What should you serve with pinto beans
What you can cook with beans
Preparation and characteristics of the different types of beans
The bean still doesn't get as much attention as other superfoods, perhaps because of its not particularly beautiful appearance, such as kale or avocado. It's extremely rare for someone to rave about their affinity for beans, which I can't explain, as it's no secret that beans are delicious sources of energy.
Beans are high in fiber, folic acid, protein, potassium, iron, and magnesium. They are low in fat and free of cholesterol. They also have a low carbon footprint, which makes them one of the most sustainable sources of protein on earth. As a vegetarian, beans are my salvation to make many dishes more nutritious as they strengthen the stomach, heart and immune system. I try to incorporate beans into my dinner at least twice a week, which isn't difficult given their long shelf life, affordability, and versatility in the kitchen. You can chop them up, bake, fry, spread them, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert - the possibilities are endless.
The question is, what don't we love about beans?
Beans are the contained seeds (in a shell or a shell) of the flowering plant family Fabaceae, which belongs to the legumes, next to lentils, peas and peanuts. In addition to protein and fiber, legumes consist of many minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
The word for bean and its relatives already existed in 950 BC. In West Germanic language. As one of the first cultivated fruits in history, there are over 18,000 types of legumes today, so it's not surprising that beans are prepared in dishes around the world. From the tough and savory bean-rich stews of Brazil to the sweet and creamy red bean paste found in Chinese moon cake. Learn more in the article about some of our favorite beans and recipes so you can familiarize yourself with them. If you want to delve even deeper into the world of beans, check out the article on genetic beans from Mexico.
Dried Beans vs. Canned Beans
Whether dried or canned, all beans are processed in the same way. After the plants germinate, the pods are cut off, dried, washed and finally packaged for consumption. Dried beans are stored, whereas canned beans are additionally blanched, sealed and cooked.
When preparing dried beans, we recommend rinsing them again before cooking. Depending on the type of bean, you can then soak it in cold or room temperature water.
While some beans are soft enough that they don't need to be soaked, all raw beans contain certain carbohydrates that are a drag on our digestive tract. Soaking neutralizes the starch and protects you from stomach ache. Soak hearty beans (black, kidney, garbanzo) overnight so that the skin has enough time to soften. Alternatively, you can speed up the process by bringing water to a boil in a saucepan, adding the beans, then setting the saucepan aside and letting the beans soak for about an hour.
Note that beans soak up liquids like a sponge. One cup of dried beans is boiled on about 3 cups of water. Cooked beans can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 8 months.
Canned foods come in handy when you're short on time and want to save yourself the work of soaking. The bean liquid in many doses is high in sodium. To reduce the content, rinse the beans thoroughly through a sieve - except for chickpeas (garbanzo beans), more on that later.
Our favorite types of beans
All beans are high in protein and fiber, but the dark coating means they contain more antioxidants. Black beans (also known as black turtle beans) contain organic compounds that are believed to improve the nervous system and brain function. Regular consumption of these tender beans can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes and promote healthy bones.
In some parts of America, there is no shortage of beans, such as the black beans in Creole, Caribbean, South American, and Louisiana Cajun dishes. Because of their dense, meaty texture, black beans are also a popular alternative to meat and make a great addition to salads.
Although you can also soak dried black beans using the quick option, soaking them overnight helps them keep their shape. It's best to add the beans to the dish at the end - this way they don't get too soft and keep their texture.
This hearty, slightly sweet bean got its name because of its shape. Although most are familiar with dark red-coated kidney beans, they can also come in a variety of light red, speckled, or white skinned kidney beans - often called cannellini beans. Full of complex carbohydrates and vitamins, kidney beans stand out from other carbohydrates because of their lower glycemic index, which helps the blood sugar level to stabilize.
Kidney beans retain their structure even after prolonged cooking. They go great with stews and soups. We recommend simmering kidney beans, as in the Tuscan bean soup, so that they have enough time to absorb the individual flavors.
Tip: Raw kidney beans contain high levels of phytohemagglutinin, a toxin that can damage the liver. If you're using dried beans, change the water every few hours and rinse the beans thoroughly after soaking them.
Since I grew up in a Sino-Vietnamese family, preparing soybeans in all possible forms was commonplace for me. From frothed soy milk to silky blocks of tofu and thin bean sprouts, these legumes, no bigger than a coin, shouldn't be underestimated for their versatility.
Soybeans, affectionately known as "meat of the field" or "boneless meat", were first grown in China over 3,000 years ago, although soy production only began in the west in the 20th century. Today the soybean is the most widely produced legume in the world. Perhaps the reason for this lies in the different ways it is prepared: soybeans can be boiled, fermented or swollen to make products like tofu, tempeh and miso - to name a few.
