Food Conversions & Cooking Times: Grains, Legumes & Pulses

Handy Kitchen Cooking Tips & Info

We’ve always encouraged everyone to cook their own grains, legumes and pulses when and where they can. Firstly, because freshly cooked food always tastes great, secondly because (hopefully) you will save some money over time and thirdly, because it’s basic and easy cooking skills that everyone can and should develop.

Avid home cooks will develop their own tried and true methods of how to cook the perfect rice and other grains (us included), but it takes practice. Don’t let this discourage you because remember, everyone had the same starting point; typically quick advice from some family and friends!

You can use the cooking instructions from packets, but even those are variable and sometimes undesirable. However, until we can develop our own cooking styles and things become second nature, it’s best to have some sort of guide.

Many years ago (after thoroughly soaking some chickpeas) we tried cooking them for the first time. Thirty-five minutes later and those things were still rock hard! We thought “what the heck is going on?!” Little did we know at the time that these legumes actually needed well over an hour to cook! We just assumed that since most beans take about 45-60mins that these would too. Cooking 101: if you are new to cooking (or a new food item), always double check the basics before getting started and don’t assume anything. It’s better to get the basics down and then you can wing it… particularly if you don’t want to waste money or are trying to make the most of your time; standing next to a pot for 1-2 hrs can be a big ‘ask’!

Last year we mentioned of how to cook chickpeas in a slow cooker; now it’s our preferred method to cook our legumes! What a time saver. Like us, not everyone uses traditional methods to cook their beans (legumes or grains); for some, the use of a pressure cooker will significantly reduce their cooking times. However, not everyone uses (or has) kitchen gadgets, so it’s always great to know how to go back to basics; which is exactly why we have created this table. It includes a variety of grains, legumes and pulses (although not exhaustive) with a comparison of dried verses cooked weights and approx. cooking times; this is particularly helpful if you come across a new food item with no idea of how to cook it (as mentioned above)!

 

Tips & Info
  • Our table tries to look at the average cooking weights by standard cooking preparation (on your stove top!); some of them are averages and some of them are estimates. However, as you can appreciate, cooking beans etc. is not a perfect system. Cooked weights of grains, legumes and pulses can vary due to a number of reasons including:

-over soaking.
-soaking beans in too little water.
-over cooking pasta or cooking it to an al dente texture.
-cooking grains in too much water.

  • When we cook our own dried pulses and legumes, we always weigh them afterwards and give an approx. equivalent for using a tinned variety.
  • Cooking times shown here are not indicative of quantities used.
  • This table does not include complete cooking instructions, e.g. if the cooking time includes steaming off the heat, tempering grains in oil, under cooking (if you’re entering your pasta straight into a sauce) and/or rinsing the grains/beans/pulses before or after cooking etc.
  • Overnight soaking typical means a time span of 8-12 hours.

Hopefully this table will give everyone (who needs it) a rough idea and a head start of how to cook grains, legumes and pulses; with any luck it will also help to organise your meal planning and prep… so you’ll have more fresh and deliciously cooked meals as a result!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

 

Sources:
-McCance and Widdowson’s ‘The Composition of Foods’. 5th Edition B Holland, A A Welch, I D Unwin, D H Buss, A A Paul and D A T Southgate. The Royal Society of Chemistry, 1991
-Feature Image: Play with your food By: Sacha Pop-Farrell_Flickr

Slow Cooker Vegan Stew With GF Dumplings

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep: 35-45 minutes
Cooking time: 7-8 Hours

This recipe was adapted from: Better Homes & Gardens

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & E, protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, iron and is low in saturated fats!

It may just be another ‘vegetable stew’ recipe to some, but I found it very satisfying, easy on my wallet and nutritious! Luckily just like any other slow cooker recipe, you only have to throw it all together and forget about it for 7 hours!  

 

 

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and chop the onion. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and finely chop the bell pepper.

 

Add the tomatoes, stock, herbs, bay leaf and water to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

 

 

Drain and wash the beans.

 

Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion, bell pepper and beans into the slow cooker. Mix together.

 

Peel, trim the ends, de-seed and chop the squash into bite-sized pieces.

I prepare the squash in this sequence because I always get sick of chopping after the third vegetable!

 

Add the squash into the slow cooker. Season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Mix together; press gently to submerge the vegetables into the liquid.

 

Turn the slow cooker onto a low heating setting. Cook for approximately 7 hours.

NB: Just in case you are wondering- its not dust! I made bread before this recipe and had a bit of a ‘flour incident’! More importantly- every time you open the slow cooker, you’ll add approx. an extra 15 minutes cooking time onto the recipe.

 

Right before the time has expired, make the dumplings.

NB: My parsley came straight from the freezer.

 

Wash and chop the parsley.

 

Place the cashews into a food processor. Blend until they are fine powder.

 

Place the flour, corn flour, baking powder and cashews into a large mixing bowl. Season it with some salt to taste. Mix together.

 

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.

 

Add the parsley, milk and oil into the centre. Mix together with a fork (until it’s ‘crumbly’ like an ‘apple crumble’ or a pastry mixture).

 

Combine the mixture with your hands.

 

Knead together into a ball.

NB: It’s wasn’t  proper kneading, more like squishing and gathering!

 

Roll the mixture between your hands to form a ball/dumpling; make 12 dumplings.

 

Add the green beans and paprika into the slow cooker. Mix together.

NB: You do not have to defrost the beans before adding them.

 

Gently place the dumplings into the stew. Press down on them gently, until they are  approximately half to three-quarters submerged.

 

Cover. Turn the heat setting up to high. Cook for a further 30-50 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked.

 

Turn off the heat. Allow it to cool down slightly. Taste and season as necessary. Remove the bay leaf with a spoon before serving (if possible).

 

Serve warm. Ladle into a large soup bowl.

NB: This bowl contains one portion (based on the recipe serving 4 people).

 

Refrigerate in an air tight container and use within 3-4 days. Alternatively, freeze some portions in separate containers; use within one month.

 

NB: Place the stew and the dumplings into two separate containers, otherwise the dumplings will try and absorb as much liquid as possible overnight and disintegrate on contact! 😦

 

If preferred…

  • Try using your favourite type of white bean instead of kidney beans; dry or tinned.
  • Experiment with the vegetable/herb combinations; use fresh or frozen vegetables.
  • I would recommend trying to make these dumplings with some (melted) low-fat soya margarine instead of oil; I think the cornflour will take to it a bit better. NB: Like all GF baked goods, they come out a bit ‘drier’ than standard versions.
  • If you are not vegan, try making the dumplings with some grated low-fat cheese and/or milk instead of nuts and DF milk.

Mexican Stuffed Butternut Squash

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 50 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, paring knife, large spoon, parchment paper, baking tray, colander, small dish, frying pan with lid

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, is low in added salt and sugars and (per serving) is low in saturated fats!

Like our other recipes here at Eat2Health, the ingredients are not dripping in oil! Eating this stuffed squash is almost like eating a taco, it’s just missing the ‘crunch factor’ and of course the infamous stains down the front of your t-shirt!

