Ok. I will be the first to admit that I don't like beans. I'm not talking about the entire legume family. I'm talking about beans you would normally find in a can: white, kidney, black, pinto, even garbanzo. It's not that I don't like the flavors they bring to dishes or how pretty some varieties can be. It all comes down to texture. I have a somewhat sensitive palate when it comes to food and things like beans tend to fall into the category of things I just can't get over.
However, as I have been moving toward a more vegetarian diet over time, I search for more creative ways to incorporate vegetables into dishes. I use beans here and there but I know I really need to eat more of them as they are a great source of protein and fiber and have great health benefits such as reducing cholesterol, controlling blood sugar spikes and help with weight loss.
So, I started down a path recently to try to figure out a way to make me like beans.
I first tried more varieties. Rather than sticking with just the common types, I tried varieties like black-eyed peas, adzuki, fava, and even spent more time with garbanzo not as hummus! I really started to appreciate the flavors and how they can really add a lot to a dish. But, I still had this dislike of the texture. I then tried moving to dried beans vs canned. I've really only used canned beans purely out of convenience. Once I started experimenting with soaking and cooking dried beans, I finally started to change my attitude!
Sure it takes a bit more time but you can certainly cook a batch or two to have ready for dishes later in the week. All it takes is a good soak overnight and a little over 1 hour to cook. Trust me, it's definitely worth it.
The hardest part is understanding the conversions between canned and dried. Most recipes call for canned beans, so here's a quick reference:
1 15oz can of any bean variety is approx 3/4 cup (4.5 oz) dried
Once you get the hang of this, you can start adding stock and other aromatics to the cooking of the beans to help enhance your dishes.
I've included a recipe for Minestrone that I really enjoy on a chilly day. Recently, I paired this with a Kale Salad to round out a late afternoon lunch with family. Have fun experimenting!