July 31, 2019 6:17 am Leave your thoughts
Roasting out there last week, wasn’t it? Baking hot. Boiling, even. Which meant, of course, that our thoughts at NGF turned to….beans!
Beans are about the most versatile foodstuff there is. They’re packed with protein and carbohydrate – and count as one of your five-a-day servings of vegetables. They’re full of fibre and a great source of vital vitamins and minerals. And they’re not just for hearty autumnal soups and stews: cold beans are one of the very nicest things to include in a summery salad dish. (But yes, you do have to brave the heat of the kitchen to prepare them first.)
We sell huge quantities of beans at Naturally Good Food. We’ve got beans in tins, but also in dried form, in small packs, mid-bulk and in huge sacks. We usually recommend that our customers buy in bulk (for economy and environmental reasons), then boil them up in fairly large quantities, storing the excess in the freezer. Once defrosted, the cooked beans can be added to dishes both hot and cold.
But how about roasting your dried beans instead? Or roasting them after boiling them? Recently, we were contacted by a customer who wanted to replicate a particular dish he was regularly buying in a supermarket for lunch. It was a so-called ‘protein pot’, containing roasted salted soya beans, black beans, peas and broad beans. You can purchase all of those from Naturally Good Food – but how do you go about roasting them?
How to roast soybeans
Let’s look at soya beans first. These beans are highly nutritious: they’re packed with protein, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, folate and iron. They’re rich in phytochemicals and isoflavones and are thought to help lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Roasting them is actually a really good option, as boiling them up takes quite a long time (around 3-4 hours), due to the thickness of their membranes. Roasting, meanwhile, after an overnight soaking, takes only about an hour. Here are some instructions on how to do it, from the masters of soybeans: https://thesoyfoodscouncil.com/roasted-soybeans/.
How to roast black beans
The rich taste of black beans complements the subtler soya beans well. There are various types of black beans – perhaps our favourite are our black turtle beans, which are packed with antioxidant anthocyanins to keep our bodies in good condition.
These beans are best roasted after having been boiled. Full instructions are available here.
How to roast peas
Peas are another type of pulse. We sell various kinds of peas at NGF, whole and split, and all full of fibre, protein and taste. We’ve got a great range of peas from Hodmedod’s, who grow and process peas, beans and grains right here in the UK. Most roast pea recipes (and there are lots out there) use fresh or frozen peas, but if you’re working with dried peas, you simply need to soak and boil them up as usual, then, having dried them off, roast them in a hot oven until they’re beautifully crunchy.
How to roast broad beans
We sell broad beans at NGF under the name given to them by Hodmedod’s – fava beans. They’ve been called ‘Britain’s original bean’, having been grown in our wonderfully temperamental climate since the Iron Age.
For roasting purposes, you can use both whole and split fava beans (the split ones will cook slightly faster). Both types, of course, are high in fibre and protein and low in fat. This link here explains how best to roast them (you’ll need to soak them first and then boil them for just over five minutes).
Salt and spice
Roasted beans and peas are delicious, but salt and seasoning are essential to bring out their full flavour. Use the best salt you can find (which is easy – see our range here) and our wonderful organic spices or herbs for extra flavour.
Important note! Don’t add salt to your beans or peas during any soaking or boiling process. It stops them from softening – meaning that you’ll be cooking them for hours and hours and hours…..Soak and boil them unseasoned, then add the salt and spices at the roasting stage.
Make your own protein pot
Roasted, salted, spiced beans and peas are popular snacks in parts of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and other areas of the world. Once you’ve discovered how to make them, they’re likely to become a firm favourite in your household too. If you’re trying to cut down on crisps or other nibbles, they’re ideal, giving you something to snack on that’s healthy as well as incredibly tasty and crunchy! (They’re great, we understand, with beer and baseball….)
You can do more with them than simply snack on them, however. One great option for using them is that mentioned by our original customer, of combining various types, along with seasoning, in a delicious lunchtime ‘protein pot’. You might like to add some fresh herbs to the pot, along with a slug of properly cold-pressed oil. Vegetables – particularly onions – might well find their way in there too, along with a handful of cooked grains (we particularly like bulgur wheat, couscous and quinoa in these kinds of mixes).
And while we’re thinking about alternative things to do with beans, why not try sprouting some beans and other pulses and adding those too? Our blog here Microgreens and sprouts: grow your own with NGF explains how to do it and showcases all the sprouting options we stock. Sprouted pulses bring a freshness and a different kind of crunch to the pot.
Finally, feel free to mix and match the beans and other pulses you use in the pot (did you know, there are thought to be over 40,000 different types of pulses worldwide?) Each has a different complement of vitamins and minerals, as well as a different taste and texture. If you find a particular favourite, however, and think you might use a lot of it, then you should consider buying in bulk, for the best benefits. Check out our full pulses range – including our bulk options – here and here.
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This post was written by Yzanne