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Bean There, Done That: Discovering Dried Legumes

This week, we received lots of dried split peas and garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) to distribute to our food centers and various partner pantries and organizations. Split peas and garbanzo beans both fall into the “legume” category. The Legume family encompasses beans, peas, lentils, and even peanuts. While you can often get legumes in their canned or frozen form, we believe dried legumes are the hidden gem of shelf-stable foods. They contain a rich array of nutrients, including fiber and protein, and they’ll last almost indefinitely. Unfortunately, many of us are unfamiliar with how to best store, cook, and enjoy this versatile food. They are indeed the magical fruit!

Dried legumes should be stored in a dry place, as moisture or condensation can lead to spoilage. When it comes to cooking, beans are a very adaptable tool to keep stocked in your pantry. They are a great substitute for meat in stir-fries and stews, make great dips, and can even be used to make burgers, fritters, and gluten-free flour. Dried legumes might be a little more time consuming than canned, but they contain less sodium and are minimally processed in comparison to their canned counterparts.

The best way to cook with dried legumes is to soak them over night. But in the case that you forget to soak them, you can use this quick trick to significantly cut down your cooking time.

  1. Rinse the beans, peas, or lentils.

  2. Transfer to a saucepan with about 2 inches of water.

  3. Bring the water and beans to a boil over high heat. Cook for 1 minute, then remove the pot from the heat.

  4. Let the legumes soak in the warm water for one hour.

  5. Drain the beans, peas, or lentils into a colander. Rinse and begin to cook according to your recipe!

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to do with your dried legumes, here are some of our favorite recipes and meal ideas:

Falafel *Requires a Food Processor*

Be sure to share photos of what you make and tag @ComfortFoodCommunity!

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