Beans and other legumes are an essential in the zero-waste and plant-based lifestyle. They also happen to be a nutritional powerhouse. Are you missing out? If you find your eyes skipping past the jars of dried beans and legumes at The Tare Shop – It’s time to build up your legume confidence and make them a pantry staple.
It’s actually rather simple to prepare your own legumes, and there are benefits to doing so. Since being a source of plant-based protein and fibre; legumes keep you feeling full and satisfied. Their vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content also propose preventative benefits and overall, they support you in living vibrantly.
There are plenty of perks to preparing your own legumes from scratch:
- Your savings will be substantial
- Optimize digestibility, soaking and cooking your own dried legumes can avoid you from humming the infamous bean song after ingesting.
- We can boycott the use of wasteful tin cans with epoxy resin liners (we love these natural cotton bulk bags)
- This opens the door to sprouting your legumes for added nutritional benefits
- You can decide whether or not you’d like to include natural himalayan or sea salt in the cooking process
- It’s your choice to include your favourite herbs and spices to personalize your legumes
MEET THE LEGUMINOSAE FAMILY
‘Legume’ is an umbrella term that includes beans, lentils, peas, and peanuts. A legume is a seed within a pod, and it’s the seed that we ingest. In a case where the seed and the pod are consumed, such as with green beans and snow peas, these would be considered as more of a vegetable. Knowing the difference between legumes is important when it comes down to cooking, as you would not prepare lentils the same way you would chickpeas.
YOUR GUIDE TO LEGUMES
|2 ¼ cups
|Black Eyed Peas
|1 ½ cups
|2 ½ cups
|2 ¼ cups
|2 ½ cups
|2 ⅔ cups
|1 ½ minutes
|2 ⅔ cups
|Split Peas, Green
|Split Peas, Yellow
*Yield refers to 1-cup of the dried legume
- Always begin by rinsing your legumes until the water runs clear.Also be sure to give them a look through for any little pieces of mother earth (dirt or pebbles) that may have found their way in.
- Next, we soak. This is step is an essential for our bean friends, and requires a little bit of planning ahead. Place your rinsed beans in a bowl or jar, cover with warm water keeping in mind that they will expand. You can allow them to soak for up to 48 hours, as long as you are changing the water every 8 hours. This is quite a big window of time, you may choose to soak your beans longer to ease digestion. See the chart for recommended soaking times.
- Quick soak method: Since time isn’t always on our side, you can also add your rinsed legumes to a pot with water and boil for 2 minutes. Leave them to soak in that same pot of water, covered for 2-4 hours.
- Rinse again to remove impurities. This step eases digestion allowing for better absorption. Always rinse your beans until the water runs clear.
- You’re ready to cook. Place your beans in a pot and cover with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until your beans reach a firmness of your liking. During the simmering is when you can optionally add in any salt and spices. See the chart for recommended cooking times. The smaller and fresher the beans, the faster they will cook. Drain your beans and keep the liquid that’s left over in the pot – it makes for a delicious soup base!
- Storing tips. Cooked beans can keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 5-7 days. You can also divide them into smaller containers and freeze for up to three months.
LET’S EASE DIGESTION
One cannot simply share the insights of beans without touching on the side effects of consuming them. We all know the song: ‘beans, beans the musical fruit’.
Hard-shelled legumes contain a complex sugar called oligosaccharide. This natural sugar can cause the infamous digest upset, as we do not produce the enzyme required to properly break it down. Luckily there’s a few steps that we can take to increase the digestibility of legumes to ensure we flawlessly process them and maximize our nutrient absorption:
Increase Your Soaking Time. Often times the recommendation is to soak overnight, however to maximize digestibility, you may benefit from a 48-hour soak.
Change the Soaking Water. Rinse your legumes throughout the soaking process and refill with fresh water every 8 hours.
Soak in Warm Water. Be sure to utilize warm water for your soaking, I also recommend adding 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to assist in breaking down the unfavourable characteristics that make beans hard to digest.
