I recently asked the Instagram community what they want to see more of on Crunchy Radish. A large majority of you asked for make-ahead lunch ideas, meal prep, and breakfast recipes. In an effort to give the people what they want, I will be focusing more closely on these topics. First up, a simple bean salad. Easy to make, durable and hearty to store and tote to work or school, and, most importantly, nutritious, plant-based, and delicious.
During the third week of the Chef's Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts (NGIHCA), we devoted a great deal of attention to proper bean cookery. Beans are a fantastic and economical source of plant-based protein, iron, and calcium. They also contain fiber, which assists with lowering cholesterol, increasing bowel regularity, as well as promoting satiety. Despite being health-supportive, some people have difficulty digesting beans due to the type of carbohydrate that they contain, oligosaccharides.
Oligosaccharides are not just found in legumes, but in members of the onion family, Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus to name a few. This type of fermentable carbohydrate can be more difficult to digest for some individuals than others because of a lack of enzymes needed to break them down. Slowly and steadily integrating beans into your diet, will ideally promote an increased production of digestive enzymes, which is a simple way to combat the digestive issues associated with these starches. Aim for 1/4 cup increments. (For those dealing with FODMAP's, this may not apply to you.)
Cooking your beans from scratch is another way to promote better digestion. Rinsing, soaking, and rinsing again prior to cooking not only yields better tasting beans, but helps remove the oligosaccharides which cause digestive discomfort. You can do a quick soak, which is where you rinse, pick over beans for any undesirables, cover with two inches of water, boil for five minutes, and then let sit covered for an hour. Drain and rinse beans again, and proceed to cook. For a long soak, rinse, pick over beans for any undesirables, cover with at least two inches of water, and soak for eight hours or overnight. Drain, rinse, and proceed to cooking.
At NGIHCA we use kombu almost always in bean cookery. Kombu is a sea vegetable that is common in macrobiotic cooking. Kombu contains minerals which assist in the digestion of beans. Throw a strip into the cooking water and consume, if disintegrated, or remove prior to eating to help to promote better bean digestibility.
Legumes are also considered to be a prebiotic, the fuel that probiotics consume. By incorporating probiotics into the diet as well, you are developing a symbiotic and cultured environment in your gut. Adding kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, or drinking some kombucha, are easy ways to incorporate probiotics into the diet .
Black Eyed-Pea Salad
recipe adapted from the Natural Gourmet Institute
Yields 5 cups
- 1 cup black-eyed peas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 piece kombu
- 1 medium-sized red bell pepper
- 1 medium-sized jalapeño
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
- 2 tbsps scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: tender greens such as mesclun or baby greens.
- Combine beans, water, 1⁄2 tsp salt, and kombu in a 1-gallon pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until beans are tender. Remove kombu and drain beans in a colander.
- Pre-heat oven to 350. While beans are cooking, roast the red bell pepper and jalapeño for 3o minutes or until the skins are lightly charred and wrinkly (cooking times of jalapeño and bell pepper may vary). Place in a metal bowl and cover with a plate. Once cool, peel the skin, remove the seeds, and chop.
- In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, vinegars, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Dressing should taste slightly acidic - this will mellow out once incorporated with the beans
- Add warm drained beans to the dressing, and gently fold together.
- When beans have cooled, add celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, red onion, olives, scallions, and parsley.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Add additional tender greens prior to eating, if you wish.