These hearty comfort foods give you and your baby all the right nutrients.


Now that you’re expecting, it’s time to start thinking about beanies for baby. Not the stuffed animals, mind you, but the edible variety — they’re loaded with flavor and bursting with valuable nutrients. “Beans are one of those foods that should be at the core of a pregnant woman’s diet,” says Mary Lee Chin, M.S., R.D., a Denver-based nutrition consultant and dietitian. “They’re very rich in folate, which helps decrease

the risk of spina bifida, and they’re also an excellent source of iron. Pregnant women’s blood

production increases to nourish the baby, and they need iron to produce red blood cells.”

Beans also provide potassium, zinc, copper and vitamin B6, Chin points out, as well as a good dose of fiber. “Many pregnant women suffer from constipation due to the iron in their prenatal supplement,” she says. “Beans help counter that.” / On a chilly winter day, a comforting meal of these nutritional gold mines will bring color to your cheeks and a smile to your lips. And more importantly, they’ll fill your diet with valuable nutrients to nourish you and your budding bean sprout.


Lemon–Thyme Salmon Over Black-Eyed Peas

Serves 4

5 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 cups chopped leeks, white and pale-green parts only

3 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried), divided

2 cups black-eyed peas, cooked

3 tablespoons water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Nonstick cooking spray

4 4-ounce salmon fillets

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried); sauté until soft, approximately 6–8 minutes. Stir in peas and water; cook over very low heat until just warmed through. Season with salt and pepper; cover and keep warm.

Preheat broiler. Lightly coat salmon with cooking spray; season with salt and pepper and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil about 8 minutes, or until flaky and cooked through.

Whisk together remaining thyme, garlic, lemon juice, mustard and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 teaspoons oil; season with salt and pepper.

Spoon a portion of the black-eyed pea mixture on each plate. Lay salmon partially over beans; drizzle with lemon juice mixture.

Nutritional information per serving (1/2 cup bean mixture, 1 salmon fillet and 1 1/4 tablespoons lemon juice mixture): 431 calories, 31 percent fat (15 grams), 32 percent carbohydrate, 37 percent protein, 144 milligrams calcium, 4.5 milligrams iron, 175 micrograms folate.

Greek-Style Orecchiette With Tomatoes and White Beans

Serves 4

2 14 1/2-ounce cans chopped tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano

1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

8 cups Swiss chard leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup (2 ounces) pasteurized feta cheese, crumbled

1 pound orecchiette (little ears) pasta

Combine tomatoes and beans in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in Swiss chard and pasteurized feta and cook for 10 minutes. Cover and keep warm.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Divide pasta evenly among 4 shallow bowls. Top each with 1 1/4 cups of sauce. Nutritional information per serving (11/2 cups pasta and 11/4 cups sauce): 680 calories, 7 percent fat (5.5 grams), 73 percent carbohydrate, 20 percent protein, 300 milligrams calcium, 10 milligrams iron, 426 micrograms folate.

Spicy Bean-and-Cheese Quesadillas

Serves 4

1 16-ounce can vegetarian refried beans (spicy if desired)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon hot sauce, divided

4 burrito-size flour tortillas

1 6-ounce jar sliced roasted red peppers, drained

1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican-blend cheese

1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup avocado, diced

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Salt, to taste

Mix refried beans, cumin and 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce in a bowl. Spread half of each tortilla with a portion of bean mixture. Arrange peppers over beans; sprinkle with cheese. Fold each tortilla in half.

Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook 2 quesadillas for 2–3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Combine tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and remaining hot sauce in a bowl. Toss to mix, and season with salt. Top each quesadilla with the salsa mixture.

Nutritional information per serving (1 quesadilla with 1/2 cup salsa): 453 calories, 24 percent fat (12 grams), 55 percent carbohydrate, 21 percent protein, 406 milligrams calcium, 5 milligrams iron, 205 micrograms folate.

Cajun Shrimp, Corn and Lima Bean Chowder

Serves 6

4 cups skim milk

3 14 3/4-ounce cans creamed corn

2 10-ounce packages frozen baby lima beans, defrosted

2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat all ingredients except shrimp in a large nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes or until just cooked through. Season with salt and additional Cajun seasoning, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving (2 cups): 400 calories, 7 percent fat (3 grams), 64 percent carbohydrate, 29 percent protein, 280 milligrams calcium, 4.5 milligrams iron, 121 micrograms folate.

Barbecued Beans, Greens and Smoked Turkey Over Rice

Serves 6

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups kale leaves, chopped

2 15 1/2-ounce cans soybeans (or pinto beans), rinsed and drained

3/4 pound smoked turkey, diced

1 1/2 cups hickory barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 cups water

1 cup white rice

Preheat oven to 350° F. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion begins to soften. Stir in kale, beans, turkey, barbecue sauce and mustard. Transfer to a 3-quart casserole; bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Keep warm.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add rice. Cover and cook 15 minutes, or until tender. Divide rice among 6 shallow bowls, and spoon bean mixture over top.

Nutritional information per serving (1 cup bean mixture with 1/2 cup rice): 465 calories, 27 percent fat (14 grams), 43 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent protein, 211 milligrams calcium, 8.5 milligrams iron, 120 micrograms folate.

Asian Sizzling Steak and Garbanzo Bean Salad

Serves 4


1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons sesame oil, toasted

2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, peeled and minced (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)

1 clove garlic, minced


3/4 pound flank steak, trimmed of fat

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

8 cups mixed greens

1 small cucumber, diced

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced

2 cups garbanzo beans

1 cup bean sprouts

Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl until honey is dissolved. Set aside. Season flank steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat sesame oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook 6 minutes on each side, or until well-cooked. (Pregnant women should not eat rare meat; see “Foods to Avoid”) Remove steak from heat; cut on diagonal into thin slices. Arrange greens on 4 large plates. Top with cucumber, red pepper, garbanzo beans and bean sprouts. Arrange steak over vegetables and drizzle with dressing.

Nutritional information per serving (3 cups salad with 3 tablespoons dressing): 399 calories, 25 percent fat (11 grams), 46 percent carbohydrate, 29 percent protein, 116 milligrams calcium, 6 milligrams iron, 256 micrograms folate.