Tag Archives: Breakfast

An image depicting white bean oatmeal topped with fresh fruit

White Bean Oatmeal

If you’re trying to incorporate beans into your diet more often, don’t overlook breakfast options. With their creamy texture and neutral flavor, white beans are a perfect addition to oatmeal and a valuable way to give morning meals a protein boost. This recipe is adapted from The Simple Bean: A Bean Toolkit for Older Adults.


  • 1 cup cooked white beans, rinsed, drained, and mashed
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 ½ tbsp maple syrup or any liquid sweetener
  • Dash of cinnamon


  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat over medium heat until it begins to simmer.
  2. Reduce heat and cook uncovered for about 7 minutes.
  3. Serve with blueberries, chopped walnuts, or any favorite oatmeal toppings.

Bean Dishes for Breakfast

Beans may not be common fare for American breakfasts, but they are not the least bit unusual in some parts of the world. Starting the day with beans makes sense. Their combination of protein and fiber gives them staying power, keeping hunger at bay throughout the morning. Here are five ways to include beans in the most important meal of the day.

• Spoon baked beans (your own or from a can) onto toast for a super-easy British-style breakfast.

• Fold black beans into a flour tortilla or an omelet and top with salsa for a Mexican-style breakfast

• Give hash brown potatoes a protein and fiber boost by stirring cooked pinto beans into them.

• Try Gallo Pinto or “Painted Rooster” which is a traditional Nicaraguan breakfast. This red beans and rice dish is often served with scrambled eggs. Make it by sauteeing 1 finely chopped onion and 1 finely chopped sweet pepper plus 2 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add 2 cups of cooked red beans and season with salt and pepper. Serve over hot, cooked rice.

• If you eat breakfast on-the-go, bean muffins offer a healthy alternative to pastry or energy bars. Beans add protein and a pleasant moist texture to breakfast muffins. Try this recipe for White Bean, Banana and Walnut Muffins from the Today Show.

Five Facts You May Not Know About Breakfast

  1. Breakfast is a relatively new concept and did not exist in the United States, as we know it today, until the mid to late 1800s. According to Abigail Carroll, a food historian and author of Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, a morning meal in the 1600s was likely to be leftovers, stewed grains, or cheese and bread. By the mid to early 1700s, meat and fish were often added, and this was a sign of growing prosperity. The breakfast we know today came about as a result of the industrial revolution and more people flocking to live in cities.
  2. James Caleb Jackson invented the first breakfast cereal in 1863. It was called “granula” and required soaking overnight to be chewable.
  3. The word “cereal” comes from the ancient Greek word “cerealia,” a major festival celebrating Ceres, the goddess of agriculture.
  4. February is National Hot Breakfast Month!
  5. Every traditional breakfast around the world is unique. In China, breakfast includes fried dough sticks (or “youtiao”) and warm soymilk. Colombian breakfast is typically arepas, a dense, slightly sweet corn cake that’s served with butter, jam, meat or egg. A traditional English breakfast is a hearty feast including eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, mushrooms, cooked tomatoes and toast. And a Swedish breakfast is typically an open-faced sandwich topped with fish or cold cuts, cheese, mayonnaise, cucumbers and tomatoes.

A Taste of the Savory Breakfast Movement

Q&A with Sanna Delmonico, MS, RDN, CHE

In this month’s Q&A, we chat with Sanna Delmonico, a registered dietitian and nutrition faculty member at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, California. We asked Sanna to share her insights about the savory breakfast movement and how beans can be included in a healthy, delicious breakfast routine.

 BB (Bean Bulletin): Hi Sanna, thanks so much for chatting with us. First off, can you tell us a little about your background? Why did you become a dietitian, and what led to your career at The Culinary Institute of America?

Sanna: Well, I’ve been a dietitian for more than 20 years, and the reason I became a dietitian is kind of a funny one—lactose intolerance. When I started college I was a film major and really just took a nutrition course to fulfill my science credit. When I learned about lactose intolerance, I became totally fascinated by it. Beyond just the condition, it intrigued me from an anthropologic perspective—how cultures and cuisines formed around this ability or inability to digest lactose. It really got me hooked on nutrition science. I decided to major in dietetics and after college, I debated going on to culinary school, but I decided dietitians had better hours than chefs. I went for my masters and have really spent my whole career focused on food —food culture, culinary arts, flavor, and healthy, delicious dietary patterns. Prior to joining the CIA, I worked for 12 years in children’s nutrition, self-publishing a monthly newsletter for parents with recipes and nutrition information. I started teaching nutrition at a junior college and really loved it, so I was so happy to find a position at the CIA. I love students and meeting them at this really important time in their life.

BB: That is a great story! As you’re likely very aware, the savory breakfast movement is continuing to grow in popularity. Why are people looking for more savory options for breakfast?

