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Beginning Beans

By +Janice D'Agostino on Jun 24, 2011 10:00 AM in Recipes

“Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.” - Aesop

No one has ever told me that they were looking forward to a big steamy bowl of spicy legumes for dinner, or that they were not feeling well and craved a nice comforting legume and potato soup. Beans and legumes are delicious and just perfect for nutrition dense low calorie meals. What's a bean? It's an edible seed found in some plants. Corroborating this definition is the clear labeling of bags and cans with words like Black Beans or Great Northern Beans. I trust that those who label their products can identify them correctly. Which leaves the question - what in the world is a legume? I've never seen that on a can label. Is it different than a bean? Is it a type of bean? How do you pronounce legume? Is the g hard or soft? Every now and then questions like this get stuck in my head and refuse to leave until I get on-line and find the answers.

A lot of my Internet searches end up linking me to the good people who know things at, and that's where I found this terrific article on beans and legumes. The answers to my questions were really quite simple. Legumes are simply a larger classification name for plants that produce edible seeds in pods, which includes sub-categories like lentils, peas, beans, and even peanuts. The article confirmed that legumes are very good for you and can be prepared in endless delicious ways.

Beans, my favorite legume, are packed full of fiber - just the right kind of fiber to make you feel full and slow your digestion so you don’t get hungry right away. For those that are really into beans and want to know more, check out  Bean Science and Bean Nutrition. Then rush out to the nearest store and get several bags of beans and legumes - which is pronounced, by the way, either leg-yoom or ligyoom as you prefer.

White Bean and Arugula Soup, my fast to fix on a work night bean soup can be found at The Mindful Palate.

Hollie’s Fantastic Frijoles at The CC Palate shows how you can use your Slow Cooker to make cooking with dried beans simple.

Laura’s Black Bean/Avocado Burrito, at The CC Palate is a fast, tasty lunch or dinner.

Meganr’s White Bean Dip is superb for your next party and is also found at The CC Palate.

Crazypotatoe’s Hearty Bean and Rice Soup makes a perfect family meal, find this and more bean and soup recipes at The CC Palate.

Calabrian White Bean Stew, at The Mindful Palate,  has comfort food appeal, especially if your day can use the extra calories of homemade croutons!

Dried Beans or Canned Beans? -

If you have the time, inexpensive dried beans are the best place to begin, as some nutrition is lost in the canning process. Canned beans are still very good for you though, so don't feel badly about using them. I frequently use canned beans, rinsing them to remove the salt and anything else that was added during processing. For more about how to cook beans, click here.

Eating delicious beans and reaching your caloric goal is a snap with your friends at Calorie Count!

Your thoughts….

What is your favorite bean and how do you prepare it? Have you ever expressed a wish for a big bowl of legumes? Do you add the salt early and are your beans tender? Did you see a bean on the Bean Science page that you want to try some day? Send me your favorite recipe, I’d love to try it! This article may be reprinted in its entirety (including bio) with prior permission from the author.

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I love all beans, but favourites are butter beans and kidney beans.  Sometimes if I don't feel like eating a 'leafy' salad, I make myself a little salad out of butter beans, avocado, and tomato with a olive oil and lemon dressing.  I also make a mean refried bean soup.  I will add beans to just about anything. 

I love beans! Too bad baked beans are my favorite. :P

You have obviously never been to Brazil where feijoada is the national dish.

I HATED kidney beans a child.  Now I adore them and all the other beans too.  Go figure! 

We eat lentil loaf and chickpea burgers along with chillis and gravies made out of beans. Beans are very versatile food and have sustained societies for thousands of years. Recently I started experimenting with East Indian cooking and love curried chickpeas and spinach and lentil dhal. And of course don't forget hummus.

Love Beans! Thanks for recipe links :)


I keep an assortment of prepared beans on hand bagged in the freezer to add to recipes or meal prep at a moments notice.  Great addition to just about any crockpot meal.

I eat beans almost every day. I like to stay away from too much animal protein. I don't fuss alot with the cookng either. I throw beans, broth cubes, brown rice,veggies, 6 to 8 cups of water in a crock pot and let it do it's thing for several hrs.  Any broth cubes, any beans and veggies and or meat proteins will make a nice bean soup/stew!!! I even do this in the summer months. I make home made hummis too. Not to mention, beans are cheap,cheap,cheap to prepare!!!!

