There are so many reasons why beans such as chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, cannellini etc are important to your diet and nutrition yet so many people avoid them out of fear of flatulence or that they’re not sufficiently delivering the nutrition they need. The latter is so far wrong and flatulence can be reduced / avoided if you learn how to do beans well.
Try these key tips for loving a life with beans:
- If you’re new to beans, don’t go hell for leather, swapping all your traditional proteins to beans in one hit. Transition slowly. This will help with digestion, flatulence (if you have it, not everyone does) and your experience with beans from day one.
- When cooking beans team them with cooked vegetables too. A gentle cooking process such as steaming eases digestion of the fibre rich foods.
- If cooking from raw, ensure you rinse them and then simply cook them with a piece of kombu to tenderise them.
- If eating them tinned, rinse the tinned beans really well prior to use.
- When enjoying them cold, squeeze lemon or lime over the top or team with a portion of papaya, kiwi or pineapple which are rich in digestive enzymes and help to break down proteins. Beans such as lentils, chickpeas, mung, kidney beans and their friends are the richest plant based sources of amino acids – eat them!
- Finally, if you’re starting to make more swaps from meat to beans find flavours that you love in your meat dishes – curries, moroccan stews, tamari ginger stir fry, teriyaki, miso, mexican spice (I’m sure you have a stack more!) and translate them to your bean dishes. Often people try to eat them plain and enjoy them, which you can of course, but they’re far more delicious with flavours like these.
To get you started, and quick, try my super quick and easy Chickpea and Zucchini Curry to kick off the week. Amazingly wholesome and satisfying teamed with quinoa or brown rice.
CHICKPEA ZUCCHINI CURRY
Gluten free : Dairy Free : Vegan
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 small (75g) brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons madras curry powder
1x 400ml tin organic light coconut milk
good pinch chilli flakes or to taste
1x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained or 300g cooked
1 medium (200g) zucchini, cut into small chunks
1/4 bunch coriander, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
1/2 small head (120g) broccoli, cut into florets, stalks finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas
To serve: 1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice, cashew nuts, Indian chutney/ kasaundi / curry kraut if handy,
In a small saucepan heat coconut oil, and add garlic and onion. Place the lid on and sauté on medium heat for 3 mintues. Add curry powder, chilli flakes and a pinch of sea salt plus the top layer of the coconut milk (this will be more fatty in substance) and saute, stirring for 1 minute so the spice becomes fragrant. Add chickpeas, zucchini, coriander stalks, broccoli stalks and the remainder of the coconut milk tin, cover to bring to the boil then uncover and reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli florets and peas and cook a further 3 minutes so they retain their green colour and a bit of crunch in the broccoli. Serve with quinoa or brown rice, coriander leaves, cashew nuts, chutney and extra chilli if desired.