Beans are a great source of protein and fiber in the vegan diet. Lots of different varieties, and recently Whole Foods has started to carry heirloom beans adding a whole new range of flavors and textures.
You can buy beans precooked in cans, but to be honest, I don’t really like them. Think about it. The beans are cooked, packed into the can, and then they sit on the store shelf or in your pantry for weeks to months before you eat them. And you are surprised that they taste is a little “mushy”? The cans are also heavy and take up storage space.
The preferable alternative is to buy dry beans and cook them yourself. Or, as we often do, cook a batch and freeze them away in zip lock sandwich bags, 2 cups each. Dry beans are available in more varieties, they can be stored for months or even years, and they don’t take up much space. Just be sure to keep the containers sealed you that you don’t get bugs. An easy way to cook beans is to break out that old crock pot slow cooker you have had sitting on a shelf for years. Super easy recipe:
1 lb beans
6 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Set the slow cooker on high, and come back in a few hours. Exactly how long depends on the bean and your preferences for how well done you like them. Adding the baking soda buffers the solution and makes the cooking process much more reliable.
|Chickpeas (aka Garbanzo beans)||5 hrs|
|Kidney beans (including White, Navy, Northern, and Cannellini beans)||3 hrs|
When the beans are done, scoop them out with a slotted spoon are dump the whole batch into a colander. Use what you need, and freeze the rest away. The cooked frozen beans keep for months as long as you seal the bag and keep them from drying out.