I love beans! I am a person who looks forward to a nice bowl of beans (and rice,or with veggies,a grain and a nice miso-tahini sauce-aka "the bowl") quite often! I do also crave a nice,homemade bowl of bean soup with I'm feeling under-the-weather,or when the weather is starting to turn at the beginning of autumn. Come middle of autumn through winter,I often crave my mom's homemade lentil stew. So,now you've heard of someone who craves beans. My favorite? Chickpeas! In any form!

I am from the good ole south and my favorite bean is pinto beans.  I put them in the crock pot (8 hrs) with water, a raw potato and salt cured pork to add flavor.  Sometimes I will eat them by themselves or I fill fix corn bread.  Of course the corn bread adds calories but it is not too bad if you just have a slice.  They are wonderful to fix on a cold winter day.

My husband is from Turkey, so we eat a ton of Lentils. Red lentils are great because you can get them dried and they cook up much faster than beans with plenty of fiber and potassium.

I eat a bowl of beans (180-220 grams of the 16 Bean dry mix) every day. To that bowl, I add an ounce of high protein pasta, spinach, broccoli or other suitable vegetable and olive oil.

To make this easy, I cook the beans ahead of time and keep them frozen in meal-size packets. Then all I need do is boil them with the pasta and add vegetables at the end.

I am not a vegetarian, by any stretch of the imagination, but I cannot live without my daily dose of beans.

beans are the best and yes, i crave them! i have dried white, black, kidney and two types of lentils on hand and canned! just over brown rice with chopped fresh cilantro and a little hot sauce, or cassolet - the white bean stew- i cook in the crockpot in the winter. and with indian spices and lots of spinach. they are so very versatile, tasty and satisfying!! cooking some today!

Thanks for all the comments and ideas! So many bean cravers!

moreninhayboy - I just googled feijoada and MUST make some!!! Do you have a recipe to share?

I LOVE beans! my favorite recipe:

1 large can of dark red kidney beans
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 white onion
1 tbsp of oilive oil
2 tbsp chopped jalapeno slices

Saute the onions & garlic together until translucent, then add everything else, cover the pan, and let it cook on low/medium until the beans are soft (about 10-20 minutes). Then smash the heck out of it with a potato masher!

Omg it's delicious; I can  eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.

Funny i have always wondered this.  Thanks for sharing and all these links look amazing. 

I love, love, beans... black, pintos, great northerns... also lentils...

I cook them and freeze them, have them handy at all times... then warm them up and add sliced onions, poblanos or green peppers, olive oil, pour over brown rice and a couple of tomato slices on top... who could ask for anything more?  healthy and delicious...

Thanks for the great article... will save it and make some of the recipes.

May in Atlanta

Yes, a crock of melt in your mouth tender pinto beans seasoned with ham chunks or a meaty hambone, with some homemade yellow corn bread on the side, is awesome, especially during winter!

Mixed beans, chickpeas, lentils in a curry... mmmmmmm yummy!!! and if you use a bit only of coconut cream, that will be the only fat in there. Lots of chilli, curry leaves, lemon grass, cumin, fennugreek... Very few things are much better!!

i LOVE beans and wonder if anyone has advice for dealing with the awful gas that they cause.  i have tried bean-o, gas-x, and homeopathic remedies to deal with this problem but with no success.  i would eat beans everyday and probably even give up on eating meat if there wasn't so much pain and bloating involved with beans!!

What wonderful suggestions for recipes! Thanks to all of you and to those that are pm'ing their recipes. I cannot wait to try them all!

carolynp19 - do you cook the beans from dried? I've read that the long soak method (changing the water after soaking) helps as the sugars that cause the build up of gas are mostly expelled in the soak.

If any of you have tried and true methods to eat beans with the gas - post them here as I'm sure carolynp19 is not the only one out there with this question!

Rinse your beans very well to help alleviate gas.

Wonderful!  It's 7 a.m. here in Phoenix and i am eating a small bowl of pinto beans and corn bread for my breakfast! 

