Legumes - benefits, preparation and cooking

Why should you eat legumes..

Excellent source of protein
Natural source fibre
Low in fat
No cholesterol
Healthy substitute to meat for vegetarian
Most varieties provide half our daily folate requirements
A good source of phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and selenium
Contain Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), B5 and B6
Rich in Antioxidants
Low Glycemic Index

Legumes are complex carbohydrates which are slowly digested and absorbed. The slow release of glucose and energy from legumes is beneficial in regulating blood glucose levels. A diet rich in legumes has shown to help reduce blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure and regulate bowel function.


How to prepare legumes...

In a large bowl or pot, cover your legumes with room-temperature water. Cover and leave out on the bench for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Or if you a low on time and just need to soften your legumes for cooking, try this quick soak method...bring a pot of water to the boil, add your legumes (so they are just covered), and return to boil for 2-3 minutes. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour

Why should you soak legumes...

Dried beans, peas and lentils require soaking in room-temperature water to rehydrate them before cooking, and cook evenly and completely. This allows for shorter cooking times, and preserves the most nutrients, so you get the benefits of all the proteins, vitamins and minerals in the beans and maximize their food value. Soaking legumes has also shown to minimize their gas, by removing the indigestible complex sugars (oligosaccharides) from the outer coating of the beans.
Another tip... add a piece of seaweed or kombu to the soaking water or while cooking and this further prevents any of those nasty gas effects from legumes!
Note: split peas or beans do not require soaking.


Cooking legumes...

After soaking, rinse your legumes thoroughly. Return to their pot and cover with three times their volume of water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer gently stirring occasionally until tender. Cooking time depends on the bean but around 45 minutes is usual. Add more water if necessary so the beans are always covered.


Types of legumes...

Here are the different kinds of beans, peas and lentils which we sell at Honest to Goodness and their common culinary uses to help you out!


Adzuki Beans...

Adzuki beans hold their shape when cooked. Great for soups, Japanese & Chinese dishes and make a delicious red paste. Adzuki Beans...


Black Eyed Beans...

Also known as Black-eyed peas, these hold their shape when cooked. Great in salads, casseroles and fritters, and traditionally used in Southern dishes. Black Eyed Beans...


Black Turtle Beans...

These beans hold their shape when cooked, and are great in soups, stews, rice dishes and Latin American cuisines. Black Turtle Beans...


Black Beluga Lentils...

The lentils are a creamy colour underneath the skin and have a strong, earthy flavour. Black lentils hold their shape when cooked, and are great in Indian cooking, salads, burger patties or mixed with couscous. Organic Black Beluga Lentils...


Borlotti Beans...

These beans hold their shape when cooked, and are great for rice dishes, salads or Mediterranean soups. Borlotti Beans...


Cannellini Beans...

These beans hold their shape when cooked, and are traditionally used in Italian cooking in pasta, salads, and soups or as a side dish. Cannellini Beans...


Channa Dhal...

These baby split chickpeas hold their shape when cooked. Their nutty flavour makes them the perfect base to any Indian Dhal. Channa Dhal...


Chickpeas...

Chickpeas hold their shape when cooked. Great to use in salads, casseroles, minestrone soup, Spanish and Indian dishes, or to make hummus! Organic Chickpeas...


French Green Lentils...

These are your most common lentil, also known as Puy Lentils. A delicate peppery flavoured lentil which holds its shape when cooked, perfect addition to any salad! Organic French Green Lentils...


Green Lentils Whole...

These whole lentils hold their shape when cooked. They are full of flavour and add fabulous texture to salads. Organic Green Lentils Whole...


Lima Beans...

When cooked, lima beans are quite soft and won't hold their shape well if roughly handled. Great in casseroles, soups, or salads. Lima Beans...


Mung Beans...

These beans tend to go mushy when cooked, regularly used in Indian and Asian cuisines for soups, casseroles or curries. Mung Beans...


Moong Dhal...

This dhal cooks quickly and breaks down easily. Deliciously creamy and smooth in soups, stews, casseroles and dhals. Moong Dhal...


Navy Beans...

This variety of kidney beans do not break up when cooked. Commonly used for casseroles and baked beans! Navy beans...


Pinto Beans...

These beans hold their shape when cooked. They are fabulous for Mexican dishes or mixed with white or navy beans to make falafel. Pinto Beans...


Red Lentils Whole...

These lentils break down and go mushy when cooked. Commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes and perfect for purees or to add some thickness to dishes. Organic Red Lentils Whole...


Red Kidney Beans...

Hold their shape well when cooked. Fabulous in stews, chilli dishes or salads. Red Kidney Beans...


Split Lentils...

These lentils cook quickly and do not hold their shape well making them perfect for curries, purees and soups! Organic Red Split Lentils...


Split Peas...

Split peas come in a range of colours, and tend to go mushy when cooked making them great for stews, soups, dhals and curries. Organic Green Split Peas, Organic Yellow Split Peas...