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  • Writer's pictureCathy Missios

You're full of Beans .....

I said as I stared at my well-stocked pantry!!! Spring is still teasing us, I saw snow flurries this morning so a perfect day for Fasolatha (a Greek white bean soup staple) I think we can agree every ethnic culture seems to have a different take on how to prepare delicious recipes with beans. It is Home cooking at its best! Here are some tips I'd like to share with you on proper bean prep.

Beans are a high in protein, fibre and minerals like iron, folate, potassium and magnesium. Fibre is an underrated nutrient, and most of us quite frankly don’t get enough. Each 1/2 cup of cooked beans contains around 7 grams each of protein and fibre (women should aim for 25 grams of fibre per day and men 38 grams per day). Fibre helps with digestion and helps keeps us full. Message me if you need some help with adding more fibre to your diet.

I recommend soaking dried beans before cooking. Soaking your beans allows them to absorb some water and reduces the cooking time by around 25%. Exceptions include lentils and split peas, they’re so small you only need to soak for 20-30 minutes before using them in your recipe Soaking is optional but helps reduce cook time – be sure to discard any liquid that you soaked your beans in and use freshwater for cooking them.

  1. Rinse and drain the beans in a fine sieve and discard any beans that are disheveled or bits of debris (that was always my job as a kid!)

  2. Soak the beans. The long method is to soak the beans for at least 8 hours or ideally overnight in enough cool water to cover (you can leave them out at room temperature). The quick method is to cover the beans with water in a large pot, bring the water to a boil, turn the heat off, cover the beans and let them soak for 1 hour. Once the beans are done soaking proceed to step 3.

  3. Cook the beans. Once the beans are soaked, drain them, place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for about 45–75 minutes depending on the variety (about 15–25 minutes for lentils), until your beans are soft. It’s important to cook them at a low temperature to help prevent the beans from splitting. Avoid adding anything acidic to your beans until they are fully cooked as it stops the cooking process. Cooked beans can be stored in a sealed container or bag in the fridge for 4-5 days or can be frozen for up to 2-3 months (you risk freezer burn the longer you freeze them)!

Note that if you are following a low FODMAP diet for your digestive health you may not be able to eat beans.

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