Vegetarian beans are beans that are prepared without the use of meat, poultry or fish. All beans, by their very definition, are vegetarian. They are legumes that grow out of the earth and do not come from any kind of animal. Many bean dishes, however, call for non-vegetarian ingredients such as bacon, beef, or chicken stock.
One of the most popular bean dishes in the United States and in Britain is baked beans In Britain, baked beans are usually prepared in a manner that is suitable for vegetarians. The beans are made in a light tomato sauce. In the United States, on the other hand, baked beans are usually prepared in a way that does not comply with vegetarian diets. One of the key ingredients in American baked beans is bacon.
The American dish can be retooled to suit vegetarian diets by substituting the bacon with a vegetarian bacon made from soy. Alternatively, the pork can be left out completely and the dish can be flavored with other ingredients that will replace the salty smokiness of the bacon. Another option is for vegetarian Americans to simply switch to the British version of baked beans.
Beans can be purchased either canned or dried. Most canned varieties are vegetarian beans. This means that there are no animal products in the beans or in the gravy that come with the beans in the can. Dried beans must be rehydrated using water or vegetable stock if they are to yield vegetarian beans. Using beef stock or chicken stock will make the beans unsuitable for anyone following a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian beans are considered to be a heart-healthy food, especially if they are made without using a large quantity of salt. They can be served as a side dish or on top of salads. They can also be pureed into a low-fat dip for tortilla chips or pretzels. Vegetarian beans can also be used as a delicious filler for tacos and burritos.
Beans are a staple in cuisines from Central America and South America. In many cases, the beans that are served in these cuisines are prepared in a manner that is suitable for vegetarians. Many times beans are added to stews that contain beef, pork, or chicken, in which case they are no longer vegetarian.