Best Olive Oil combined with white beans in this great Mediterranean Diet dish
Updated 5th July 2022
The Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and extra virgin olive oil, is already associated with a multitude of health benefits including diabetes prevention, weight loss, improved blood pressure and better mental health.
However, new research from Spain has now shown it only takes one person in a household to follow a Mediterranean diet for the whole family to benefit from a ‘halo effect’.
The study, from Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute suggests that, by sharing your home with someone who combines Mediterranean nutrition with regular exercise, co-habitees can enjoy the same health benefits associated with this lifestyle choice.
Researchers from the Hospital del Mar and other medical research institutes in Spain looked at 114 family members of participants in a study on obesity and the Mediterranean diet. The study participants were instructed to follow a calorie-restricted Mediterranean diet with regular one-on-one coaching and group support sessions. Their family members — including partners, children, parents, and siblings — never received any specific guidance on the diet, or information about weight loss.
In other words, the positive influence of one family member’s improved eating habits can have a significant ripple effect across the household. Researchers found that family members of dieters ate healthier and lost weight without actively trying.
Is Olive Oil Good For You?
The presence of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in most Mediterranean diets is believed to contribute to its health benefits. This is largely due to the phytonutrient composition of olive oil and, in particular, the large amount of polyphenols present in the best extra virgin olive oils such as Morocco Gold.
- 1 ¼ cup dry white beans
- ½ cup Morocco Gold extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper chopped in small pieces
- 1 green bell pepper chopped in small pieces
- 1 onion grated
- 1 garlic clove sliced
- 7-8 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste diluted with 1/4 cup of water
- Ground Pepper
- Salt to taste
- Soak beans overnight.
- Rinse and simmer beans for about 30 minutes until soft but not mushy, drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).
- Chop vegetables and then in a large bowl mix the peppers, grated onion, garlic, beans, extra virgin olive oil, tomato paste mixture, oregano, and pepper. Mix gently as to not break the beans.
- Add the halved cherry tomatoes and mix gently.
- Pour into casserole dish.
- Add ¼ cup hot water to the dish pouring it in a corner and tilting the dish so that the water spreads (do not pour over as this will wash off the olive oil).
- Cover with aluminum foil and roast for about 1 hour until peppers are soft.
- Remove foil and roast for about 10 minutes if you want some browning. Be careful not to leave it uncovered too long, otherwise the beans will dry out.
- Remove from oven, let it cool and add thick salt as needed.
- Serve plain or with feta cheese.
About White Beans
White beans are one of the many varieties of common beans domesticated in North and South America. Several types exist, though the most common are cannellini beans, which are also called white kidney beans. Tender, with an earthy, nutty flavour, they make a great addition to soups, stews, chilis, and other dishes.
Although cannellini beans are the most common kind of white bean, a few others are worth mentioning. Navy beans, also called pea beans, are small, oval-shaped white beans. They’re a little milder in flavour and most commonly used for baked beans and certain soups. Great Northern beans are smaller than cannellini beans but larger than navy beans. Known for their delicate, nutty flavor, they’re usually added to casseroles and soups.
Baby lima beans, or butterbeans, are small with a rich, creamy texture. Like other white beans, they’re common ingredients in casseroles, soups, and stews.
As all white beans are similar in flavour, you can use them interchangeably in recipes.
Nutrients in white beans
White beans are a nutritional powerhouse, as they’re packed with fibre and protein and a good source of numerous micronutrients, including folate, magnesium, and vitamin B6.
- Calories: 242
- Protein: 17 grams
- Fat: 0.6 grams
- Carbs: 44 grams
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Copper: 55% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Folate: 36% of the DV
- Iron: 36% of the DV
- Potassium: 21% of the DV
- Thiamine: 17% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 28% of the DV
- Magnesium: 26% of the DV
- Zinc: 22% of the DV
- Calcium: 16% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 6% of the DV
- Selenium: 4% of the DV
White beans are particularly rich in copper, folate, and iron. Copper primarily aids energy production and iron metabolism, while folate is utilized in DNA synthesis. Iron has numerous important functions, including producing hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout your body. What’s more, white beans are high in polyphenol antioxidants, which combat oxidative stress in your body.