Healthy and Delicious: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Beans and Lentils

Beans and lentils are staple foods enjoyed across the world. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and a variety of micronutrients. However, some people avoid eating beans and lentils because they contain anti-nutrients, which can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients.

In this article, we will discuss the best way to cook beans and lentils to maintain nutrition and eliminate anti-nutrients.

What are anti-nutrients?

Anti-nutrients are naturally occurring compounds found in many plant-based foods, including beans and lentils. They include substances such as lectins, phytates, and protease inhibitors. These compounds can cause digestive issues and can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients. However, anti-nutrients can be eliminated or reduced through proper cooking techniques. Keep reading to learn more.

Ways to reduce anti-nutrients

A common method is soaking. Place beans or lentils in a large pot and cover with water. Allow them to soak at least 8 hours or overnight. Boiling is the next step that helps to further break down the anti-nutrients and makes the beans and lentils more digestible. First, place them in a large pot and cover them with water. Next, bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the legumes until they are tender. Another method is pressure cooking pre soaked beans or lentils. Using an electric pressure cooker, you can even set the cooking time and temperature to reduce babysitting to a bare minimum.

And, cooking beans in this kind of instant pot has its own issues. Besides leaching toxins from the metal insert, it also destroys nutrients with its harsh heat. Moreover, soaking beans is a time consuming process and a hassle for some. And lastly, cooking beans in a pressure cooker makes them mushy.

This begs the question – is there a fast and healthy way of cooking beans and lentils? Luckily yes, there is a stovetop pressure cooker that not only cooks non-toxic, but also breaks down anti-nutrients and preserves nutrients at the same time. Surprised? There’s more.

How Miriams pots pressure cooks beans and lentils

Miriam’s Earthen Cookware is a US-based cookware brand handmaking pots and pans from lab tested primary clay. This purest form of clay is naturally inert and makes pots that can give electric pressure cookers a run for their money. Unlike metal pots, these non-toxic pressure cooker pots radiate unique Far-infrared heat that cooks each food particle from inside out thoroughly breaking down the anti-nutrients making it easily and fully digestible in the gut. That’s why people who cook their beans in these pots dont’s have any complaints of bloating or indigestion! You can use unsoaked beans or lentils which significantly reduces preparation time.

The pot naturally locks steam unlike a pressure cooker steam valve which releases excessive steam. Steam is essentially water soluble nutrients and almost all of them are lost through the steam vent in a conventional pressure cooker. The ergonomically designed pot and lid release excessive steam naturally unlike rapid release of steam through a conventional pressure release valve.

The excellent heat retention by MEC clay makes these pots the most energy efficient pressure pots out there (read more).

These pots sport a simple 2-piece design – no quick release pressure valve, no gasket and no handles, which means no hard-to-reach corners while cleaning. You can clean it using water and baking soda using a mild scrubbing brush like coconut coir.

Healthy tips for pressure cooking beans in MEC

  1. Cooking dry beans is healthier than frozen beans or canned beans as the latter are treated with chemical based preservatives.
  2. When cooking dried beans, rinse and place them in MEC pot. Add enough cooking liquid to cover them about 2 inches (typically two cups water to half cup beans). Start your gas stove on low, cover lid and raise heat to medium-low (medium, if using electric cooktop) once the pot is warm (approx. 5-10 minutes).
  3. You can turn the heat off once the beans are tender, they will continue to cook passively using heat absorbed in the pot. The cooked beans stay warm for 3-4 hours so there is no need to reheat before serving.
  4. MEC pots become naturally non-stick once fully seasoned (learn more), so there is no need add oil or fats first. You can either cook completely oil free or add healthy oils like olive oil towards the end.
  5. Using MEC, you can pressure cook pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, white beans, red beans, great northern beans and so on either individually or by combining two or more beans, if they have similar cooking times. People often have beans or lentils as a side dish but if you have them with white or brown rice, they become a wholesome dish that can be your main course.
  6. Softer beans have shorter cook times, however, for larger beans such as black beans, pinto beans or kidneys, you can choose to shorten cooking time by pre soaking in hot water for an hour or so, before boiling, while you prepare your side ingredients like onions, tomatoes, herbs etc.

There are many healthy ways to enjoy beans or lentils – you can soak beans to make sprouts or use boiled tender beans to make a salad. Cooking your favorite recipes in MEC makes them extra delicious as the ingredients retain their natural flavor and aroma. They also retain their texture better than conventionally pressure cooked beans. And cooking time is reduced.

Eating these nutritionally rich beans and lentils cooked in MEC keeps you full for longer. By digesting easily, they allow the body to use the nutrients more efficiently, resulting in improved energy levels. Eating such foods also prevents indigestion and other stomach issues, which can further improve your metabolism.

Now that you know the healthiest way to cook your favorite beans and lentils, why don’t you order a pressure pot from MEC’s online Store and say goodbye to the anti-nutrients.


Published by

Sachin Sharma

I hail from a small but popular city of India known as Kurukshetra, mentioned numberless times in Indian/Hindu mythology because of some amazing historical events that supposedly took place there. I have done B.Tech in Information Technology but I decided not to be a Software Engineer as my qualification would have me be because it was all such a cliché. I love to live like a free spirit and do whatever I feel like doing at any moment. I have tried to work in multiple fields but none of them was interesting enough to keep me tied-up for too long. I am a typical Freelancer. I know I am destined to achieve greatness but when and how, I don't know yet.

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