Five Dry Beans That Should Always Be In Your Pantry
Today we’re back with another Top 5 video and this one is on the Top 5 dry legumes we like to have in the pantry at all times. Whether you know them as beans, legumes, pulses(?) or something else, they’re a major staple in a starch-based diet and we don’t want to live in a world without them.
Dillon and I had a couple of debatable/controversial points arise in the first part of the video. First of all, I said it: beans are higher on my list of favorite starches than potatoes. I know… GASP! Dillon was flabbergasted by that statement because he knows how much I looove potatoes. But it’s true… if I had to choose one or the other, beans would win. But thank goodness I don’t have to make that choice today!
The other question that arose is, “What the heck are “pulses” and who actually calls beans “pulses” anyway? I didn’t have the answer on the video but I did a little digging for the blog and found out that “legumes” refer to any plant that grows in a pod and a “pulse” refers to only the dry edible seed within the pod. The more you know!
Whatever you call your legumes, they’re an awesome staple for your healthy, whole-food diet. They last in the pantry almost indefinitely, require minimal preparation, and are an inexpensive, healthy source of protein, potassium, and complex carbohydrates. They add lots of fiber to your diet and on average, contain 20-25% protein by weight (on a dry basis), which is 2-3 times more protein than wheat or rice. Ready to eat some beans? Here are favorites:
#1 - GarbanzosWell Your World Famous Chickpea Salad
Healthy Falafel & Tzatziki
#2 - Lentils
If there’s a code to crack when it comes to cooking lentils, we’ve cracked it. Ready for the secret? Just cook them like pasta! Boil a large pot of water, throw in your lentils, let them cook for about 17-18 minutes (or until tender), drain, rinse, and serve. That’s it! They’re perfect every time. Lentils are a wonderful food to batch prep so you have a quick and easy protein to grab a handful (or two) of to toss in your meals during your busy week.
Here are a few of our favorite lentil-based recipes:
#3 - Red LentilsAll of the good things we just said about brown or green lentils apply to red lentils too. We’ve just put them in their own category because we utilize them in completely different ways. We mostly use red lentils as a thickener for soups, chilis, dhals, and Dillon’s famous Starch Blaster, of course!
They also cook up very fast and don’t need soaking, so they really are a great way to thicken up a dish and also add a “meaty” texture that is a perfect stand-in for any recipe calling for ground meat (such as chili). If you don’t want to add meaty texture, just grind them up in a high-speed blender to make a lentil “flour”. We’ve even used red lentils to make simple tortilla-style wraps!
Check out these fun ways we like to use red lentils:
Healthy Veganized TikTok Tortilla Hack.
#4 - Green Split Peas
Green (or yellow) split peas are also an excellent source of fiber and protein. They’re also very rich in vitamins B1, B5, K, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc, among others. They’re a nutritional powerhouse! They also absorb a LOT of water in cooking and will easily thicken up soups and stews, similar to red lentils, but they take longer to do it. We mostly use green split peas to make classic Split Pea Soup, which is so filling and comforting particularly in colder months.
Simply sauté some onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Toss in your green split peas and add enough veggie stock for the peas to swim freely around as you stir. Season with a good dehydrated vegetable blend (you can find one on Amazon) and some smoked paprika, bring to a boil and cook on low until the split peas have thickened up. That’s how easy it is to make a hearty, smokey and satisfying split pea soup any day of the week!
#5 - Black & Pinto Beans
We’ve mentioned how much we love black and pinto beans in our Top 5 Canned Foods video. If you’ve followed us for even 5 minutes, you will have likely observed our great love for Latin-inspired foods. Black and pinto beans are quintessential for Latin fare and are interchangeable with one another; anything that’s good made out of pinto beans is equally delicious made out of black beans in our opinion!
Here are a couple of our favorite recipes featuring black and pinto beans:
Bonus #1 - Soy CurlsIt wouldn’t be a Top 5 list without a few honorable mentions, now would it? Soy Curls are a remarkable product made by Butler Foods. We order ours directly from Butler’s website. They’re made from non-GMO, whole soybeans without chemical pesticides, additives, or preservatives. They’re a dehydrated product and when they’re rehydrated with water or seasoned vegetable stock, they are similar in texture to chicken strips. You can grind them up to mimic ground beef (like we did in our nachos video) and they’re much healthier than TVP, which is a highly-processed meat substitute often used in vegan cooking. There are SO many ways to use them and we’re always finding new ways, so they deserved an honorable mention.
Bonus #2 - 13 Bean Soup Mix
What do you get when you take all the beans we’ve mentioned, plus a few more, and mix them all together? 13 Bean Soup Mix, of course! You’ve seen it, you know it, and you may already have a bag of it in your pantry. We use this mix basically the same way we use Green Split Peas, which is to make a hearty soup in our InstantPot. We eat a lot of the same foods week after week; we have our favorites and we mostly stick to them but we do occasionally crave a little variety and 13 Bean Soup is a wonderful way for us to break up our normal bean game.
There you go: Our Top 5 Dry Legumes (plus a couple more) that we like to have in the pantry at all times for making tasty and satisfying meals. There’s not a week that goes by where we don’t eat at least one thing from this list. We hope this gives you some good ideas and motivation to make legumes a key ingredient in your healthy, whole-food diet.
Til Next Time, Xoxo Reebs