Sanna: I think it has a lot to do with the fact that most places around the world eat a savory breakfast, and we (the U.S.) are one of the few places that gear toward sweet things at breakfast. In countries like Japan, the Middle East, and China to name a few, it’s not normal to eat a sweet breakfast. There is a growing interest in international cuisine and I think that’s driving the savory breakfast trend.

BB: What are the potential nutrition and health benefits of a savory breakfast?

Sanna: Some of the key opportunities with a savory breakfast are that it’s a great way to eat more vegetables, beans, whole grains, plain yogurt (good for probiotics), and to cut back on added sugar.

BB: What are some culinary strategies to create delicious, savory breakfasts? Also, what items would you recommend people have on hand (pantry, refrigerator, spice cabinet) to create savory, satisfying breakfasts?

Sanna: Bowls have become super popular! All the fast casual restaurants are doing them (think Chipotle), and I think breakfast bowls are a great, simple way to create delicious, savory breakfasts. Also, bowls are a great way to use up leftover ingredients like extra cooked grains, beans, and vegetables. The most important thing is to have the ingredients on hand and prepped so the bowls are easy to create in the morning. Think of ingredients like cooked beans, cooked grains like farro or brown rice, roasted or sautéed vegetables, and savory stuff like tomato sauce and Sriracha.

Also think about breakfast sandwiches, burritos or salads for breakfast. Basically, if you put an egg on something, it’s breakfast!  These are all great ways to enjoy a savory, healthy breakfast, and also easy ways to add beans to a breakfast routine.

For ingredients to keep on hand to create savory breakfasts, I recommend eggs, beans, whole grains, cooked vegetables, good toasting bread, plain yogurt, nuts, herbs like mint and parsley, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and savory sauces.

BB: Those all sound delicious! For those who are still committed to a sweet breakfast, what are some simple swaps or small steps to start creating and enjoying savory breakfasts?

Sanna: The first thing that comes to mind is toast because so many already enjoy sweet toast, so encourage them to think about something savory. Maybe switch from jam to hummus or a bean puree. This is very common in the Middle East. When I was traveling in Spain one of the best things I ate for breakfast was tomato toast. It was toasted bread drizzled with olive oil, grated tomato and coarse salt. This would be really good with a white bean puree.

I also think savory yogurt is really coming into its own. Chobani has come out with a variety of more savory flavors, incorporating herbs and spices. Keeping plain yogurt on hand is great because you can make a sweet or savory parfait, depending on what you have a taste for.

Also, I think savory French toast or bread pudding is quite delicious. A savory bread pudding that uses black beans, cheddar cheese and tomatoes—yum!

BB: That sounds so good. You’ve already shared a few ideas, but how do beans fit into savory breakfasts? Also, why should people think about enjoying beans with their breakfast from a health perspective?

Sanna: I think beans are a perfect addition to the savory breakfast. If you have beans pre-cooked or canned, they are ready to go and become an easy, healthy addition to a breakfast routine.

It’s also important to remember that beans go really great with eggs, so if you’re making scrambled eggs, add beans. Breakfast burrito—add beans. Breakfast bowl —add beans. Combine some cooked brown rice, black beans, a fried egg, tomatoes and salsa, and you have a really delicious, awesome, fast and healthy breakfast!

From a health perspective, I think it’s important that people think about eating beans for breakfast because it’s a key way to meet your recommendation for beans (3 cups per week) and not have to start at noon. Knocking vegetables out early in the morning sets you on a path to success!

 BB: Those are fantastic tips. All right, the final and most important question: What is your favorite breakfast bean recipe?

Sanna: I really love chilaquiles. If you use good thick tortilla chips, tomatillo salsa, fried eggs, and earthy, delicious black beans, it is an amazing combination. Also, if you have all the ingredients made in advance, it’s a super easy recipe, too. Click here to check out Sanna’s Chilaquiles with Black Beans recipe.

BB: Sanna, thank you so much for all these wonderful ideas to enjoy simply delicious, naturally nutritious beans for breakfast!

 Note: The Bean Institute also has a Chilaquiles recipe for schools! Check it out here.

Beans for Breakfast: For Health & Deliciousness

It’s no doubt that breakfast is an important meal. In addition to the simple act of breaking the overnight fast (i.e., “break” – “fast”), and fueling your body and brain with energy, there is ample research to support that eating breakfast is important for overall health. Research studies have shown that eating breakfast can:

  • Protect Your Heart: A 2013 study of male US health professionals found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of coronary heart disease than those who ate a morning meal.[1]
  • Lower Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: A 2015 meta-analysis found that skipping breakfast was significantly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.[2]
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: A 2013 study found that individuals who ate their main meal later in the day had 20% less weight loss and higher insulin resistance than those who ate their calories earlier in the day. [3]

Breakfast is undoubtedly an important meal, but not all breakfasts are created equal. Finding breakfast foods that are convenient and delicious, as well as nutritious, is essential to reap the benefits of breakfast.


