Cooking Nut Legumes Grains

THE BASICS OF COOKING WHOLE GRAINS

Cooked whole grains—served individually or in combination with one another—can make a wonderful, filling, highly textured hot cereal for breakfast. I recommend that you go to your favorite natural food store and visit the bulk bins, where you will find many different grains. Buy small amounts of several kinds, and experiment with cooking them some evening when you will be home anyway doing other things.

Preparation is about as basic as it gets: If you can boil water, you can cook whole grains. In fact, boiling water is all you need to do. After that, the grains basically cook themselves (your biggest challenge is to remember they are on the stove). Some grains need to cook longer than others, and different types absorb varying amounts of water. But with the exception of couscous and bulgur, which aren’t really whole grains and need only to be soaked in hot water, the cooking method is essentially the same across the board.

This is what you do:

  • Parch the grains: Toast in a 350°F oven until golden and aromatic, or heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the grains and cook until the start to pop and become aromatic.
  • Add the prescribed amount of hot liquid and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to the slowest possible, cover tightly, and cook until all the water is absorbed. Don’t peek or stir until the recommended simmering time has passed.
  • If any of the water remains after the grains have become tender, just drain it off. Conversely, if the grains are crunchier than you’d like them, or they’re too dry, add a little water (up to ¼ cup) and let them cook 5 minutes longer.
  • For a fluffy result, lightly comb through the cooked grains with a fork to let the steam escape. If you like the grains to be more like porridge, keep the pot covered after removing it from the heat, and let it sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes before serving.
  • All kinds of grains can be cooked in advance and reheated in a microwave or gently on the stove top with a little extra liquid added. So you can refrigerate cooked grains for up to several days and just reheat them as needed in the morning.
  • Various types of cooked grains combine beautifully with one another. For optimal results, cook them separately per their individual requirements, then combine them only after they are done. (The only exception to this is millet and quinoa, which cook together really well. See the chart on the following page.) When mixing different grains, aim for balance of flavor and texture; for example, combine intense, bitter, chewy types with fluffier, sweeter ones.
  • Accoutrements are always welcome. Consider adding any of the following to cooked grains: fresh and/or dried fruit, toasted nuts, seeds, coconut, honey, or pure maple syrup, milk or cream, and even a touch of butter.
GRAIN AND RICE COOKING CHART
Grain Description Grain to Water Ratio Cooking Time Yield
Amaranth Glutinous and sweet,very nutritious. 1 cup of grain to 1 ½ cups of water or stock Simmer 2-minutes 2 cups
Barley,
Pearled
Very chewy and slightly
sweet.
1 cup of grain
to 2 cups of
water
Simmer 50
minutes or
until tender
4 cups
Buckwheat
Groats/Kasha
Pungent and nutty. 1 cup of grain
to 1.5 cups of
water
Simmer 10
minutes
3 ½
cups
Bulgur,
Coarse
Slightly sweet and very
nutty.
1 cup of grain
in 1 ½ cups of
water or stock
Simmer 15 – 20
minutes
3 cups
Bulgur, fine Slightly sweet and very
nutty.
1 cup of grain
soaked in cold
water to cover
for 10 minutes.
Drain. Fluff.
No cooking
involved
3 cups
Farro Slightly sweet and
earthy. Another ancient
form of wheat.
1 cup of grain
to 2 cups of
water or stock
Simmer 45-55
minutes
3 cups
Kamut Slightly sweet and
earthy. Another ancient
form of wheat.
1 cup of grain
to 2 cups of
water or stock
Simmer 45-55
minutes
3 cups
Millet Slightly bitter, very high
in protein.
1 cup of grain
to 1 cup of
water
Simmer 15-20
minutes
2 cups
Oat Groats Sweet, chewy whole
grain from which rolled
oats are made.
1 cup of grain
to 2.5 cups of
water
Simmer 40 to
45 minutes
3 ½
cups
Polenta Rich and creamy corn
flavor
1 cup of grain
to 4 – 6 cups of
water or stock
depending on
final use. Cakes
use 4 cups.
Creamy
polenta use 5 –
6 cups of liquid
Simmer 45 – 55
minutes
5-6
cups
Quinoa A tiny high protein, high
calcium grain. Taste is
quite bitter and
distinctive. Combines
well with other grains
after cooking.
1 cup of grain
to 1 ¼ cup of
water
Simmer 15 - 20
minutes
2 cups
Fluffy Quinoa
and Millet
A wonderful, highprotein
combination. A
rare partnership, in that
you can successfully
cook these two together.
1 cup each of
millet and
quinoa to 2 ¼
cups of water
Simmer 15-20
minutes,
transfer to a
pan, spread
out, and fluff
with a fork.
4 cups
Rye Berries Very bitter and intense
and terminally chewy.
Best used in baking or
combined with other
grains.
1 cup of grain
to 2 cups of
water or stock
Simmer 25-35
minutes
3 cups
Rice, Brown
including
Basmati,
Japanese,
Jasmine
Slightly sweet and nutty
tasting.
1 cup of soaked
grain to 2.5
cups of water
Simmer 35-45
minutes
3 ½
cups
Rice, Wild Pleasantly bitter. 1 cup of grain
to 2.5 cups of
water
Simmer 60
minutes or
until tender
4 cups
Spelt Slightly sweet and
earthy. An ancient form
of wheat.
1 cup of grain
to 1.5 cups of
water or stock
Simmer 50-60
minutes
2 cups
Teff Mild, nutty flavor 1 cup of grain
to 1 cups of
water, soak 10
minutes, drain
No Cooking 2 cups
Teff, creamy Mild, nutty flavor Creamy Teff: 1
cup of grain to
3 cups liquid
Simmer 20
minutes
3 cups
Triticale,
wheat and
rye hybrid
Slightly nutty, rye flavor
with chewy texture
1 cup of grain
to 2.5 cups of
water or stock
Simmer 50-60
minutes
2-3
cups
Wheat Berries Slightly sweet and
earthy.
1 cup of grain
to 2.5 cups of
water or stock
Simmer 30 to
45 minutes for
hard (red)
wheat, shorter
for soft (white)
wheat
3 cups
Wheat,
Cracked
Sweet and earthy. Not
really a whole grain, as it
is literally cracked.
Included here because it
makes great breakfast
cereal.
1 cup of grain
to 2 cups of
water
Simmer 10
minutes
3 ½
cups

