How To Cook Dried Beans

Mixed Legumes on paper and burlap - How To Cook Dried BeansSoaking dried beans or legumes in water first, helps with dissolving the raffinose sugars that can cause discomfort in the digestive system. Rinsing the beans after soaking and draining any water after cooking will further help to reduce the sugars as well.

soaking deied beans - How To Cook Dried Beans

Image credit: EHow

Here are some steps you can take to reducing the raffinose sugars, a complex carbohydrate found in most in most dried beans.

This type of sugar is also found in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus, among other vegetables, and including whole grains.

The California Dry Bean Advisory Board recommend this method for gas-free beans.

  • Place 1 pound of beans in 10 cups of boiling water for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from heat, cover and set aside overnight


Soaking the beans overnight helps to remove or dissolve between 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible raffinose sugars.

If you want, you can add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water to help remove the raffinose sugars as well.

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

Delicious Living recommends soaking 1 cup of beans in 3 cups of water for 6 hours before cooking them.

After soaking the beans, drain them of the water, then rinse thoroughly. Now your beans are ready to be cooked.

When cooking the beans, you can add any herbs and spices, but do not add any salt or acidic ingredients, like vinegar, tomatoes or juice, which can considerably slow the cooking time. Add these ingredients when the beans are done cooking.

When cooking your beans you can use either water, or a stalk made from vegetables, beef or chicken.

Cooking times will vary depending on the type of beans you will be using. Most cooks will tell you that dried lentils or split peas do not require soaking, but they do require sorting and rinsing.

Keep in mind that cooking lentils in too much liquid, or over cooking them, will make them mushy. They should only be cooked for 20 minutes or until tender.

How to Use Cooked Beans

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Dried beans when cooked are very versatile, and although they have different flavors and textures, they can often be used interchangeably in recipes.

Cooked beans can be used to make soups, added as a topping to vegetable salads, add to cooked rice, couscous or pasta salads for texture.

Here are some of our featured recipes using cooked beans.

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas – Featuring a side dish of quinoa with black beans, onion, corn, and chili pepper

Spicy Chorizo and Bean Soup

Prosciutto Cotto and Lentils

South Of The Border Chicken Tortilla Soup

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Lasagna

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas

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Purple Sweet Potato Cashew and Chicken Salad

Purple Sweet Potato Cashew and Chicken Salad

This recipe brings together flavors for an exciting salad as a main dinner selection. It features the sweet purple potato which roasts up very tasty, along with cashews, tender baby kale, chicken breast, and an all organic balsamic dressing purchased at the Whole Foods Market. It is a non-oil dressing that is gluten free, vegan friendly, and non-dairy. The main dressing ingredients includes blackberries, figs, and aged balsamic vinegar.

Let’s get to cooking and enjoy the video.

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Chicken Avocado and Watercress Salad

Chicken Avocado and Watercress SaladUpland cress is high in phytonutrients, such as iodine, iron and phosphorus, as well as antioxidant vitamin A and C. It also has 14.76 mg of lutein per four (4) ounces, which is great for eye sight.

Upland cress has a peppery flavor much like arugula, and will add zing to your favorite sandwich or salad recipes. It is also reported that Cress soup can cleanse the blood in the Spring after a long cold winter. Cress is often recommended in cholesterol lowering and weight reduction programs, making it an alternative medicine.

Collage of Chicken Avocado and Watercress SaladOur featured recipe has a wonderful vinaigrette, Sweet Onion and Apple Vinaigrette.

To start you will need the following:

Sweet Onion and Apple Vinaigrette

½ cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp. grated sweet onion

¼ cup peeled and finely Gala apple

4 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. sugar

3 tbsp. avocado oil

When grating the onions and apples use the small holes of the grater.

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Next wash 4 cups of Upland cress and set aside.

Dice up 1 mango into 1-inch chunks, or optional to use packaged thawed mango chunks, about 1 cup. Next peel and pit one firm, but ripe avocado, and slice.

Shred 1 1/2 cups of chicken meat or cut off in chunks from a fresh made rotisserie chicken.

Arrange cress onto plate, and top with mango chunks, meat, and avocado slices. Next pour or spoon on the vinaigrette.

Chicken Avocado and Watercress Salad - close-upServe and enjoy this dense nutrient salad.

Take Note

According to Power Your Diet, cress contains under 1/2 mgs of oxalic acid per 100 grams of leaves. Oxalic acid occurs naturally in some vegetables, which can crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. If you know that you have oxalate urinary tract stones it is advisable to avoid eating vegetables belong to the Brassica family.

