Recipe For Health
by Jill Yarbrough, Dining Services Test Kitchen Manager
Featured Food: Beans Yield: Serves 8-10Learn more about Beans


  • 2 c. ziti noodles
  • 8 oz. zesty hot sausage
  • 8 oz. bulk sausage
  • ⅓ c. onions, diced
  • 2 T. garlic, minced
  • 1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 T. dried basil
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 1–2 t. salt
  • ¼ c. parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
  • ½ c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • fresh parsley, chopped


Boil water for ziti, and cook until al dente. Drain and hold until needed. 

Brown sausage in a sauté pan. Drain fat. Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are softened. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, beans, basil and oregano. 

Bring mixture to a low boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. 

Add noodles and allow to heat through. 

Combine cheeses and sprinkle on top. 

Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

Learn More About Beans

Contrary to the familiar rhyme we all loved in high school, beans are not a fruit. For the record, let’s clear up another little inaccuracy in that jingle—in truth, the more often you eat them, the less you’ll toot! Yes, a physiological adaptation occurs when you eat beans regularly that allows you to better digest the carbohydrates. So eat beans often. They are an inexpensive source of protein, high in nutritional value, and they’re also grown in Michigan.

Canned beans are a good buy and nutritionally equal to those we cook from scratch. However, a bag of dry beans is downright cheap and takes very little hands-on time to prepare. Three steps will help us prepare beans in our own kitchen:

Step 1: Sorting—Spread beans on a flat surface. Pick out damaged beans, stones, or other foreign matter.

Step 2: Soaking (skip this step for lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas)—Put 1 pound of beans and 10 cups of water in a large pot. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, use a colander to drain the beans.

Step 3: Cooking—Rinse until water runs clear. Return the beans to the pot. Cover with three times their volume of water. We might add herbs and spices (wait to add salt and acidic ingredients, as they increase cooking time, until the beans are tender). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer gently, cover and cook until just tender. Most beans will cook in 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours. Drain and use in a recipe. Or drain and cool, then freeze in 1 to 2 cup packages.  

Bean Counting

• 1 pound (2 to 3 cups) dry beans = 6 to 9 cups cooked beans

• 1-15 oz can beans, drained = 1 ½ cups cooked beans

• Cooking beans requires a 1 to 3 ratio (1 cup soaked beans to 3 cups water)

Peggy Crum MA, RD

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