Legumes – the 3Es with beans (part II)
Legumes – the 3Es with beans (part II)

Legumes – the 3Es with beans (part II)

Now for the hands-on 3Es and fun part.

Beans are starkly colourful or at least contrasting (eg black beans, avocado, tomato and sweetcorn salad), so versatile, taking on whatever Italian, Spanish, Mexican (chipotle paste), Moroccan (harrissa paste) or Indian flavours you cook them in, or ingredients you combine them with, or add after, before smashing, mashing, and putting them on toast (poshly named “tartine,” or corstini or “bruchetta” and explained by no other than Martha Stewart), this versatility elevated when the beans are bought dried! The beans are “carriers” of flavour. Then there are dips, fritters and pancakes, bean flours, pastas… and more.


I was reading Tami Hardeman’s “Power Pulses,” to get ahead and listening to ZOE podcast and latterly I found Dr Rupy Aujla and his LEARN page. In sum, legumes and beans are nutritional powerhouses, versatile and affordable (dried beans even more so). Thousands of beans, flavour combinations, beans store and freeze well, reheat really well, if not better second time around, and contribute amazing leftovers. Beans are a prime candidate for the 3Ls, “longer, larger, liquid” batch-cooking in the slow cooker. Affordable in their own right however, you can replace, trade or supplement other, more expensive ingredients, often meat and fish, and potentially never know. Comparatively, according to my quick calculations, the Black beans I bought recently were nearly 8x better value than 5% minced beef from our local supermarket.

On the million dollar bean question: Tinned vs dried – it has been reported to death. In short, bought dried, you can see your beans, have more control over flavours and textures and avoid the salt. Tinned beans (although previously dried) convenience. Let’s leave that there.


My first exploration was (no soak) Black beans cooked in vegetable stock, with garlic and onion (my thanks to Richard Dare).

  • Smashed with a little of the liquid on home-baked dark rye toast (toasted from the freezer meaning a 40% lower lower blood sugar response) for lunch
    • The hearty texture and earthy flavour paired really well with the dark rye toast.
    • I had the same beans three days later and the aromatics had really developed, the stock had thickened and the beans were significantly more delicious
  • Added to a salad of avocado, sweetcorn, red chilli, fresh tomato (black, green, yellow and red) and cider vinegar with my enchiladas
  • And there is still some left from the large handful (6oz) of Black beans I weighed out to cook

My second exploration was to soak and cook Borlotti, Lima/Butter and Cannellini beans in chicken stock this time, garlic and onion. I am keen to try them together as a bean salad and also to compare the different bean flavours and textures – on toast. The most useful general guide I found was here.

Next I plan to try Ahead of Thymes “easy Lima beans.” A one pot lima/butter beans recipe with with fired onion, garlic, turmeric added to chicken stock and Italian seasoning. Patience is key. Cook and rest the beans letting the flavours combine and the creaminess develop.

On the convenience of tinned beans (and pulses) and the 3Ls. I have been browsing multi / pressure cookers to significantly reduce cooking times. Beans cooked in a pressure cooker save one-third of the time and some even faster eg Black beans, 60 mins simmer or 9-11 minutes in the pressure cooker. Also, now with digital pressure cookers – it is set them and forget – done.

19.08.23 These beans, made with fresh and a little powdered turmeric were stunning on toast! With knowledge of the improving bean texture and liquid, I expected these beans to be even better reheated. I was not disappointed.


With thousands of bean varieties, bean combos and flavours to experiment with, I am starting with my four bean Lidl haul, adding dried chickpeas as I have already experimented with oven dry-roasted and flavoured chickpeas.

  • Black – Mild and earthy, heavy-ish and meaty
  • Lima/Butter – White, nutty, sweet, and buttery, smooth, silky and creamy
  • Cannellini – White, nutty and earthy, tender but still semi-firm
  • Borlotti/cranberry – mild and nutty, soft and a little creamy
  • Chickpeas – nutty and tend but still firm – 2kg £3.50 at Tesco (or 5kg of cooked about 4x saving)
    • I have also bought some sesemae seeds for hummus
    • It is Channa Masala I am looking forward to! A rested and twice cooked Channa Masala at that.


Beans-on-dark-rye-toast (tartine) is a great way to try these different bean flavours and textures, smashed and loosened with a little reduced cooking liquid.

  • Black – great with a little lemon juice and second day, bulking out an enchilada – (8/10)
  • Lima/Butter – with roasted tomatoes, rosemary, Parmesan and olive oil – (9/10) ***Winner***
  • Cannellini – Parmesan, lemon juice and olive oil – was surprisingly good (9/10)
  • Borlotti/cranberry – roasted mushrooms – these paired well with the dark rye toast (9/10)

Next, beans as THE dish, as with “easy lima beans,” or the classic combo of beans and rice maybe. Lastly, I plan to explore bean and spice paste / herb combos and cooking my own beans for x10 mixed beans recipes.

Tip: if you plan to reheat the beans, cook firm. When reheated, they will “finish cooking.”

Sure enough, there is plenty of leftovers from four x 60 grams portions of beans and I was stuffed.

Adding more dried beans to a whole-food and plant-based diet experiments

  • Liquid – stock, wine, beer and aromatics and herbs,
    • A tsp of miso paste at the end adds aalty soya sauce taste (a fermented food)
  • Added to the dish (soup, salad or greens) as a filling
  • As a dip – beyond hummus, eg black bean, chipotle and lime
  • Fritters and pancakes (I have tried sweetcorn and smoked paprika fritter)
  • Go 50:50. Adding beans to extend the other possibly more expensive ingredients. Also halving the calories of that 50% half!
    • Salisbury’s are promoting “Beans to beef. Chickpea to chicken. Lentils to lamb.”
    • Adding cooked black or pinto beans to tacos, burritos and burgers.
    • As mash, or mashed in with the mash – it is predominately white beans that are combined
  • As flours and pastas, as desserts will have to wait

Today I made fast flat breads to have with the left-over beans and tartine toppings. It ended with all three children at the table, talking, eating and exploring flat bread and less so, the left over beans.

Storage is another consideration.

  • Soaked beans – in a sealed and airtight container: 2-4 days in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer.
  • Cooked beans – in a sealed and airtight container: 2-4 days in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer.

Baking with Beans: The Aquafaba Trend

Apparently, you can bake with beans.

Also, “aquafaba,” the liquid in canned beans, can be used as a quick substitute for eggs (in baked products). It can also be whipped into stiff peaks to make meringue or macaroons. Crazy – who knew.

On the benefits of regularly eating legumes and beans that contain phytochemicals – wellness and mental benefits are reported here Dingeo et al. (2020) and Noruzi et al. (2022).

Curated Resources


  1. Pingback: Legumes – starting with beans (part I) – Edventures

  2. Pingback: Day #93 Why “whole-foods” and “plant based” – but “not only” – Edventures

Leave a Reply