Beans and other Legumes
What is a legume? It’s basically a word to describe a dry fruit in which the edible fruit is often within a shell or pod. Legumes are a great source of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, which makes it a perfect item to supplement for any meat products. Even if you’re not a vegan, you can still benefit from eating more beans as it can help lower your fat intake while boosting your fiber and protein intake. Beans and legume products are especially great for vegans, vegetarians, and anyone that doesn’t like consuming a lot of meat products.
4 types of Legumes
The most common of the legumes are beans. They come in a variety that include adzuki beans, black beans, soybeans, anasazi beans, fava beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), edamames, kidney beans and lima beans.
Peanut is the most common example of legumes. Some legumes are inappropriately titled as “nuts”.
Peas are available in green peas, snow peas, snap peas, split beas, and black-eyed peas.
Lentils are a bushy annual plant of the legume family that grows into a tiny seed and comes in a variety of colors.
Legumes are the most versatile and nutritious foods available. They are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol. These legumes are rich in the following nutrients: Calcium, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin B6, Zinc, Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Phosphorus. Legumes are a healthy substitute for meat which contains more fat and cholesterol.
Since legumes are a delightful food, it will help keep you fuller longer and prevent unhealthy snacking. Consuming legumes several times a week can help regulate your bowel movements and keep blood sugar levels in check.
To prepare yourself on using dried beans and legumes, it requires soaking at room temperature water. They need to be hydrated before cooking. Before you soak, sort through the beans discarding the bad beans or any debris. Rinse the beans in cold water. It’s best to soak them overnight for at least six to eight hours. If they are soaked ahead of time, they’ll cook faster and rid of gas-producing carbohydrates. It’s possible that you are unable to soak it overnight, in which case you may do a quick soak for one hour. Quick soak the beans in water and boil for one minute, turn off the heat and let the beans stand in the water for one hour.
After it’s been soaked, discard any beans that float to the top, throw out the soaking water and add new water to cook in. Add enough water to cover the beans and bring to a boil. Simmer covered and cook until tender, about 1-3 hours depending on the bean you’ve chosen. If you can stick a fork in them, then it’s done.
This is a general example on how to prepare the legumes. Some may require a longer soaking time and/or cooking time. Please adjust as you cook accordingly.
Beans are bland-tasting which makes them very versatile. They’ll soak up any spices or marinade you add to them. If you’re not already adding legumes to your daily diet, try replacing them with your usual proteins today.
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