I soak my dried beans over night, drain them, then pressure cook them with some chopped onion and a tablespoon of olive oil for about 15 minutes.  They come out great. 

I have been eating beans for so many years now that my system is used to them and I don't get gas, but I think one key is to soak them well, and to boil them very hard at the start of the cooking time.


I love beans. My favourite bean dish is curried tofu sauteed in olive oil with garlic and onions then I add a can of chick peas (rinsed) delicious. 

I also make a kidney bean soup with vegetables, with a piece of chicken breast (optioinal) - sauteed garlic, and onions in a touch of olive oil add vegetables in add a can of kidney beans or red bes.

Hello again... I also soak my beans overnight, or so... then the water the beans were soaked in is discarded and the beans rinsed.  Fresh water is added to the beans and then cooked in the pressure cooker with NO Salt...

No gas problems since I've been doing this.

Ciao... going to dig up some beans out of the pantry right now and start soaking them to cook later!!!

Yum. A big bowl of chili-spiced beans for dinner. Or Indian dal makhani with the black lentils and kidneys. There, someone has officially told you...

Yum. Now I am hungry for a black bean burger.  This is our favorite recipe: ers/detail.aspx

I also love to make hummus using chick peas and change it up each time with different spices.  Our favorite is chipotle!


Yesterday I had a big bowl of black beans (canned and rinsed) with broccoli, salsa and a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese for breakfast! I love beans!!!

Indian Lentil soup is my favorite, here is the recipe if anyone would like to try:

add below ingredients in the below order
1. 1 tspn olive oil to the hot pan,
2. mustard/cumin seeds ( 1/4 tspn),
3.  curry leaves
4.sliced green chillies -2
5.1 chopped onion - saute until golden brown
6. 3 gloves garlic sliced saute for 1 min
7.1 roma tomatoes saute until cooked
8.1/4 Tspn chillie powder / coriander powder
9.pinch turmeric powder
10.Mix well and then add any of your fav veggie ( Zuchhini / Squash / egg plant / carrot /beans / spinach / methi)
11.salt needded and then add 3 cups water and cover it with lid for 10 mins or until veggies are cooked
12.Then add cooked lentils (1 or 2 cups)
13. Mix well - until all the ingredients blend together
14. If you like you can add 1/2 Tspn Tamarind paste
15.Finally garnish with cilantro.

Healthy lentil soup. You can adjust water if you want the soup to be thick.

Original Post by: jannid

What wonderful suggestions for recipes! Thanks to all of you and to those that are pm'ing their recipes. I cannot wait to try them all!

carolynp19 - do you cook the beans from dried? I've read that the long soak method (changing the water after soaking) helps as the sugars that cause the build up of gas are mostly expelled in the soak.

If any of you have tried and true methods to eat beans with the gas - post them here as I'm sure carolynp19 is not the only one out there with this question!

thanks for all the helpful responses to the gas question!  i tend to use canned rather than dried and i definitley don't rinse them - in fact, when i make hummus i use some of the liquid from the can of garbanzos in order to decrease the amount of olive oil i use.  i will start trying different methods.  :)

I LOVE beans. I enjoy them way more than pretty much any cut of meat. I love to make bean soups, salads, add them to sandwiches and wraps, make dips and spreads out of them, or just enjoy them on top of some white rice. They are definitely my favorite protein ever. I hated them when I was a kid, but somehow they've become a staple in my diet as an adult. I wish I had some right now!

Actually it must only be the North Americans who don't consider beans comfort food. Latinos do. We have zillions of bean recipes and eat them at every meal. Breakfast is a great bean meal. Changing water once rids gas, hing or asafoetida is another trick for Indian recipes and for the rest of the Americas which eats beans and does dream of beans we like to use epazote. Epazote is a wonderful herb and it cures all gas problems. Viva el Frijol!

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Kombu added to the cooking water is another trick for combatting gas, I believe.

I LOVE black beans! Mm mmm, there's nothing better than black beans and spicy rice wrapped in a home made flour tortilla, mmm!!

ok, you have all made me hungry - so I am eating legumes for lunch! A falalfel and hummus sandwich!

iloverocks13 - it has been years since I've made home made tortillas! Thanks for the reminder!


Always drain the soaking liquid.

