As flexitarians, Rick and I eat a lot of beans and lentils. They’re a good food source of protein, fiber and minerals. Archeological evidence suggests some varieties have been eaten since the Stone Age. Since 2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses, I’ve gotten together with some blogging friends to bring you 18 ways to prepare these tasty little guys.
There is a little controversy over how to prepare dried beans, peas and chickpeas. I normally soak mine overnight and change the water before cooking them. Some people add a little vinegar or lemon juice to the soaking liquid. Soaking is said to destroy the phytic acid, an enzyme inhibitor which protects the beans from digestion. This is great for the plant as its seeds will pass through an animal and grow somewhere else, but not good for people who chew their beans as some of the nutrients remain bound with the phytic acid and unavailable for absorbtion. If you eat a balanced diet, phytic acid isn’t a concern, as pointed of by Dr. Weil.
Some folks don’t bother with soaking, especially when cooking them in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Dried lentils and split peas don’t need to be soaked, but should at least be rinsed and picked through before cooking. Of course, if you’re in a hurry, canned beans are available but you’ll have more choices among the dried varieties.
Bac’n Beans from In the Kitchen With Jenny
Green beans, broad beans and peas are legumes, but considered vegetables instead of pulses because they’re not dried. I’ve included a few recipes in this set because they’re delicious no matter what you call them.
When you think about it, dried beans and other legumes make up a major portion of our diet; from delicious side dishes to the main part of the meal. I hope you and your family will enjoy these bean recipes during the Year of Pulses.
Thanks to my blogging friends for sharing their bean recipes and photographs. Be sure to visit their websites where you’re sure to find more great food.