Being a Brassica family vegetable, cress may also contain goitrogens, which may interfere with thyroid hormone production and can cause thyroxin hormone deficiency in individuals with thyroid dysfunction.

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Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad


We went shopping for some fruits and vegetables and I found a good watermelon. The batch of melons we were examining were from Mexico. The watermelons were all little girl enjoying a sweet watermelonthe same weight and the same shape. If your asking how is that possible, it is because we bought it at Cost Co. All of the fruits and vegetables they stock have to be to their standards, that is shape, size, and weight. Especially if the produce is sold in singles, like watermelons. As they have no scales to weigh the produce, they need to be the same weight.

With that said, you may think that every watermelon in the bunch is equally as ripe and sweet. But not so. How is one able to choose the right melon?

I found this image on-line that is self explanatory. It shows how you can select the right melon, so when you cut it up and take your first bit, you won’t be dissatisfied with a non-sweet, pithy watermelon.

choosing a rip watermelon

Once you have your rip, sweet watermelon, you need to try this wonderful salad: Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad.

Here is what you will need:

chopped watermelon

Wow, doesn’t that melon look rip and juicy. You need  1 ripe and sweet watermelon, cubed at desired size, 5-7 pieces per salad plate. You will use between 1/4 and 1/2 of the melon. It all depends on how many plates you will be serving.

ingredients both for the Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad and the vinaigrette

In addition you will need:

1 shaved fennel bulb set in ice water to crisp

1/8 cup toasted hazelnuts, broken into small pieces

1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled into small pieces

1 cup Tender Greens lettuce mix (variety of lettuce and greens)

1/2 shallot, minced

The shallot will be used in the Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette.

ingredients for Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

Along with the shallots you will need the following to make the Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette to mix with the leafy greens:

5 chive stems, finely chopped

3 basil leaves, finely sliced (I forgot to mark that on the image. That is what is in the jar in the back ground)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¾ cup olive oil

 Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette


Whisk together shallots, chives, basil, honey and balsamic; slowly add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

preparing hazel nuts, and anise for the Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad


Next remove the green top from the fennel and shave the bulb allowing the shaved parts to fall into a pie plate full of  ice water to crisp the shavings. What ever method you want to use, chop the hazel nuts. I have a Progress-o Chopper in among my kitchen arsenal.


mixing salad, adding vinaigrette


In a large bowl gently toss tender greens, crisp fennel, toasted hazelnut, add some salt and pepper to taste. Next add 2 tbsp. of the vinaigrette together with the leafy greens and incorporate well.

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad


Plate the leafy greens mixture. Place cubed watermelon on salad mix, about 5 to 7 cubed pieces. Crumble goat cheese on top. Finish with drizzled vinaigrette around salad.

If you desire to add meat to this salad, cook up 12 to 16 oz. of pork bacon; but not crispy. Cut each strip into 5 or 6 slices. Top the bacon after adding watermelon and then top with goat cheese.

Take this salad to your next Pot Luck or Summer Picnic in the Park and nobody will stop talking about the person who brought that tasty and delectable salad.

This recipe adopted from: Tender Greens 


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Balsamic Vinegar Compliments More Than Just a Salad

Balsamic Vinegar Compliments More than Just a Salad

A balsamic vinaigrette dressing can turn a nominal green salad into a refreshing mixed fresh spring salad with a zest of Italian flair. Using an aged balsamic, adds a bit of gourmet into anyone’s kitchen. Send a bottle to a friend for a gift and you may turn their culinary world upside down.

“The keynote to happiness within the four walls that make any home is plain, wholesome, well cooked food, attractively served.” — Louis P. De Gouy

Balsamic Vinegar has an almost other worldly flavor that enhances nearly any food it touches. You can see a visible change on the face of someone who is trying Italian balsamic for the first time. Their face is transformed by awe and delight.

Cost and Quality

The cost of balsamic vinegar is tempered by the fact that a little bit goes a long way. Typical recipes use little more than ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, so the cost of the bottle is generally offset by the long-term usefulness and good taste of the product.

Cooking Tips

You may be interested in knowing that balsamic vinegar is used for much more than an ingredient in salad dressings. For instance, aged balsamic vinegar can be added to a bowl of fresh strawberries.

If you are a fan of fresh vegetables you should know that balsamic vinegar can make a perfect marinade for grilled veggies such as bell peppers and eggplant. That same marinade can be used when grilling fish and chicken. Red meats can also gain a complimentary taste using an Italian balsamic like Villa Bellentani.

Adding balsamic vinegar to your favorite dish or recipe will, in fact, enhance the flavor, but heat mellows the taste and may be best applied after the cooking is finished.

