How to properly cook legumes/pulses

Does eating legumes cause you to suffer with gas or bloating?

Are you avoiding these delicious bites because you're afraid of the repercussions?

Here's a quick lesson from our experts at Silver and Gold - and a few tips - for properly cooking legumes, also known as pulses, to prevent gas and bloating. 

Legumes, also known as pulses when they're in their dried state, include chickpeas, lentils, and lupins... You may see them at the market and recognize them as black eyed peas, red kidney beans, black beans, pintos, fava beans, split yellow or green peas, and the wide variety of lentils. 

Legumes are a very healthy food to consume, and a great protein alternative to eating meat products. They are a significant source of fiber and dietary minerals, and a high source of resistant starch, which is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine to produce short-chain fatty acids, which are used by intestinal cells for food energy. 

 

Relatively inexpensive, legumes are used in a variety of dishes (such as in our Alkalizing Veggie Bowl, our Black Bean Burgers, and our Mexican Quinoa Chili Pot), and are very adaptable to different tastes. But do you know how to cook them properly?

Most people, if not all, suffer from gas and bloating caused by the proteins in the legumes when they are broken down by our intestinal digestion. This can cause pain, quite severe sometimes, and gas/flatulence which can last for several hours after consumption and digestion. 

 

To avoid this inconvenience, here's how best to prepare and cook them:

How to best prepare canned legumes:

These guys are convenient, but they're very expensive! So when you cook beans and lentils from a can, you're literally paying for the convenience (plus the can, the label, and the company's advertising/marketing). Canned beans are not the healthiest either, and often loaded with salt and preservatives, plus the lining of the can has been shown to leach toxins into the food... Whenever possible, look for the "non BPA" or "BPA free" logo the can!

However, there's something to be said for their ease of cooking, and maybe there's a trade off to buying and eating canned beans – once in a while. If this is the case for you, here's what you can do:

  • Open the can, trying not to disturb the lining (avoid buying cans that are dented)

  • Pour the contents into a strainer, avoiding to scrape the insides with a fork or spoon – best practice is to shake the contents out, and leave the stuck-on food inside to rinse and discard later

  • Rinse the legumes under fresh, running water (hot is best), until you no longer see the foam running under water

  • If time allows, soak the rinsed legumes in a bowl of fresh water for 15 minutes prior to cooking or using

  • Add a pinch of cumin powder to every dish you use legumes! Cumin powder can break through the tough exterior of the legumes, and aids in dissolving some of these sugars that can cause gas and bloating 

How to best prepare dried legumes:

How to cook legumes
How to cook legumes

Dried legumes are best to use whenever possible, as they are relatively inexpensive, and have been dried to preserve all their nutritional goodness. If time allows, such as if you know a day in advance you're going to be cooking them, then opt for dried legumes. Here's how best to cook dried legumes:

  • Place dried legumes in a bowl of fresh water, and rinse thoroughly:

  • Generally, dried legumes will double in size, so if you're looking to cook 1 cup of legumes, then you'll need 1/2 a cup of dried legumes to start with!

  • After rinsing with water, leave dried legumes in the bowl and cover completely with water, leaving an additional 1-1/2" inches of water at the top to allow for rehydration (they will expand in size). 

  • Soak overnight, covering the bowl with a cloth to prevent dust or flies

After soaking overnight:

  • Drain soaked legumes and place in a large pot of water, to cover legumes completely.  Bring the pot to a boil, WATCHING CAREFULLY as they will foam up quickly! (see video above)

  • Immediately drain the boiling legumes using a strainer, and repeat this procedure once again, draining after the balance of the foam dissipates. Rinse legumes out.

  • You will have boiled and drained TWICE, and now you're ready for cooking your legumes!

At this point you will be ready to proceed with your recipe. Don't forget to add a teaspoon of cumin powder to whatever dish you're making - this will further assist in digestion and dissipation of any gas legumes can form. 

Enjoy your delicious recipes! And don't forget to try some of ours as well! 

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