Spilling the Beans
Beans are a great food. Gluten-free, full of protein, cheap and super-healthy, all they need is a good recipe to make them into a hearty meal. Here, a few bean-based dishes we’ve cooked up lately plus some helpful tips.
How to Cook Beans
Rinse and sort: Whether you’re using dried or canned beans, rinsing the beans before you cook or use them is a good idea. If you’re using dried beans, be sure to sift through to make sure any shriveled beans or small stones are removed.
Boil, then simmer: Always drop beans into boiling water, then immediately bring down to a simmer.
Cook with kombu: A staple in macrobiotic cooking and used to add flavor to broths in Japanese cooking, kombu (sold in dried strips at health food stores or Asian supermarkets) contains an enzyme that can help us digest beans. Also, adding a drop of vinegar or lemon to beans once they’re cooked can help with digestion (it also adds flavor).
Cook clean: Wait to add your salt or acid (vinegar or lemon) until after the beans are cooked. Adding to the water while they’re cooking can delay the process.
BPA-free: If you’re using canned, try to find cans that are BPA-free. Eden Organic is a great go-to option and they prepare their beans with kombu.
Cooking times for beans in this week’s recipes:
We tried the recipe with cauliflower in the test kitchen and again with romanesco for the shoot. Both work just as well.
Served stacked or on a platter, these vegan and gluten-free burgers are easier to make than they look.
There was some discussion in the test kitchen on whether to use fresh or canned tomatoes for braising the green beans. After a few trials, we decided fresh is best, keeping the dish a bit lighter. Though we love the simply blanched, French-style green bean preparation, slow-braising them with tomatoes makes for an incredibly tasty and warming preparation. Perfect for going into fall.
Thanks to MARCH in San Francisco for letting us shoot on their beautiful kitchenware in their store.
Photography by Angie Silvy.