How do you cook lentils? How do you cook beans?

How to cook legumes from scratch
Have you ever cooked legumes from scratch rather than just opening a can - you'll be surprised how easy it actually is, and the cost savings too. With supply gaps of canned beans it might be worth having a go.

Legumes contain lectins and phytate which can be detrimental to gut health and nutritional value. Although most lectins are removed from cooking, soaking them with a dash of vinegar further helps reduce them. Soaking times do differ as well as cooking times, see below.  

Water is also important when cooking legumes, in South Australia we have very hard water which can affect quality and cooking times of the bean, so use filtered water when cooking legumes, or better yet, spring water.

For every cup of legume add 4 cups of water to soak and two tablespoons of vinegar, we use apple cider vinegar.

Legume (1 cup) Soaking time Cooking time Yields
Black (Beluga) Lentils 8-12 hours 20-25 minutes 2 cups
Black Turtle Beans 8-12 hours 60-90 minutes 2 1/4 cups
Brown Lentils 5-8 hours 20-25 minutes 2 1/4 cups
Cannellini Beans 8-12 hours 45 minutes 2 1/2 cups
Fava Beans 8-12 hours 40-45 minutes 1 2/3 cups
French (Puy) Lentils 5-8 hours 25-30 minutes 2 cups
Chickpeas 9-12 hours 1-3 hours 2 cups
Green Lentils 5-8 hours 20-25 minutes 2 cups
Kidney Beans  8-12 hours 1 hour 2 1/4 cups
Mung Beans  8-12 hours 1 hour 2 cups
Red Lentils 5-8 hours 15-20 minutes 2 cups
Soy Beans 10-12 hours 3-4 hours 3 cups
Yellow Lentils 5-8 hours 15-20 minutes 2 cups
Yellow Split Peas 5-8 hours 60-90 minutes 2 cups
To cook, put legumes in a pot and cover them with at least 5cm of water. Bring to a boil and remove any foam that forms.

Reduce heat to a bare simmer and cook until tender. Drain and serve or store in an airtight container for later. Never let your legumes reach a strong boil; this could lead to unevenly cooked legumes with burst skins.

We have a range of lentils, beans, peas in our bulk foods section, focusing on biodynamic and organic, choosing from Australia whenever we can.

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