Beans are a large part of a plant-based diet. They are low in fat, provide B vitamins, calcium, iron and other essential minerals , protein and fiber; all needed to maintain a healthy biological system.
Sometimes people have some digestibility issues and have symptoms of gas, bloating or upset stomach. As long as you are eating slow, chewing properly and not “swallowing air” your problems should be minimal. However, there are a couple of tips to eating them. There are some types that are more digestible than others and if you are new to beans, it may be a good idea to start out with those (adukis are most easily digested). You can also start with split peas or lentils, which require no pre-soaking and will cook faster.
For beans in general, it is usually best to do a pre-soak of 6-8 hours. The easiest way is to leave them overnight and cook them the next day. You can also add a bit of vinegar towards the end of cooking. Make sure to discard the soak water before cooking them.
There are several different types out there and each one has its own specific, delicious taste! Here are just a few.
Adzuki beans (adukis). Native to Japan, these are perhaps the most digestible out of any beans. They have a taste similar to kidney beans, but are a bit more flavorful. On the stove top they take about 45-60 minutes of cooking time. 1 cup yields: 147 calories, 28.0 g carbs, 0 fat, 8.5 g fiber and 8.5 g protein. These beans do not need pre-soaking, either. 🙂
Anasazi beans. Originally from Native Americans, these beans look like pinto beans with the red and white speckles. They are sweeter and robust tasting. Cooking time on the stove top takes about an hour. 1 cup yields: 113 calories, 19.9 g carbs, 0.4 g fat, 5.8 g fiber and 7.5 g protein.
Black beans. Yah, vegan chili and vegan taco time!! These beans are used a lot in Mexican and South American dishes. They have a robust taste to them and can withstand a lot of seasonings, like chili powder and cumin. On the stove they take about 60-90 minutes of cook time. 1 cup yields: 113 calories, 20.5 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 7.5 g fiber, and 7.5 g protein.
Fava beans. This is a favorite Italian bean used to make a popular pasta and bean dish called “Fave con i lolli”. These beans come in pods that need to be removed before eating or cooking. They have a strong flavor to them and take about 90 minutes to cook on the stove. 1 cups yields: 95 calories, 16.5 g carbs, 0.4 g fat, 7.0 g fiber and 6.4 g protein.
Garbanzo beans (chick-peas). Though called chick-peas, they do not come from chickens. They are used frequently in Middle Eastern dishes, like hummus or falafel and have a nutty flavor. They are also great to use in salads. After cooking, rinse in cold water and throw them into a broccoli salad. You can also get garbanzo bean flour to make various dishes. They take more time on the stove: about 2-3 hours. 1 cup yields: 134 calories, 22.5 g carbs, 2.0 g fat, 6.0 g fiber and 7.5 g protein.
White beans (cannellini). These are white beans, often labeled as cannellini, since they are famous in Italy. Most often they are used in soups, as they provide a nice hearty texture with a mild flavor. Often popular in coconut milk based chowders … ooolaalaa! Stove top cooking is about 1-2 hours. 1 cup yields: 104 calories, 18.5 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 6.0 g fiber and 7.5 g protein.
Kidney beans. They come in large and small and are red in color. In the USA, this may be one of the most popular beans. They are often used in chili or marinated bean salads. This is a heavier bean and may be harder to digest than many others. Overnight pre-soak would be highly recommended. They take about an hour of cooking time on the stove. 1 cup yields: 104 calories, 18.5 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 5.5 g fiber and 7.5 g protein.
Lima beans. These beans are quite popular and are sometimes called “butter” beans. They can be large, small and “baby” size. Most people recognize this bean from the frozen variety, however they can be purchased dry and then cooked. Stove top cooking time takes about 45-60 minutes. 1 cup yields: 106 calories, 19 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 7.5 g fiber and 7 g protein.
Mung beans. These beans are small and green, mostly found in Asian and Indian dishes. They complement nicely curried, chili or ginger dishes. They are lighter beans, similar to peas or lentils. Stove top cooking time takes about 45 minutes. 1 cup yields: 106 calories, 19 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 7.5 g fiber and 7 g protein.
Pinto beans. This is the traditional USA and Mexico bean. They are dotted pink and brown in color and eventually loose the pink during cooking. They have a hearty, earthy flavor to them and can be found in many mexican dishes as refried beans. Often they are found canned, but can also be purchased dry and made at home. Stove top cooking time is about 2 hours. 1 cup yields: 126 calories, 23.5 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 4.5 g fiber and 7.5 g protein.
Soybeans. Soybeans are known for their high protein content. Soybeans can be found in anything from tofu, Edamame, tempeh or soymilk. They can be purchased dry and made into soups or as a side dish. Cooking time is longer than most beans; about 3 hours. 1 cup yields: 117 calories, 7.9 g carbs, 5.1 g fat, 2.6 g fiber and 9.9 g protein.by