(don’t mind the spoon and mug…I couldn’t find a tall zombie glass to display it in)
In Vegetarian Cuisine we are learning so much about the different vegetarian diets and how to achieve meeting your requirements for carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc. Two weeks about our class was all about legumes and protein alternatives.
Legumes are seeds in pods and include: beans (garbanzo, kidney, mung, soy, anasazi, and more) and Lentils. All of these are great gluten-free options as well as vegetarian and vegan. When looking at legumes you want to make sure that they are fresh looking, uniform in size, no holes (little bugs may have gotten in), brightly colored, and free of dust.
There is so much that can be done with legumes: soups, meat alternatives, breads, flours, you can use them in salads, and ice creams. If you are using fresh beans (beans not from a can) you want to soak them before cooking them. Beans should be soaked for at least four hours but no more than 8. To start you want to sort through the beans and look for the things listed above, discard any beans that fall into those categories. Rinse the beans, and soak them in 4 x the amount of water (1 up of beans = 4 cups water), rise them again and discard the soaking liquid, then cook as directed.
When you are cooking beans you do not want to add any salt or anything acidic to the water – they wont cook!! Salt or season the beans after they have been completely cooked. If you shy away from beans because you experience gas after eating them a few tricks to reduce this is – eat more of them! Over time your digestive system will adjust to the beans. Soaking the beans also helps – be sure to change the water at least 2 times during the soaking process, and also adding Kombu, fennel or cumin to the water while cooking helps to easily digest the beans.
Cooked beans can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for about 3-4 days or frozen for up to one year.
I was assigned to make a beverage with using legumes. I thought for a minute and came up with a smoothie using tofu and garbanzo beans. I found some fresh mango in our kitchen and orange juice as well. I mixed all together and it tasted good but I felt it needed a little something extra…curry powder. I know this all sounds weird, but it is mighty delicious! The curry powered is not overwhelming at all, it is just a little hint at the end. This would be perfect in the summer on a hot day, nutritious and delicious.
Curry Mango Smoothie
Garbanzo beans, cooked 4 ounces
Silken Tofu 4 ounces
Mango, fresh or frozen 4 ounces
Orange juice 4 ounces
Honey 2 teaspoons
Curry powder ¼ teaspoon
Ice 8 ounces
Method of Preparation:
1. Gather all ingredients and equipment.
2. Cut mango (see Chef’s Notes) and set aside.
3. In the pitcher of a blender add the garbanzo beans (if using canned, rinse and drain well), silken tofu, mango, orange juice, honey, and curry powder. Cover tightly with lid.
4. Blend on high-speed until smooth.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
6. Add ice and blend until ice is well blended.
7. Serve immediately.
Chef’s Notes: How to cut a mango: Place the mango on one of its flat sides on a cutting board. Slice the mango lengthwise around the seed. Turn the mango over and repeat on the other side. Set aside the seed and remaining mango flesh. Carefully with a paring knife cut the mango with a cross-hatch pattern. Be sure to not cut through the skin. Invert the mango half by placing your thumbs on each end, and your fingers underneath on the skin. Press upwards with your fingers and then with the paring knife, cut off the cross-hatch cubes of mangos. Repeat with other side. Discard the skin. Cut the remaining mango flesh from the seed. With a paring knife remove skin from the mango flesh and cut into cubes. Discard skin.