If you’re a vegetarian, chances are that beans are an important staple in your diet. Even if you’re not, it’s hard to resist the allure of a well-made burrito or hummus. Veg-head or not, if you’re a regular consumer of legumes, buying them by the can can quickly get expensive . . . and heavy. So what’s a bean-aholic to do?
Welcome to the world of dried beans! These little guys are economical (a fraction of the cost of canned, even if you choose organic), nutritious, and easy to make.
Tools you’ll need:
- Your bean of choice
- A container in which to soak said beans (if applicable)
- A pot in which to cook said beans (always applicable)
- A small piece of kombu seaweed (I’ll explain later)
Step 1 – Soak Your Beans (If Applicable – See Chart)
Measure out your beans and put in a lidded container. Keep in mind that the beans will approximately double in size, so you’ll want to leave a good amount of space in your container. Fill the container with water, almost to the top. Put in the fridge overnight.
Why soak my beans?: Soaking removes dirt and dust, helps remove indigestible oligosaccharides (sugars) from your beans, allows for shorter cooking times (which preserves more nutrients), and allows the bean to cook more uniformly.
Step 2 – Drain and Rinse
While your beans soaked, all the dirt, dust, and oligosaccharides transferred from your beans into the water. If you were to cook your beans in that same water, they would reabsorb much of what you soaked out. Give them a good draining and rinsing.
Step 3 – It’s Cooking Time!
Again, cover your beans with about double the amount of water and a 2- inch piece of kombu seaweed, and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat and allow to simmer for the cooking time listed below. You’ll know your beans are done when they reach your preferred consistency.
Why kombu seaweed?: Kombu helps to soften the beans, helping to remove more of the oligosaccharides and phytic acid, making them less, well, gas-producing. It also adds minerals back into the beans – namely iodine, which helps with thyroid function.
Step 4 – Remove the Kombu, Rinse (Again), and Serve!
Pretty much what the title says. The kombu should be easy to pick out, but if a little gets left behind it’s not a big deal. Give them another rinse, and add to your favorite dishes!
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I like to cover them with water – they seem to last longer that way.
What are your favorite ways to use beans?
About The Author:
Kelly Boaz, CNP
Kelly is a holistic nutritionist, specializing in eating disorder recovery and food freedom. She is also a public speaker (TEDx King St. West, TDSB) and a writer. Learn more about Kelly, and about booking private consultations at kellyboaz.com Twitter: @kelly_boaz Facebook: /KellyBoazDotCom