How to learn to love beans

This is the guide I wish I had when I went vegetarian. Because OH how I struggled with the legumes.

My first encounter with legumes, other than white beans in chili, was not a happy meeting.

Green lentils. No hint of a spice. As some sort of side dish? Shudders.

Don’t do that. Took me literally years to recover.

It’s actually not THAT complicated, there’s basically two things to it:

ONE. Buy canned and/or frozen.

There is one simple reason for this: if you’re unfamiliar with beans and/or lentils you’re not going to know what they’re supposed to look/taste like. If you start out buying canned/frozen beans/lentils you’ll learn, which will be immensely helpful if you want to start cooking them yourself. Which I personally think is a bit overkill, even if it’s something I do. I suppose it’s good for the environment, your personal finances and ehm, if you need something to do Saturday mornings? To make you feel you’ve accomplished something over the weekend?

And supposedly, if you struggle to digest beans, canned beans is a better option.

TWO. Start with the easy ones

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Some of them require less practice than others; this is a list of 4 of the easy ones, including examples of what to do with them.

Red lentils

This was probably my first love. The flavor isn’t overpowering, they more or less just add a bit of a crunch. Who doesn’t love a bit of crunch?

One of my go-to dishes for the longest time was just throwing together some rice, red lentils, scallions, red and yellow pepper and cucumber, and then dressing it with bit of olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. And when I could be bothered, sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.

Black beans

This is obvious, isn’t it? Black bean burrito bowl. Black beans, cucumber, a nice tomato, bit of corn, some avocado, add salsa and couscous. What more could you possibly need?

If you want a recipe, I would say head over to Minimalist Baker; she has some of the best ideas for food. And it’s simple too!

Edamame

Ah the edamame! Or soy bean, if you want to be less fancy. The nicest green color, bit of a crunch, goes really well with Asian inspired dishes (i.e. stuff you stick wasabi in). It’s also got an excellent protein-calorie ratio (i.e. lots of protein for few calories). I.e. makes it easy to make your meals protein-packed, if that is something you want.

Defrosts quicker than any other bean which is a bonus.

For me, this love story started out with a lazy sushi bowl. Basically, you cook brown rice, stick in the soy beans when its done to let them defrost for a minute, add some cucumber, shredded nori sheets, avocado and pickled ginger.

For spices! Mix sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and wasabi. Top with sesame seeds.

There are lots of version of this bowl; if you haven’t a lazy vegan sushi bowl in your life, you need to get to it! My version is probably based on this recipe, which used to be available on some other site back in the day. Yes well. Not important.   

Great white beans

There’s nothing the great white doesn’t go with. Had this been by first encounter with beans, I’d gone vegan right away.

I think it’s a consistency thing. That, and they work real well with pasta and greens. This is what I usually do: great white beans, pasta, pesto, asparagus and zucchini. 

Fry asparagus and zucchini in a bit of olive oil and garlic, cook the pasta and when it’s done and drained, add pesto and beans. For some additional texture you could add fresh veggies, e.g. leafy greens, and/or aubergine puree, or tomatoes. Olives is another option. To make it look nice if nothing else.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

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