Beans are an awesome food to add to your breakfast routine.  They offer an array of important nutrients as well as health benefits. Here are a few reasons to add beans to your morning meal:

  • Beans Provide Key Nutrients: Consuming lots of nutrients at breakfast is a great way to ensure your body gets all the nutrition it needs. For those who are looking to pack a nutrition punch at breakfast, beans are not to be missed. All types of beans are good sources of protein, excellent sources of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), and are naturally fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free. Beans are also excellent sources of copper, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium—nutrients that many Americans don’t get enough of—and most beans are good sources of potassium and a rich source of iron.
  • Beans are a Low Glycemic Index Food: Many health professionals encourage patients, particularly those with diabetes or insulin sensitivity, to look for low glycemic index (GI) foods to control blood sugars and insulin levels. This may be especially important in the morning when some have a tendency to be insulin resistant. The glycemic index (GI) of a food is a ranking on a scale of 0-100, according to the extent to which a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugars (glucose) levels after eating. Low GI foods produce smaller fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels, which may produce long-term health benefits. Beans have a low glycemic index, and therefore produce less fluctuation in blood sugars. In addition, research has also shown that the GI of breakfast may impact cognitive performance. A 2007 study showed that test scores of attention and memory decreased more substantially following a high GI versus low GI breakfast.[4] The researchers concluded that breakfast composition may play a role in cognitive function.
  • Beans Add Plant-Based Protein to Breakfast: Optimal protein intake is a hot topic in the nutrition community. However, total protein intake is not the issue of concern – most Americans get more than enough protein. The goal is ensuring that people eat enough protein at each meal to promote muscle health, as well as a healthy mix of different protein sources. Experts recommend that adults consume approximately 25-30 grams of protein at each meal. Beans provide approximately 8 grams of protein per half-cup serving and this is in the form of plant-based protein, a key recommendation to promote health and sustainability in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Eat a half-cup of beans and 2 eggs – you’re at 20 grams of protein!


Looking to add more beans to your morning? Here are some tips for adding them to breakfast, brunch or a mid-morning snack.

“Make Ahead” Idea: A Breakfast Bean Burrito

Fill a plain or whole grain 10” flour tortilla with ¾ cup canned, drained, and rinsed reduced-sodium black or pinto beans. Add ¼ cup shredded cheese. Roll tightly to form a burrito. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove from plastic wrap and simply microwave the burrito for 45-60 seconds on a microwave safe plate. Unfold tortilla, add 2 tablespoons salsa and re-roll tightly. Wrap in foil to keep it warmer longer, and then grab and go!

Calories: 500, Fiber: 15 g, Protein: 25 g

“5-Minute or Less Breakfast” Idea: Berry Bean Smoothie

Combine 1 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), 1 medium banana, ½ cup canned, drained and rinsed reduced-sodium black beans and 2 tablespoons honey in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses, add straws and then grab and go!

Calories: 315, Fiber: 7g, Protein: 4g

“Morning Bean Snack” Idea: Pinto Bean Hummus with Pita Chips

Combine 1, 15 oz. can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons water, 1 small garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning in a mini food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer ½ cup servings to four small plastic, covered containers. Keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to enjoy.

Calories per serving: 170; Fiber: 7 g; Protein: 7 g

“Leisurely Morning Breakfast/Brunch” Idea: Breakfast Torta

Tortas, traditional Mexican sandwiches, are made with large, oblong, crusty white rolls. The rolls are cut in half and the top half is covered with pureed black beans. The fillings are diverse and can include meats, vegetables, and cheeses. They can be eaten cold or warm as pressed sandwiches (think of Italian Panini). You can make a breakfast torta by cutting your roll in half, spreading the top half with pureed black beans and loading the bottom with scrambled eggs and chorizo, a Mexican sausage. You can also spread the bottom with avocado or guacamole, a fried egg, and a few slices of ripe tomato. The creative interpretations are endless for this craveable Mexican sandwich.

For more breakfast bean recipe ideas, visit www.BeanInstitute.com/recipes/ and check out our interview with registered dietitian Sanna Delmonico to find her favorite recipe for Chilaquiles with Black Beans.

Also, if you’re looking for resources to encourage patients to enjoy more beans at breakfast, check out our downloadable Beans for Breakfast handout.

[1] Cahill, LE, Chiuve, SE, Mekary, RA, Jensen, MK, Flint, AJ, Hu, FB, Rimm, EB. Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation. 2013; 128(4): 337-43.

[2] Bi, H, Gan, Y, Yang, C, Chen, Y, Tong, X, Lu, Z. Breakfast skipping and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Public Health Nutr. 2015; 18(16): 3013-9.

[3] Garaulet, M, Gomez-Abellan, P, Alburquerque-Bejar, JJ, Lee, YC, Ordovas, JM, Scheer, FA. Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013; 37(4): 604-11.

[4] Ingwersen, J et al. A low glycaemic index breakfast cereal preferentially prevents children’s cognitive performance from declining throughout the morning. Appetite. 2007; 49(1): 240-4.