 4)

• 400 g soaked beans (brown, kidney or red)                                                                • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
• 1 can of sieved tomatoes                                                                                              • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
• 1 large sweet pointed pepper                                                                                       • 1 tablespoon of Maggi
• 1 large onion (may be white or red)                                                                             • 4 cubes of dark chocolate
• 2 small peppers (preferably Jalapeño, but Spanish is also allowed)                     • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
• 2 cloves of garlic                                                                                                             • 2 spring onions
• 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika                                                                                     • 1 small can of corn
• 1 teaspoon of oregano                                                                                                   • 250 ml sour cream
• 1 teaspoon of thyme                                                                                                      • Good splash of olive oil
• 1 teaspoon of cumin                                                                                                      • Pepper and salt

Drain the beans well, rinse with some cold water and let them leak. Cut the bell pepper and onion into cubes. Remove the seeds from the pepper and cut the onion into thin rings. Chop the garlic (chopping is really better than using a garlic press!). Place a pan on high heat. When the pan is hot, pour the olive oil into the pan and add the paprika, onion, garlic and pepper. Fry for two minutes and then add the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, cumin and chili powder. Fry for another minute. Now add the sieved tomatoes, tomato paste and Maggi. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Let it cook lightly for about 20 minutes. Now add the drained beans and the chocolate and let it cook for another 10 minutes. In the meantime, cut the spring onions into thin rings, coarsely chop the coriander and let the corn drain briefly. Taste the chili and add salt and pepper as you like (and more of the other spices if you want). Turn off the heat under the chili and leave the pan with the lid on for another 10 minutes. Serve the chili in bowls, topped with a generous spoonful of sour cream, some spring onions, corn and cilantro. Eat the chili with boiled rice, flatbread, or nachos!