Although I wasn't always this big of a fan of lentils and beans, I have now grown to cherish their flavourful versatility, amazing affordability and dense nutrient profiles. As a child, my parents used to double-duty-force-feed me a bean stew that was NOT my favourite. Truth be told, I may never eat that same stew again, but I definitely found my happy place with beans once I experimented on my own and discovered their delicious potential ;)
I have put together some cooking tips and tricks for you to use with your family, and also have a recipe booklet to share. Read along!
What's so special about Pulses?
They are PACKED with nutritious qualities:
- HIGH in protein: plant-based protein that can be great on its own or used as a substitute for typical meat entrees such as beef tacos. Pair it with a grain, such as rice or wheat berries, to compliment the protein.
- HIGH in fibre: we can all use a little more fibre in our diets. Legumes "bind" with cholesterol in the blood and may prevent it from building up. Try freezing white or black beans and adding them to smoothies for a creamy fiber rich treat.
- HIGH in antioxidants: helps fight all those disease-causing reactions in the body
- HIGH in vitamins and minerals: that can be paired with food to aid in their absorption and utilization by the body. For example, the Iron content in legumes needs to be paired with Vitamin C to be better absorbed, while Calcium would inhibit the iron's absorption. So pairing pulses with tomatoes works wonders, while cooking with cream may cancel out the benefits of its iron content.
Please note that eating pulses in large quantities may not be appropriate for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Kidney Disease. Make sure to check with your dietitian if you have any concerns, or call 8-1-1 if you are a BC resident to speak with a dietitian over the phone (free of charge).
Cooking Tips & Tricks
Allow me to make my case with dried beans:
- SAVE MONEY: You get 4 times more out of a standard 1lb bag of dried beans than a standard 15 oz can. Although even if you're using a can, it's still cheaper than purchasing meats.
- SAVE TIME:
- Cook ahead of time using a crockpot, add 1 tsp of baking soda to help with the cooking process and the breaking down of the starch.
- Cook for about 3 hours, or until slightly al dente (undercooked).
- Freeze in ziplock bags (flat). When you need to use them, you simply defrost in the fridge or put it straight into your stew to finish cooking.
You knew it was coming, the toot talk. Trust me, there are solutions to the common fear of gas.
- TO REDUCE FLATULENCE:
- If cooking from dried, pre-soak beans overnight, or at least for 4 hours, and use fresh water to cook them
- Add Kombu when cooking them from scratch - Kombu is a dried seaweed that helps with improving the digestibility of pulses
- If using canned beans, scoop out the foam and rinse thoroughly
- If all else fails, try taking Beano
It's important to remember that your gut bacteria will adjust to the properties of pulses the more you eat them, and you're likely to experience less flatulence with time.
Easy and Delicious Recipes
All of this information is meaningless until you KNOW how to use it.
So I'm making it easy for you, submit your email below so that I can send you an awesome recipe collection with ideas for Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Dinner.
Can't get any better than that ;)