The blending of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil results in an incredible accent to fresh seafood as well as to fresh asparagus and artichokes.

There are even exclusive ice creams that use balsamic vinegar to create a one of kind desert. Such as drizzling a small amount of thick balsamic vinegar over vanilla ice cream is a popular dessert in Europe.

Beware though of the very inexpensive varieties due to the fact that they are often developed using caramelized brown sugar (to add color and sweetness) and common vinegar. They may also include preservatives that you could be allergic to.

Flavors Infused with Balsamic Vinegar

There is the traditional balsamic vinegar or you can buy those that are infused with different flavors such as but not limit too:

  •  Chile Balsamic Vinegar
  • Garlic Cilantro Balsamic Vinegar
  • Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • White Sesame Ginger Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cranberry Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic Vinaigrette Made Easy

Should you desire a homemade bottle of balsamic vinaigrette the instructions are as follows:

  • One part balsamic vinegar
  • Four to five parts olive oil
  • Season and pepper to taste

A teaspoon of mustard (Dijon is often preferred) per half cup of dressing

Additional ingredients can include chives, sage or finely chopped shallot or ginger root.

Image credit: cogipix / 123RF Stock Photo

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Vinaigrette’s to Complete Your Salad

Vinaigrette's to Complete Your Salad

Vinaigrette is a French culinary invention, around 1690 to 1700’s.

Vinaigrette is an emulsion of vinegar and a form of oil, such as (but not limited too) olive oil, and sometimes flavored with herbs, spices, and other ingredients. It is used most commonly as a salad dressing, but also as a cold sauce or marinade.

In some French cuisines, vinaigrette preparations are used as a cold sauce, such as with cold artichokes, asparagus, and leeks.

In general, vinaigrette consists of 3 parts of oil to 1 part of vinegar whisked into an emulsion, such as mustard. Salt and pepper are often added. Herbs, garlic, and shallots are added, especially when it is used as a sauce for cooked vegetables or grains, such as rice.

These vinaigrettes presented here are a light and tasty addition to any salad. Simply use them with a bowl of arugula and butter lettuce or your favorite mix salad greens.

The best way to mix vinaigrette with your greens, is pouring the vinaigrette into a large salad bowl first then add the greens and gently toss to completely coat, while leaving any excess dressing at the bottom of the bowl.

For all the vinaigrette preparations you will need a glass bottle with tight fitting lid for storing.

Avocado Vinaigrette  Avocado Lime Vinaigrette

This recipe is intended to eat with a salad without any left overs. The lime juice is used for flavor as well as keeping the avocado from oxidizing or turning brown.

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons avocado oil

½ teaspoon minced garlic

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash 1/2 to 1 avocado until as smooth as possible, and mix in other ingredients.


Fresh Peach Salad with a Citrus VinaigretteCitrus Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large grapefruit, peeled, pith removed, and sectioned

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, honey, grapefruit juice, and oil. Add grapefruit sections; season with salt and pepper. Keep vinaigrette in airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days.


Balsamic Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly and season with salt and pepper to taste (optional).


Herb Mustard Vinaigrette

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

2 teaspoons shallots, minced

2 Tablespoons dijon mustard

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried parsley

½ teaspoons freshly black pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cups red wine vinegar

1¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all the ingredients in a glass jar.

Screw the lid on tightly and shake.

Serve as needed. Keep refrigerated.


This following vinaigrette goes great with a Spinach Salad.

Salad with a Citrus VinaigretteRaspberry Vinaigrette

½ cup fresh raspberries

½ cup vinegar

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. basil

2 tsp. marjoram

1/2 tsp. rosemary

2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. sage

Mesh strainer or cheesecloth

Rinse the fresh raspberries and place them in a mixing bowl. Mash the raspberries with a wooden spoon to release their juices. Strain the mashed raspberries through the mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a separate mixing bowl. Discard the raspberry pulp.

Pour the vinegar and virgin olive oil into the bowl of raspberry juice. Add the Italian seasoning, sugar, basil, marjoram, rosemary, oregano and sage to the juice and stir to combine.


This vinaigrette would go great with an Asian Chopped Salad.

Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup peanut

1 tablespoon Asian toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk together grated fresh ginger, minced garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.

While whisking, slowly add peanut and toasted Asian sesame oil until emulsified. Stir in chopped fresh chives and toasted sesame seeds.


Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette 

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

1 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder

1 teaspoon lime juice

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except oil in blender and blend on low speed for ten seconds.

Next, on low speed SLOWLY pour olive oil into blender.

Chill for at least an hour.

Header Image credit: razmarinka / 123RF Stock Photo


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