Legumes are a class of vegetables that include beans, peas, and lentils. Chock full of nutrients and high in fibre, cooked legumes can be added to any number of dishes. And they’re the quintessential healthy substitute for meat. Follow these quick tips for perfect results.
- Pick through dried beans, legumes, and lentils, and discard shrivelled or discoloured ones before soaking.
- Rinse and drain well.
- Soak beans and legumes in the refrigerator overnight in a 1:3 ratio of beans to water. (Lentils, split peas, and black-eyed peas do not require soaking.)
- To quick soak, bring legumes to a boil in a stockpot in a 1:3 ratio of beans to water. Cover and set aside at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
- Thoroughly drain and rinse beans after soaking.
- Cook beans in fresh water (never use the water they’ve been soaked in) in a 1:3 ratio of beans to water.
- To cook, simmer uncovered, stirring often, testing beans for softness after 45 minutes. Cook until tender, adding more hot water if needed. Cook with herbs, if you wish.
- Add salt or acid ingredients such as vinegar, tomatoes, or fruit juice when beans are nearing tenderness. Otherwise they will remain tough.
- Drain and plunge into cold water to cool once cooked. Drain and freeze in small containers and add to recipes as needed.
- The yield: 1 lb (450 g) dried beans = 5 to 6 cups (1.25 to 1.5 L) cooked.
This excerpt was originally published as part of the article published in the January 2020 issue of alive Canada with the title “2020 Pantry Essentials.”