LEGUMES [dried beans]

A plant that has long seed pods that split on both sides when ripe.

A legume fruit is a simple dry fruit that develops from a simple carpel and usually dehisces [opens along a seam] on two sides.

A common name for this type of fruit is a pod, although the term 'pod' is also applied to a few other fruit types, such as vanilla and radish.

Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soy, and peanuts.

They contain useful amounts of vegetable protein and starch, plus vitamin 'B' and minerals.

Kidney beans, soy beans and chick peas contain saponins that are normally not absorbed while in the intestines; they stick to the cholesterol so that it cannot be metabolized - both are then eliminated together.

Saponins could help to prevent colon cancers in dyking the formation of toxins in bile into cancerous substances in the colon.

It is said that there is a medication, containing saponins, to reduce cholesterol.

There are 13,500 varieties of legumes of all shapes and colours.

Legumes which are very rich in proteins, contain carbohydrates, lots of vitamins and minerals, betacarotene [mostly in darker varieties] and fibres.

Legumes + cereals [excellent with rice] = proteines quality of meat.

Choose intact, smooth beans [except for varieties such as chick peas].

Cook legumes in boiling salted water, just like pasta.

Raw, legumes will keep for up to 1 year in a jar, in a dry, cool environment.

Cooked, legumes will keep for a few days refrigerated, many months frozen.

Just like legumes, string beans and green beans contain 9 to 12 beans per pod.

Chickpeas [Garbanzo Beans]:

Uneven, almost round peas - more or less chewy.

Delicious in mild or hot salsa, in mixed salads; hazelnut taste.

Serve with couscous [semolina] and falafel [Israeli fritter].

It is also possible to roast chickpeas, add salt and eat these chickpeas just like peanuts.

1 cup [250 mL] chickpeas = 5 cups [1.250 mL] water - Soaking time: overnight - Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours.

Kidney Beans:

This kidney shaped bean is the 'king' of the Mexican-style dish 'Chili Con Carne'.

Soft texture and mild in taste, they easily absorb the taste of the dish in which they simmer.

May be canned.

Excellent in salads along with onions, parsley and a mustard dressing.

1 cup [250 mL] kidney beans = 4 cups [1 L] water - Soaking time: overnight - Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours.


There are many varieties of lentils, as red lentils, green lentils and brown lentils [also known as dhal].

Lentils, cheap to buy and low in fat, are a good replacement for meats.

Green lentils are excellent eaten in salads or pureed; cold or hot with chopped parsley, chopped green onion, minced garlic, oil, soy sauce and a little yogurt - soaking time: none, cooking time: 1 hour.

Lima Beans:

A popular flat green bean.

It freezes well.

Can be soaked, using the quick soaking method:

Cover beans with cold water - bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes - soak for 1 hour.

Drain and rinse beans well to get rid of the gas-producing, indigestible sugars.

Pinto Beans:

Medium size, velvety texture, excellent taste; favorably replace kidney beans.

Excellent pureed; add garlic, onion, chili powder, salt and oil [just a little of each] and form into patties - use as 'meat' patties in hamburgers.

Also excellent in chicken broth, along with a few vegetables.

1 cup [250 mL] pinto beans = 4 cups ]1 L] water - Soaking time: overnight - Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours.