Spice up your bean routine

Whether you’re focused on fitness goals, a plant-based diet or simply cooking more at home, you can lean on beans to help achieve your goals and provide the foundation for a flavourful meal.

To celebrate the cultural and culinary influence of beans around the globe, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has declared February 10 as World Pulses Day. This event provides an opportunity to recognise the importance of pulses (dry beans, lentils, dry peas, chickpeas, lupins) as nutritional powerhouses and as part of sustainable food production aimed toward food security.

In honour of World Pulses Day, here are a few recipes.

Navy Bean Sundal
Recipe courtesy of Priya Lakshminarayan, blogger at Cookilicious

1 cup dry navy beans
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/3 cup coconut, shredded
2 dried red chilles
3 tablespoon split chickpeas
1 teaspoon avocado oil
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon urad dal
Cilantro for garnish

1. Soak dry navy beans overnight. Drain the water the next day, add fresh water. Boil soaked navy beans, al dente in salt and turmeric water. Strain and keep it aside.
2. Dry roast shredded coconut, dried red chiles, chana dal lentils/split chickpeas and curry leaves till the lentils turn light golden brown. Transfer to a blender and grind to a coarse paste.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Once it’s hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add urad dal (black gram lentil) and saute until it turns golden. Then add the ground paste and continue to saute for 30 seconds. Add the cooked navy beans and give it a light mix so that the coconut mixture coats it well.

Refried Pinto Beans
Recipe courtesy of Palak Patel, blogger at The Chutney Life

Two15-ounce cans pinto beans
1 cup white onion, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
4 jalapenos finely diced
1/4 cup scallions thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro finely chopped
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon cumin

1. Combine the pinto beans and salsa in a large bowl. Using an immersion blender, puree the beans to your desired consistency. Set aside.
2. In a large pot heat oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and diced jalapenos and let cook until jalapenos have started to soften.
3. Add the diced onions and cook on medium heat until onions are almost translucent, and then add the bell peppers and continue to cook until they are soft.
4. Add the taco seasoning, chili powder, turmeric powder, scallions, cilantro and mix until well combined. Turn heat to low or add a tiny splash of water if the contents begin to stick to the pan.
5. Add the bean mixture to the pot and combine well and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Taste for salt, adjust any seasonings and serve hot!

Tutu de Feijão
Recipe courtesy of Olivia Mesquita, blogger at Olivia’s Cuisine
1 pound dry black beans
6 cups cold water, plus more for soaking
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 ounces thick meat, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cassava flour, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley

1. Soak the beans overnight: Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
2. Cook the beans: Drain the soaked beans and transfer to a large oven. Add the 6 cups of water and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until beans are very tender, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
3. Instant pot method: If you prefer using a pressure cooker, combine the beans, water and bay leaves in the bowl of your cooker. Cover and turn the vent to the sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes. When done, let the steam pressure naturally release for at least 20 minutes before removing the lid.
4. When beans are cooked, reserve 2 cups of the cooked beans, without liquid.
5. Transfer the remaining beans with 2 cups of the cooking liquid to the jar of a blender. Blend until smooth. If you prefer a chunkier tutu de feijão, you can just mash the beans using a potato masher. Reserve.
6. Heat the olive oil, over medium heat, in a large skillet. Add the meat and cook until golden brown, 6-8 minutes.
7. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
8. Add the reserved cooked beans and sauté with the aromatics for a couple of minutes.
9. Stir in the puréed beans.
10. Slowly add the cassava flour, stirring constantly, until you reach the desired thickness. You might not need to use the whole amount, or you might need more. It depends on how creamy or thick you like.
11. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped parsley.
12. Serve immediately.

-Courtesy of Brandpoint