legumes

Butter Beans simple Italian style recipe

Pulses have found their way regularly in our weekly dinners and compared to our childhood boring brown and white beans, cooking with spices and herbs sure brightens our palate and lifts up the taste for more. Recycling in the house by reusing various glass jars filled with all kinds of dried beans in plain sight, in stead of storing in the cupboard makes it invisible and forgotten easily. Now I am in the habit of quickly grabbing a bean variety and letting it soak overnight to a maximum of two days if cooking plans changes or I prepare them and store them in the fridge or freezer. For example making re-fried beans recipe for breakfast burrito’s, dip, salads or as a side dish.

I’ve just re-stocked buying soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, black-eyed beans and while at it, brought home a bag of butter beans as new addition. Haven’t prepared these creamy whites in a long time, the butter bean is a well-rounded source of nutrition, rich in protein, fiber, iron and B vitamins. Hardly any fat and all these nutrients combined will provide you with everything you need to lose weight, build muscle and feel energetic.

“Lima beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other legumes. In addition to lowering cholesterol, lima beans’ high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, lima beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. You may already be familiar with beans’ fiber and protein, but this is far from all lima beans have to offer.” (source:whfoods.org)

Butter Beans aka Lima beans

Dried butter beans or Lima beans

For dried beans how-to cooking instructions click on the link for instructions.

Style variations:

With the Italian style recipe here you can easily vary by using Chinese cooking wine, Chinese (or Thai) soybean sauce, Chinese mushroom soy sauce, fresh or dried peppers or other oriental spices as garam masala the variations are endless. Garnish with coriander, spring onion instead for an Asian finish.

Butter Beans Italian style

Butter bean simple Italian style recipe

More Butter Beans nutritional information and links:

Dried beans how-to

Dried beans how to:

Beans have become a staple ingredient in our weekly meal plans, a sensible choice since beans are low-glycemic, high-fiber, high-protein, and packed with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By adding foods with a low glycemic index in our diet, you will have an extra boon since our body will digest these foods slowly, you will feel full for a longer period while eating less calories without feeling hungry. Even better

The type of bean influences the cooking time but also the type of cooking vessel; slow cooker or pressure cooker. This is a general rule of thumb in how-to start with dried bean cooking instructions, as for the cooking times click on the highlighted guidelines links for more information on type of beans. For more information on Low GI foods and Glycemic index click the highlighted link as a valuable sources.

Pre-soaking beans:

  1. Using dried beans is easy for each cup of dried beans use three cups of water. There are two methods of pre-soaking the beans;
  2. Boil the beans for 2 minutes, remove the pan from the heat source cover and let it stand for two hours.
  3. The standard method is to simply soak the beans in water for a minimum of eight hours or overnight. With a maximum of two day and cleansing the water in between on the kitchen counter or depending weather circumstances in the refrigerator to prevent the beans from fermenting.

Cooking Beans:

  • Regardless of the method you choose; drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water before cooking.
  • Use caution when pressure cooking because of the loose skins. Always use oil with these bean and you can place a rack or paper kitchen towel to help keep loose skins from floating up.
  • Tip when using  Fava and broad beans for the first time; blanch beans in boiling water for a minute then plunge them into cold water to peel off the thick brown skin before cooking. Or buy packages labled “skinless” to avoid this time-consuming chore.
  • A quick overview of informative webpage links for pressure cooking times, guidelines and tips for cooking beans;
  1. Hip pressure cooking times
  2. Recipesource Basic guidelines for pressure cooking dry beans
  3. Pulse Canada Guide to cooking beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas
  4. Healthy Highways Pressure cooking guidelines

Basic cooking recipe for preparing beans is adding flavors such as onion, bay leaf, garlic even dried peppers and more to the cooking water in a crock pot for slow cooking method or using a pressure cooker for speed. You could even add a chicken or vegetable stock tablet to give it a quick twist. After cooking you can simply add a good splash of olive oil and serve them straight away as a plain side dish.

Butter Beans aka Lima beans

Dried Butter beans or Lima Beans

 

Blackbeans Jumble Recipe

Blackbeans Jumble, our Monday night one-pot dinner creation influenced by Creole Jambalaya. The origin of Jambalaya apparently derives from the Provencal which is spoken in the South of France, the word “jambalaia” refers to a mishmash or mix-up. Talking about fusion, diversity and cooking, you definitely will find it in Creole cooking, this cuisine is a living proof of all the descendants of early settlers.

Louisiana Creole cuisine is recognized as a unique style of cooking, which makes use of the “Holy Trinity” (in this case, chopped celery, bell peppers, and onions), but has a great variety of European, French, Caribbean, African, and American influences.

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

La Chinata smoked paprika powder and gumbo mix spice powder

Pulses and legumes

I love one-pot dishes, mixing ingredients and blending of spices they are ideal to finish up whatever vegetable is leftover on my kitchen counter. Adding pulses and legumes to your diet is very healthy since beans are considered protein-rich super food. Beans are low-glycemic, high-fiber, high-protein and packed with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Not to mention very convenient to cook and to add to your weekly meal plan. Beans help you feel fuller for a longer period of time and as a bonus helps to lower your weight.

Double value for health and grocery shopping budget to buy dried beans instead of cans or jars, a bag of beans is very economic, because it triples in quantity. One dried cup yields 2½­- 3½­ cups soaked beans, enough to feed a family of 4-6 persons. Just soak a cup overnight (1-2 days max, refreshing water in between) to let them well double in size, transfer to a pressure cooker and depending the bean and quantity you only have to cook 7-10 min tops and the beans are ready to be used in dishes or as ingredient of a recipe. For an overview of beans with image and description click here.

Black eyed beans

Black eyed beans

Digestion aid

Not everyone has the same experience but it is a well known side effect of eating beans resulting in flatulence, because beans contain raffinose which is a starch that is poorly digested due to a lack of the enzyme galactosidase. In aid to reduce increased intestinal gas production, there are several ways to avoid bean flatulence;

  1. Pre-soak overnight up to 24 hour, rinse in between (48 hours max otherwise it will ferment instead!) is a must and cook them well, the beans must be entirely soft without any hard bits.
  2. Add a knife tip – pinch of baking soda to the soak water of dried beans before cooking, this will significantly decreases the content of the raffinose family of sugars.
  3. From our time in India, were lentils are staple food we learned from Indian cooking to add asfoetida aka ‘hing’ as a digestive aid, this little tub is on our spice rack among Indian spices. In many Indian recipes it includes turmeric and ginger both are digestives spices as well.
  4. Other spices are cloves, cinnamon, and garlic are potent in reducing gas.
  5. According to a Huffington Post article, adding a piece of seaweed (Kombu or Wakame) will make the beans more digestible. Seaweed is another well known power food and it adds an extra depth as part of flavoring the beans as well aid for digestion 

Chili con Carne is a well known recipe with kidney or brown beans, Blackbeans Jumble is made with blackeyed beans and this recipe has creole influences but was mainly inspired by leftover greens, the use of spices like smoked paprika powder and cumin makes it interesting. You can add peppers if you like the heat or leave them out, by omitting the meat it will become a full vegan dish.

Blackbeans as comfort food

Blackbeans as comfort food