Pair with Fermented Foods. Making plant-based bean tacos or a bean and rice bowl? Try pairing with a fermented food such as kimchi or sauerkraut to introduce living enzymatic action to help with the digestion process.
Cook with Kombu. Adding a strip of kombu seaweed to your pot of cooking beans has two main benefits: it infuses beneficial minerals into your legumes and kombu contains the enzyme needed to break down that scary complex sugar (oligosaccharide).
Practice Sprouting. This simple method is a fun at-home experiment that adds more vibrancy to your meals, while also making legumes, nuts, seeds and grains easier to digest.
HOW TO SPROUT
Soaking is the first step that you take before cooking, but it’s also the first step to sprouting. This practice germinates a seed and encourages it to sprout for new life. It takes 4-6 days to grow sprouts, and the entire seed and sprout can be consumed. You can grow sprouts indoor, all year long (even through a Canadian winter).
Sprouts are more nutrient rich when compared to their seed version. In additional to adding some vibrancy and crunch to your meals, sprouting also generally increases fibre, protein, vitamin C and B content! Sprouts can be enjoyed raw, steamed, or cooked completely.
- See the chart above to see which legumes can be sprouted, some of the easiest are adzuki beans, mung beans and chickpeas.
- In order to sprout your grains and legumes, you will either need a mason jar with a sprouting lid or a sprouting contraption. After soaking, drain out the water, give them a good rinse, and add to your sprouting jar.
- Prop the jar upright in a bowl, allowing for excess water to drip out of the sprouting lid, into a bowl. You should discard the water from the bowl as it collects.
- Rinse your sprouts twice a day and keep them out of direct sunlight.
- Once you see little tails, typically in 1-5 days place you can place them in the sunlight for an hour or so they can produce some chlorophyll.
- Give your sprouts a final rinse, then allow them to dry out on a clean kitchen towel, spread them out evenly to speed up the process. You can pat dry as needed before storing in a glass container in your refrigerator. I either store mine in a mason jar or a glass bowl with beeswax wrap to cover.
- Add sprouts to your meals and enjoy within a week.
PLANT BASED BURRITO BOWL
Makes 3-4 servings
What you need:
FOR THE BURRITO BOWL
- -1 cup dry long-grain rice or quinoa*
- -1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Sliced green onion, for garnish
- Sprouts, for garnish (optional)
FOR THE SPICY BLACK BEANS
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 medium spanish onion, diced
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Himalayan salt, to taste
- 1 ½ cups cooked black beans*
- 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, large stems removed and finely chopped
FOR THE AVOCADO-LIME SAUCE (MAKES HEAPING 1/2 CUP):
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 large avocado, pitted
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
- 1 tbsp water
- Himalayan salt, to taste
What to do:
- Cook the rice or quinoa with 1 tbsp of coconut oil added
- Meanwhile, prepare the Spicy Black Beans. In a large pan or skillet, add the oil and melt it over medium heat. Stir in the onion, mushroom and garlic, along with a pinch of salt, and sauté for about 8-10 minutes, until caramelized and softened.
- Stir in the chili powder, dried oregano, cayenne (if using), and himalayan salt to taste. Continue sautéing for another 2-4 minutes.
- Now stir in the tomatoes and cooked black beans. Cook for 3-5 minutes until heated throughout. You can leave the mixture over low heat until ready to serve or simply turn off the heat and reheat before serving.
- For the Avocado-Lime Sauce: Add the avocado flesh, garlic, lime juice, water, and salt to a food processor or blender, process until smooth. Taste and adjust lime juice if desired.
- When the rice or quinoa is ready, divide the between 3-4 bowls. Top each with a couple scoops of the hot black bean mixture, and a large spoonful of both the salsa and the Avocado-Lime Sauce. Garnish with sliced green onion and any sprouts. Enjoy!
- You can use cauliflower rice as a grain-free substitute
- This meal is also super yummy when you use chickpeas instead of black beans
Be inspired to become the best version of yourself. Nicole Eckert is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and the founder of the healthy living blog holisticole.com. Based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia – Nicole’s passion is creating vibrant wellness.