Throw a little epazote (mexican herb, fresh or dried) or a piece of dried kombu (japanese seaweed) in the pressure cooker with the beans. It really helps with digestion.

Indian spices (hing/asfoetida and carom seeds in particular) also help with gas- I never make beans without adding a little hing to the oil in the beginning- a little goes a long way. Be warned, though- hing is expensive and definitely an acquired taste.

That said, as a life-long bean eater, there will always be some beans that will give you gas. I can eat all kinds of dals and beans except fava and black- they make me literally hurt with gas. There are plenty of beans out there for you to find ones that you can eat without any problems.

My favorite meals involve beans... especially black bean ANYTHING. YUM. =)


I love them, but seem to get very gassy.  Does anyone know how to not  get gasiness from beans?



Original Post by: carolynp19

i LOVE beans and wonder if anyone has advice for dealing with the awful gas that they cause.  i have tried bean-o, gas-x, and homeopathic remedies to deal with this problem but with no success.  i would eat beans everyday and probably even give up on eating meat if there wasn't so much pain and bloating involved with beans!!

Learned this from my doctor 30 years ago, cooking dried beans bring to a brisk boil for five minutes, then dump all water and rinse the beans with cold water (I just dump into a strainer and rinse under faucet), then refill the pot with fresh water and cook normally until done. As other comment suggested this gets rid of the component that causes gas, pinto beans have been staple of my diet for over 30 years. 

About the gas.  I eat beans almost every day.  The rinsing is important.  Also the longer you soak the beans the less the gas problem.  Another "trick" I learned is to drink either chamomile tea or mint tea.  I have my tea before bed every night and this not only helps me to sleep more soundly but also helps with the gas.  I am told, also, that putting cumin in the beans while cooking helps with gas.  I always put cumin in my beans.  Black pepper is also good for digestion and goes well with beans.

Happy bean eating!!

pinto beans stray out of Mexican clay pot!! (have to check pots for lead content but that's another story?) plus my mom makes the best charro beans over and open flame with mesquite wood man they get that smokey taste unbelievable!! add some Spanish rice and ooh so good !! found this link

and lets not forget the 70's joke

eat more beans!!America needs more gas!! 

thanks for that link! I'll check out the clay pot method and post that on my How To Cook Beans at The CC Palate!

I love chickpeas (especially in hummus) and edamame, the most. I also use a lot of black beans in my cooking too.

For moast beans I used canned and rinse them before using. Canned is very convienent, and I make a lot of last minute dishes that don't have the time for dried beans. I usually get frozen edamame and heat it in the microwave and then add it to salads, casseroles, stir frys, or as a side dish.

I love beans too, and with two vegetarian daughters, we often serve them at dinner.  My daughter's favorite way to eat beans -- just ladle black beans over French Vanilla ice cream.  Weird but good.

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Never thought there were so many ways to eat beans :D I am very happy to have seen this article and all the great posts. We eat beans in chili, of course. Kidney beans, cannellini beans, and pinto beans are the beans I eat. I really should try some of those lintel and black bean ideas :) thanks!


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I've been a part time farmer for over 20 years, and legumes play an important role in farming as well.

Legumes include alfalfa and clover as well as yellow and green beans. As I understand it all legumes "fix" nitrogen in the if you plant your lawn with 25% of clover in it you should never have to fertalize it because the grass gets it's nitrogen from the clover.

When a farmer grows and makes hay, a legume is usually included as part of the mix for the same reason, and also because the legume adds substantially to the protein content of the hay. Most farmers in my area use alfalfa...but some still use clover, and some birdsfoot trefoil.

It's only recently that I discovered this site. I have been eating more beans lately to try and cut down on my previous consumption of white carbs. The thing I didn't realize was the high level of sodium contained in the canned varieties of beans. I think I'll start using dry beans to better control my sodium intake in future.

I like beans, but my husband won't eat them, except for hummus, so I don't cook them as often as I would like, but...

I love this salad made with beans:

1 can red kidney beans or black beans if you prefer

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup chopped red onion

chopped fresh basil

Mix the juice of two lemons with 1/4 cup olive oil and pour over the ingredients.

Sometimes I add shredded carrots or other vegetables.  This is best served at room temperature

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