January 5th, 2006

What to do with a big old pot o' beans

Nay sayers love to smugly state how they simply can’t afford veganism as they suck down their lattes and fire up their SUVs. This argument has always struck me as ridiculous and ill-informed or just plain argumentative. Vegetables can be expensive but omnivores eat vegetables as well don’t they? The main difference in your diet would be the change of proteins and vegetable based proteins are cheaper than animal-based proteins.

Today I’d like to discuss my favorite source of protein – the beautiful bean. My modus operandi has been to make a big pot of beans (1 pound of organic beans of almost any kind will hover in the $1 range) and use it throughout the week to create a variety of dishes using other pantry staples. Depending on how many beans I make this creates at least 5 meals for 2 for the week at around 15 dollars total. How can it get any more affordable than that? Here are just a few examples of what you can do with various legumes.

Black Beans:
Day 1 – Black Bean Burgers
Day 2 – Chili
Day 3 – Sauteed with Greens
Day 4 – Tamale Pie
Day 5 – Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

Day 1 – Dill Hummus Sammiches
Day 2 – Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Day 3 – Falafel
Day 4 – Chickpea Samosas
Day 5 – Chickpea Hijiki Salad Sammiches

White Beans
Day 1 – Pasta Fagioli
Day 2 – White Bean Quinoa Croquettes
Day 3 – Roasted Garlic and White Bean Soup
Day 4 – White Bean and Tempeh Sausage Patties
Day 5 – Vegetable Soup with White Beans

Of course you can always just sit yourself down to a nice plate of rice and beans and I often do, it’s just nice to know that you don’t have to.

As far as time goes, cooking beans is not the time consuming thing it’s often made out to be. I usually set the beans to soak over night on Saturday night (place them in the pot you are going to cook them in with about 3 times the water to beans). On Sunday morning I drain and rinse them then add them back to the pot with clean water (about 2 times the amount of beans). I bring them to a boil and then simmer for a few hours. The active cooking time here is all of 5 minutes. Once cooled store in an air-tight container with the cooking liquid and call it a day. It ain’t nothing.

Of course the whole time you were reading this you had one thing on your mind: flatulence. Well, Changing the soaking water helps to cut down on the sugars that can’t be broken down, thus less bacteria forming in your large intestine thus less farting. Supposedly the more beans you eat the more your body adjusts to it and the less you fart. You can read more about it here.

I discussed beans with Erik Marcus at vegan.com on his podcast Erik's Diner so go take a listen!

Now I want everyone to make a pot of beans this week and report back STAT.