This will be a two part post, with part II (a recipe!) to follow. Part I is dedicated to my love of legumes.
Soaking beans and peas is a normal part of my cooking regime. I often plan to cook beans, peas or lentils and so give my self plenty of time in advance to soak them. Depending on the type of legume, the length of suggest soaking time may be as little as an hour, or sometimes as long as over night. There is also another, a favorite in our house, the red lentils which requires no soaking at all.
You can tell a wholesome cook, and a dedicated cook when you open a cupboard and see dried beans, peas and lentils. And it might be only me, but I have noticed that those that love to bake are also often those that are willing to take the time to soak legumes. Soakers and Bakers…..the patient cooks and lovers of slow foods, and those of us that are happiest when the stove and oven are on!
Reasons to eat legumes are many. Legumes are rich in folic acid, copper, iron, and magnesium – four nutrients many of us could use more of in our diets. In addition, dried beans and peas are generally good sources of iron, which is especially helpful for people who don’t eat meat. Let us not forget too, that legumes are an environmentally friendly carbohydrate food source, which is a very good reason to choose them!
Having been a partial or full Vegetarian for over 10 years, I have some great legume recipes to share….so go out and buy some green split peas, put them to soak and come back for the part II of the post, a recipe for yummy and healthy, Vegetarian Split Pea Soup!
Dried Beans, peas and lentils are fun for kids too. I made these piles of legumes in a deep baking sheet and the girls very much enjoyed the colours and textures. It is hard to resist pouring and piling beans, and I like the sound of cascading legumes as the smooth slippery pieces hit each other….putting them all over the floor is oh so inviting!