From a nutritional point of view, soybeans outperform all other beans in that they are the only legume containing a complete protein. That means they contain all 9 essential amino acids that are needed to build and repair muscles. Soybeans are also one of the few sources of isoflavones, a compound that helps promote bone health and lower low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) while increasing lipoproteins (good cholesterol).
Tip: Soybeans take the longest to get too soft.
How many times I've stood in the supermarket and been struck by the selection of white beans. From the small white oval white beans (also called pearl haricot, Boston or white pea bean) to cannellini (white kidney bean) it is almost impossible to tell one from the other. The good news is that, despite the endless options, all white beans have practically the same properties, except for some subtleties in taste, meaning they can be substituted for another without any problem.
High levels of iron and potassium and many anti-inflammatory properties are the natural diuretic of white beans. We love their velvety texture when they're baked or finely ground for dips and spreads.
The bean can be found in many forms (I'm thinking of hummus and falafel), these little balls are buttery and nutty at the same time. They are rich in vitamins K, C, B6 and choline, which is important for our sleep, and are also anti-inflammatory. Given their light roasted aromas and creamy interior, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) go well with curries, salads and as a dietary supplement to smoothies, pastries and spreads.
There are broadly two types of chickpeas: Desi and Kabuli. Desi are small, dark, and harvested in India, while Kabuli are slightly larger, lighter, and are typically found in Mediterranean dishes. For a more complete overview of chickpeas, check out our guide to chickpeas here.
Tip: Aquafaba, the liquid in canned chickpeas, should not be disposed of. You can use it the next time you bake or when you feel like chocolate mousse.
Other beans we love
These moss-colored beans with their soft structure and sugar-sweet coating are very well known in Chinese and Indian cuisine. They're an excellent source of essential amino acids, phosphorus, magnesium, and a variety of vitamins B. Unlike other beans, mung beans are tender enough to eat raw, but they can also be boiled or swollen. In fact, the sprout beans contain even more antioxidants and amino acids than expected, and their crispy, juicy texture makes them a popular summer snack or addition to soups and sauces.
Dried Borlotti beans (also called cranberry beans) can be recognized from afar by their red-speckled skin, which disappears when cooked. Loaded with calcium and potassium, these soft-skinned legumes can be tossed into a pot and cooked within half an hour. It is at home in Italian and Portuguese cuisine and tastes like chestnuts and a good mix of savory and sweet.
In southern America, eating cowpeas with cabbage vegetables on New Year's Day brings good luck, as the ivory-colored beans are said to symbolize coins, while the dark, leafy cabbage stands for dollar bills. The beans, characterized by their center with black eyes and fine wrinkles, offer a rich amount of manganese, copper and folic acid.
Like Borlotti, cowpeas have soft skin so they don't need extra soaking. To bring out the smoky, earthy flavors of this bean, flavor it with Cajun spices like cayenne, smoked paprika, garlic, and onions.
Fun Fact: Fava beans were typically served at funeral services to commemorate victims in ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician responsible for the formula a² + b² = c² (how did it go on?), Even refused to eat fava beans because he believed their flesh-like texture was the souls of the dead wore.
Another fact, while not nearly as fun, is that preparing fava beans takes a long time. After removing the beans from the rack, they must be blanched and the outer shell removed from each individual bean. It's a procedure, but it pays off when you get a taste of these starchy, full-bodied beans. Fava beans marinated with olive oil and favorite herbs in combination with rice or put the beans in a stew.
Would a green bean taste as delicious under a different name - snap bean, string bean, or haricot vert? With more than 130 varieties of green beans, these legumes are a popular side dish when the leaves of the trees are slowly turning green, the air is warmer and the holidays are just around the corner - it's time for Green Bean Casserole. In addition to fiber and magnesium, green beans are also rich in vitamins A, C and K, which are responsible for strengthening the immune system, eyesight and bones.
When you're shopping, be sure to purchase bright green beans with a smooth, tough surface that have small brown spots or bruises.
Vanilla extract, the dominant taste in many baked goods, candles and perfumes, comes from the vanilla pod. Although this does not come from the bean family (vanilla pods come from orchids), we couldn't resist placing this centuries-old, wonderfully tooth-shaped flavoring agent here.
A labor-intensive plant that requires meticulous hand processing - including hand pollination in some places - it's no wonder that only 1% of vanilla consumption worldwide comes from the bean itself. Even so, these thin, fragrant brown pods are easy to find in the spice section of the supermarket, and it's worth knowing all of the parts of the bean that can be used. Throw a split vanilla bean into your pudding to add depth, or scrape the beans into your next cookie dough for a flavorful after-work snack.
Let's start with these delicious bean recipes:
Published on March 16, 2019
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