Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Why I love legumes

I do I do I do. Many of those close to me have mentioned that they have never met anyone who loves legumes like I do, and I'm not even a vegetarian ( though that love came in handy when Olivia decided to jump on the meat free bandwagon. There is always something for her to eat!) And I buy my beans dry. Sometimes when I tell people this they look at me like I am doing something mysterious and difficult. I'm not. If you can read English or in most bags' cases, Spanish, you can prepare dried beans.
Beans are very, very good for you. This article in healthcastle outlines some of the many health benefits of beans: http://www.healthcastle.com/beans_benefits.shtml
They are dirt cheap, giving lie to the concept that "It costs more to eat healthy". Maybe if you are comparing organic broccoli to $1 hamburgers, but compare the burgers to the beans. You can get days of low fat, high fibre protein for that $1.
My basic format:
Put some beans in your crockpot. No more than 1/3 full. Put in enough water to cover twice again. Cook all day at low. If I am making frijoles, I will add cumin and chopped jalapeno at the beginning of the cooking. Never salt your beans at the beginning of cooking, it will make them tough and increase the cooking time.
For my frijoles: Add garlic and salt to the beans in the crock pot. Mash with a bean masher or stick blender. That's it. Really.
For my hummus: prepare garbanzos as above. Drain, reserving cooking water. Add 1/2 head garlic, juice of two lemons, half a bunch either parsley or cilantro and salt. Puree in food processor, adding cooking water a TBL at a time if needed.