Legumes are a great addition to the diet, being high in protein and minerals and a great source of complex carbohydrates. The legume family includes lentils, chickpeas and beans. Our naturopaths recommend eating legumes with at least 3 meals per week. Legumes are particuarly beneficial for those with digestive complaints, diabetes, heart disease and hormonal issues.

Step 1 – Soaking

All whole legumes need to be presoaked. The soaking process helps to hydrate the dried legume and remove some of the saponins (a phytochemical that causes gut irritation). As legumes differ in their size and density there are different soaking times for each, however a good guide is to soak them for at least 12 hours, or overnight.

TIP: Add some wakame to the soaking and cooking water to help to soften the legumes.

Step 2 – Rinsing

After soaking discard the water and rinse well. Put legumes in a large saucepan with plenty of water (at least three times as much water as the legumes).

Step 3 – Cooking

To cook legumes, bring to the boil then reduce heat to a low boil. Cooking times for legumes vary, with some only needing 45 minutes and others needing several hours. Use the guide below for different legume types, or cook until tender.

TIP: Don’t add salt to the cooking water! It retards the skins – add it in after cooking.

  • Legume Type
  • Adzuki beans
  • Black beans
  • Black eyed peas
  • Borlotti beans
  • Canellini beans
  • Fava beans (without skin)
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beanS
  • Brown lentils
  • Green lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Mung beans
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Cooking Time
  • 50 – 60 minutes
  • 60 – 90 minutes
  • 50 – 60 minutes
  • 45 – 60 minutes
  • 45 – 60 minutes
  • 50 – 60 minutes
  • 2 – 3 hours
  • 1 1/2 – 2 hours
  • 45 – 75 minutes
  • 30 – 50 minutes
  • 60 – 90 minutes
  • 60 – 75 minutes
  • 50 – 60 minutes
  • 60 – 90 minutes

Step 4 – Rinsing and serving

Once the legumes are soft take them off the heat and let them cool for 5 – 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well under running water.

Top legume serving tips from our naturopaths!

Legumes are very versatile to use in the diet. Because they take a while to cook our naturopaths recommend making them in large batches and then storing them in the fridge or freezer for later use. Try these yummy tips:

  • Chickpea or lentil salad with chopped parsley, roast pumpkin and baby spinach
  • Blend legumes with olive oil and spices for a delicious dip
  • Use them in curries
  • Cook them with onoin and tomato and have them on toast for breakfast
  • Make a soup or stew with them

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