Thanks to your sweet, encouraging reactions to posts one and two of this series, I’m back with a third. And for the bonus section – we are talking about beans! This is a topic I get written about pretty often. With questions like: fresh or canned? how do you cook them? what do you soak them in first? why a pressure cooker? etc. So hopefully I can knock a few of those out for you below. I also get asked about cooking grains, and plan to share my methods in a future non-recipes post too.
The first section below is another grid of meals I enjoyed this week. As always, my focus daily is on consuming whole plant based meals that aren’t too fussy or hard on the wallet. In order to keep things real with you, I’m sharing mostly breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Why no dinner? Truthfully, I’m still enjoying the dinners mentioned in my previous two posts of this series. Lots of bean + grain bowls piled with my favorite summer veggies every night. I hope you enjoy these small shares and are encouraged that a plant based lifestyle can be filled with flavor and variety while sticking to the simplest superfoods of them all: fruits, vegetables, starches, beans, and grains.
Lastly, I have something exciting to share with you today! I finally finished putting together my newest resource page: Kitchen Equipment, which can now be found under the ‘resources’ section in my sidebar here on the site. I wanted to open up my cupboards to you and show all of the pieces of equipment that keep my kitchen ticking. I hope you enjoy perusing it, if even just for kicks, and that it may help you when shopping around in the future!
Thank you for making my job such a blast, I adore you guys.
E A T S
I’ve been trading my morning smoothie a few days a week for a jar of chocolate milk oats. I put a half a cup to three quarters cup of rolled oats in a jar, cover it by an inch with plant milk (a mix of almond and soy), add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a good drizzle of maple syrup, stir it together and let it sit overnight. I enjoy this before going for my walk in the morning, and typically have a banana when I get home (before my workout). Super simple and reminds me a lot of cold cereal.
For a post workout snack I’ve been drawn to either a salad or something sweet potato based. The baked sweet potato above is one I halved and filled with a simple chickpea mash of mustard and fresh herbs. The small salad that I always have ingredients on hand for has a base of sweet greens, topped with quinoa, beets (steamed and chilled), diced avocado, lemon juice, and black pepper.
I enjoyed this larger lunch salad a few days last week. Its a mix of sweet greens, thinly shredded purple cabbage, diced cucumber, watermelon, chipotle farro (working on the seasoning blend), with a drizzle of a cool ranch sauce I’ve also been developing to bring you here (hopefully) soon. This was surprisingly filling and left me feeling totally satisfied – ticking all of the boxes: sweet, spicy, crispy, crunchy, and creamy.
For an afternoon snack you’ll find me this summer first and foremost going for my quart-sized jars of chilled drinks in the fridge. The first is a lemon water I make fresh for myself each day. The second is a batch of cold brewed peppermint green tea. Once I’m hydrated I give myself a little time and then go for a snack. Toast is most popular, and I really loved this one above. It’s base is my standard hummus recipe (chickpeas + garlic + lemon juice + s&p + water) blended with grilled sweet corn kernels, ground chipotle, and smoked paprika. (Thanks to Jeanine for this recipe inspiration.) I topped the spread with fresh basil leaves and a nice, thick slice of juicy tomato. A few cracks of black pepper finished it off, and it was so dang good.
(I’ll bring more dinners to you next time, promise – xx.)
C O O K I N G – B E A N S
Below is the step by step method I follow for cooking my beans. It’s not unique to me, or anything really special outside of yielding really easily digested beans that are creamy – not chalky. My method uses my pressure cooker, the only way I’ve been able to properly cook creamy beans. The stovetop has just never worked for me, plus I love how quickly they cook this way too. But of course, feel free to use a pot on your stove and simmer until soft if you prefer/need to.
I’m using a stovetop pressure cooker. Adjust my method depending on the model of pressure cooker you are using, making sure to follow it’s instructions if different from mine.
M Y – P R O C E S S
STEP 1 Purchase dried beans. Either in bulk from the store, or by a favorite brand (see examples on my pantry page).
STEP 2 Pour the desired amount of dried beans into a bowl – sized so they only fill the container halfway.
STEP 3 Add a splash of apple cider vinegar, and fill the entire bowl with filtered water. Let sit for 12 to 24 hours.
STEP 4 Rinse and drain the soaked beans. Place the beans in the pot of a pressure cooker.
STEP 5 Add a 1 inch piece of kombu seaweed, and cover the beans by 2 inches with filtered water.
STEP 6 Bring to a boil, secure the lid, bring to high pressure, reduce stovetop heat to low, and let cook for 20 minutes (adjusting stovetop heat as needed to maintain high pressure).
STEP 7 Remove the pot from the stove and let the cooker fully release it’s pressure before removing the lid.
STEP 8 Toss the piece of kombu seaweed (can compost), drain the beans, and transfer to heatproof glass containers. Cover with filtered water, seal tightly, and let cool on the counter before refrigerating.
FREEZING NOTE If looking to freeze a portion of the beans, let them chill fully in the fridge before transferring to the freezer. Make sure to use freezer safe containers, these are my personal favorites. Leave an inch of space for expansion between the lid and the liquid/beans too.
EXCEPTION #1 I soak the chickpeas in plain water, absent of apple cider vinegar, now thanks to a wonderful reader who tipped me off in the comments below about it’s effects on hardening the beans. Although my chickpeas cooked through before, they are by far softer without the ACV in the soaking liquid – therefore I recommend leaving it out.
EXCEPTION #2 I do not soak or pressure cook red lentils. Those I cook from dry in a small sauce pot following the packages directions. In a slow cooker they tend to fall to mush, which is fine for soups, but not for pilafs or other desired uses.
F A Q S
Why apple cider vinegar when soaking?
Soaking beans in an acidic solution helps to break down the phytic acid. While I do believe phytic acid is health promoting as well, I try to mediate the amount I’m exposed to by breaking it down a bit this way. It can also help with those having difficulty digesting the starch in beans at first, while working up your gut’s tolerance.
What’s with the kombu seaweed?
Kombu is rich in nutrients, like iodine, and helps break down some of the harder to digest starches in beans. A nice boost in flavor with added nutrients and digestibility, I’m a big fan.
How long do fresh beans last in the fridge?
Most sources online tell me five days, ours can last a week – but are usually gone before that time.
How long does it take a batch of beans to defrost from the freezer to the fridge?
It depends on the size of your freezing container, but ours typically take around 24 to 36 hours to totally defrost.
Why do you fill your containers of cooked beans with fresh water?
The addition of water gets rid of the air between the beans, which means they will last longer/spoil slower. It also helps the beans keep their shape, necessary for when freezing otherwise they tend to turn to mush.