The many ways to enjoy pulses!

The easiest way to eat beans is, of course, the canned type, but the taste isn’t everything it could be. The best way to get all the taste and texture out of beans is to use dry beans as the starting point. Dry beans need to be soaked two or three days, changing the water each day. This allows them to get softer, but also to begin to germinate. 

The germination, or sprouting, enhances the nutritional value. It also helps release the um.. fart power of the bean so there are fewer issues a few hours after consumption! Another way to disarm the fart power of the bean is to cook it with Kombu seaweed or a teaspoon of baking soda (don’t put baking soda in lentils though, it tastes weird).

The tastiest and fastest way to cook soaked beans is with a pressure cooker. They become softer and butterier than when boiled for just an hour. Chickpeas cook well with salt, but it’s recommended to salt the other beans after the cooking, instead during the stewing. 

The secret to tasty beans is spices. Simmering the beans once they’re mostly cooked, al dente shall we say, with various spices and herbs is what makes them so delicious. When you do eat them, if you are not eating any other form of protein, nutritionists recommend you eat them with grains, specifically one third pulses two thirds grains in order to get a good balance of amino acids in the protein.

If I had to pick one bean, the beginner bean, I would pick edamame, but not the Amazon forest clearing kind. Technically, edamame is in the pod, while mukamame is the actual single bean, but we’ll call it edamame because we’re more familiar with it. It comes easy to use – frozen – and is delicious even on its own. Thaw and put in salad is the easiest, or just eat like candy!

Other simple recipes with pulses:

·   For a quick rice topping, stir-fry edamame with toasted sesame oil, tamari sauce, maybe garlic and ginger

·   For a salad, bring to a boil 1 volume beluga or green lentils for 2 of water, along with salt, garlic clove, and bay leaf, simmer 20 minutes then add olive oil and maybe balsamic vinegar

·   For a soup, briefly saucepan-fry potatoes, onions or leeks, broccoli stalks, ginger, then add water or broth and split peas and simmer for at least 20 minutes, then blend, maybe with spirulina for more colour.

Of course, you can always make the “must go” special: whatever must go out of your fridge. If you’re feeling really jazzed about beans and want more recipes, check out Joe Yonan’s cookbook, called Cool Beans actually!

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