Get your plant-based protein with these bean recipes

Written by Erin Peters, a dietetic intern at UK Markey Cancer Center.

Although beans aren’t actually a fruit, they are pretty “magical” when it comes to nutrition. Beans are a great source of plant-based protein and dietary fiber which help to maintain gut health and reduce inflammation in your body. This can be especially important for cancer patients who may be experiencing bowel changes or muscle loss as a result of their treatments.

Beans are also relatively inexpensive and highly versatile when it comes to incorporating them into our diets. When shopping for beans, it is important to note that canned beans are just as good as dried beans and may be more convenient for cooking – if you are watching your sodium, consider draining and rinsing canned beans under cool water prior to cooking.

Not sure how to include beans into your diet? Check out the recipes below for a few ideas!

3 Ingredient Turkey Chili


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can of chili beans (do not drain)


  1. Start by cooking the ground turkey at a medium heat on the stove in a medium saucepan or skillet.
  2. Once meat starts to brown, add diced tomatoes and chili beans.
  3. Let mixture simmer until desired flavor is achieved, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Serve plain or with toppings such as cheese and sour cream.

Bean and Vegetable Soup


  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (look for low-sodium version)
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables – look for frozen soup mix vegetables or pick vegetables you like
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. Combine tomatoes, broth, and vegetables in a large saucepan. Cover with lid.
  2. Cook on medium-high about 5 minutes.
  3. Add cannellini beans, return lid to saucepan, and simmer on medium for 10 minutes.
  4. Add Italian seasoning and black pepper.
  5. Serve plain or with parmesan cheese.

For additional information regarding diet and nutrition for cancer patients at UK Markey Cancer Center, please call 859-323-2798 and ask to speak with a registered dietitian.

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This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.