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Cooking & Recipes

How to Prepare Beans

by Marissa on September 7, 2014

How to prepare beans

Beans seriously don’t stand a chance.

When I bring up beans during my coaching sessions with clients, I get silence and blank stares. Either they’re too boring, they don’t digest well or clients simply don’t know how to prepare beans.

Now with the latest Paleo craze, beans are suddenly on the “do not eat” lists of the masses.

Well, let me tell you something: I love beans! And because my diet is primarily plant-based, I rely on them regularly.

So here’s my PSA for beans: what’s so great about beans, why you should eat beans and of course, how to prepare beans. Read this and you won’t be humming that famous school yard tune we all know about beans.

Why Should I Eat Beans? 

If you want to add a high-quality source of plant-based protein to your diet, look no further than beans. Not only are they a good source of protein, they’re also fiber-rich and high in iron and B vitamins.

If you don’t eat animal products or like to limit them, beans are your new BFF.

How Do I Cook Beans?

Keep beans fresh by storing them in a cool, dark place. Cooking them is so easy you can practically do it with one hand tied behind your back.

When you’re ready to use them, rinse and soak them overnight or at least 8 hours. Then drain and rinse and put them in a pot with about four cups of fresh water. Bring them to a boil and skim off the foam as they cook. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until they’re tender and soft in the middle.

You can add a teaspoon of sea salt about 10 minutes before they’re finished cooking.

What If I Forgot to Soak My Beans? 

Don’t worry. Rinse your beans, checking them for rocks or stones and bring them to a boil.

Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the beans stand in the water for an hour.

How Can I Make Beans Easier to Digest? 

Yes, you can prepare beans to make them more digestible. Pick any one or more of these simple tips:

  • Soak the beans longer than 8 hours, changing the water twice a day until they sprout (a small tail will form on the beans)
  • Cook beans in a pressure cooker (also cuts the cooking time in half)
  • Stick with smaller beans which are easier to digest
  • Eat beans with non-starchy vegetables like greens
  • Season with salt, fennel or cumin at the end of cooking (adding it at the beginning prevents thorough cooking)
  • Add garlic, kombu or kelp to the beans to speed cooking, add flavor and improve digestibility
  •  Splash apple cider, brown rice or white wine vinegar into the cooking water at the end of the cooking process to brake down the indigestible compounds

How Should I Eat Beans? 

However you’d like!

I like to eat them seasoned as my protein source alongside my veggies. I normally make a big batch and add them to meals throughout the week. You can throw them into pasta sauces, soups, salads, stir-frys, veggie bakes and casseroles.

They’re one of the most versatile foods on the planet!

This is one of my favorite, simple bean recipes for Squash and Black Bean Tacos.

Got a favorite bean recipe? Tell me about it or link up below. 

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