We think the hardest part about this recipe was preparing the squash (at least for us)! Other than that it’s smooth sailing…straight into a mouthful of delicious ‘Mexican’ tastes and textures. 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++++++++++800g      Butternut Squash
++++++++++++++++++++++5ml        Olive Oil
++++++++++++++++++++++                Low-fat Cooking Oil
++++++++++++++++++++++140g      White Onion
++++++++++++++++++++++8g           Garlic Clove
++++++++++++++++++++++170g      Red Bell Pepper
++++++++++++++++++++++400g      Tin Black Beans
++++++++++++++++++++++3g           Fresh Coriander
++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Chilli Flakes
++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Chilli Powder
++++++++++++++++++++++10g         Ground Cumin
++++++++++++++++++++++6g           Ground Coriander
++++++++++++++++++++++3g           Dried Onion Powder
++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Garlic Powder (unsalted)
++++++++++++++++++++++                Salt and Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++++++++++++++20g         Tomato Puree
++++++++++++++++++++++250ml    Water
++++++++++++++++++++++75g         Avocado Pear (approx ½ of a small variety)
++++++++++++++++++++++20g         Green Olives
++++++++++++++++++++++15g         Cherry Tomatoes
++++++++++++++++++++++20g         Sweet Corn Kernels (tinned or fresh)
++++++++++++++++++++++50g         Mild Salsa
++++++++++++++++++++++80g         Soya Yoghurt (plain/unsweetened)
++++++++++++++++++++++1g            Cumin Seeds

 

 

Directions

Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper.

 

  • Wash, trim the ends and then halve the squash. Tip: I a sharp bread knife can also be used to (safely!) cut through the squash.
  • De-seed; reserving and roasting the seeds later is optional! Tip: A quick job with a paring knife for this step (but feel free to use a spoon if you prefer).
  • Hollow out each side (just enough to form a shallow ‘boat shape’); please do not discard these bits of flesh. Tip: Paring knife or large spoon? Both can be used to scrape out the flesh!
  • Place the squash flesh side down onto the tray. Place the extra bits of flesh along side them. Rub both sides of the squash with oil. Spray some low-fat cooking oil on the bits of reserved flesh. Place the baking tray onto the middle oven shelf. Roast for about 20 mins.

 

 

In the meantime…

  • Peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and dice the bell pepper. Wash and drain the beans. Wash, dry and roughly chop the coriander. Place the chilli flakes, chilli powder, ground cumin and coriander, dried onion and garlic powder into a small dish; season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Place the purée into a small dish.
  • Meanwhile, remove the baking tray from the oven. Collect the extra bits of flesh and place them into a small dish. Place the baking tray back into the oven. Continue to roast the squash for another 10-15 mins, or until the flesh has softened. NB: Ours took 35 mins in total.
  • Chop the avocado into two halves; carefully remove the stone and peel and then roughly chop it. Drain and slice the olives. Wash, remove the stem and then dice the tomatoes. Drain and rinse the sweet corn; if using a fresh cob, remove the kernels from the cob, rinse and then cook before use.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Heat a non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium-low heat. Tip: Once hot, add a little water, a little at a time to steam-fry the vegetables. Add the onion and the garlic first, cover with a lid and gently steam-fry for 2 mins, or until softened. Stir and add a little more water occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking (continue this step as you add more vegetables).
  • Add the peppers, reserved squash flesh and the dish of spices and seasoning’s. Stir together. Cover and steam-fry for approximately 4-5 mins.
  • Add the beans, fresh coriander, purée and the remaining water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Steam-fry for a further 2-3 mins; remove from the heat. Season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Add any additional spices if you prefer.

 

 

Remove the roasted squash from oven.

 

 

All for under 500Kcal!

  • Transfer it onto a serving plate. Stuff each piece of squash with the bean filling. Tip: Silicone or heavy-duty oven gloves are perfect for this step!
  • Top with some salsa.
  • Add the yoghurt, avocado, olives, tomatoes and cumin seeds!

 

Enjoy!

If preferred…

  • Use your favourite type of bean! Try some pinto or black-eyed beans!
  • Grate a small portion of vegan cheese and sprinkle it over top; allow it to melt in the oven 5 mins before serving.
  • Make your own salsa instead of using a store bought one. Tip: this will allow you to regulate the sugar, salt and your spice preferences!
  • Top it with some homemade guacamole instead of avocado.
  • Swap the type of onion or olives!
  • Garnish it with some fresh coriander or parsley leaves.
  • Top it with a diced red chilli pepper or jalapeños for an extra kick!