Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart…

…”the more you eat, the more you fart. The more you fart, the better you feel, let’s have beans at every meal!” If that old adage  is true, my heart should be super healthy!  As committed vegetarians, Michael and I eat a lot of beans. You may have noticed the picture of the dried beans I used in the background of this blog’s homepage-they’re a variety I’m crazy about, called Hopi Orange Limas and I grow them because they’re drought resistant, taste fabulous, and they’re beautiful. Here, take a look:

 But, even if we weren’t vegheads, we’d still eat a lot of beans.There’s lots of reasons to include beans in our meals, but the most obvious is that, in terms of nutritional bank for our buck, beans really are a great value. As a matter of fact, we don’t even bother to grow dried beans anymore, unless they are a  hard-to-find variety. Common varieties of dried beans cost only a bit over $1.00 a pound and when cooked, plump up to six cups of fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and are low in fat. If you cook them in the pressure cooker, there’s no need to soak them, and they’re done in about 15 minutes. This post  discusses the ease of pressure cooking, and how I freeze them in 2 cup quantities, which is what many bean-y recipes call for. Now that we’ve gotten to know each other so well, I thought a peek inside my freezer would give you an idea of how much we love beans: peppers, bread, corn and ‘soup stuff’ on the bottom, but the whole top shelf is dedicated to cooked beans!


We use ’em in soups, casseroles, salads, salsa, hummus, burritos, tacos, in crock pot meals, Indian dals, and any other way you can think of. Here’s the thing: with the huge variety of meals and beans, we never get tired of them. All that said, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite bean-y recipes. No chopping to this recipe, which is a plus for me. Let me know if you try it!

PS Mustard and coriander seeds, dried coconut, sea salt, turmeric and the yellow split peas can be purchased in bulk (read: cheaper, and no packaging waste) at the Mennonite Bulk Food Store in Chuckey. This store will definitely be listed in the soon-to-come ‘Local Resource Guide’.


5 tsp sesame or canola oil

2 T. yellow split peas

1 tsp coriander seeds (let some of your cilantro go to seed and harvest it)

2-4 dried Thai or cayenne chilies (I’ve used all kinds of dried chilies for this recipe)

2 cups water

1 tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds

3 cups chickpeas, drained

2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt

1/4 tsp turmeric (studies show that including turmeric in your daily diet can help prevent Alzheimer’s, a real concern for me personally)

1/2 cup shredded, dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted in water

2 T finely chopped cilantro

In a medium saucepan over medium high, heat the oil. Add the split peas, coriander seeds and chilies. Cook, stirring constantly, until the split peas and seeds are reddish-brown and the chilies have blackened slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, skim off the spices and transfer them to a plate to cool for about 5 minutes. Do not discard the oil.

Once the spices are cool, put them in a spice grinder and grind until the texture resembles that of finely ground black pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the water and tamarind paste. Whisk to dissolve the paste.

Return the saucepan to medium-high heat. When the oil is warmed, add the mustard seeds. Cover the pan and cook until the seeds have stopped popping (about 30 seconds)

Stir in the chickpeas, salt and turmeric. Stir to coat the peas evenly with the spices. Pour in tamarind water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas absorb the flavors, about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the ground spices, reconstituted coconut, and cilantro.

Start to finish: 25 minutes!

Makes 8 servings (IF you eat like a bird!)

I serve this over basmati or brown rice, add a salad and a side of greens, with chapatis or naan bread and herbal tea for a complete meal


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

SUCH a fabulous recipe! I’ve printed it to keep.
Got a question about the pressure cooking of beans. Is there such a thing as a non-aluminum pressure cooker at a reasonable price? Been a long time since I looked for one.
Love your blog, Sam.

Comment by Ellie Hjemmet

Found this one for $20 on Craigslist, not sure if it’s stainless or aluminum but you might give ’em a call! Here’s another in Gray: http://tricities.craigslist.org/hsh/2913387436.html
Hope this helps!

Comment by simpleintn

Thanks, Sam. I’ve never used Craig’s List before! The two you linked were Mirro— thus, aluminum. There was another one in Afton TN for $30 I have sent an inquiry about. It was a “Cooks Essential.” which I found is indeed stainless and runs over $100 new. Unfortunately my research also turned up some really bad reviews about it failing after just a few uses. So I sent a note to the seller asking a couple of questions. Appreciate you pointing m e in that direction. I’d never have thought of it without your recommendation.

Comment by Ellie Hjemmet

Oh, I didn’t know about Mirro being aluminum. Mine’s Presto and is stainless if that helps any. If you can get a stainless for $30, you might seriously consider it. Good luck!

Comment by simpleintn

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