 

LEGUMES

Legumes: The seeds that grow in pods. These seeds can be used in the kitchen either fresh or dried. When fresh, they are treated as a vegetable. Dried, they are collectively known as legumes. Legumes are a source of many nutrients and are particularly high in protein.

Peas, beans, and lentils, collectively called pulses or legumes, are a rich source of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals. Legumes cooked on their own can be used in appetizers, soups, salads, and entrées. When mixed with a cooked grain, they will make a total complement in regard to the amino acid content. Creating more elaborate dishes featuring a legume as the main ingredient in the entrée will give a higher protein value to the item.

Pick through beans prior to cooking to remove stones or debris.
Rinse beans under cool water prior to cooking.

Soaking the legumes helps considerably with the digestive factor. Generally, 12 to 24 hours is a good guideline for soaking legumes. Place beans in a container and cover with three to four inches of water and let soak for the desired amount of time.

If time constraints preclude soaking, use the Quick Soaking Method.
QUICK-SOAK METHOD: When time is limited, rinse and pick over beans, put them into a stock pot and cover with three to four inches of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes to remove toxins. Then cover and allow to soak for one hour. Discard the soak water, add fresh water and cook until tender.

In cooking legumes, pay constant attention to the liquid level; over a prolonged period of cooking time the liquid will evaporate. When cooking beans, start by covering the beans with three to four inches of water. Bring the beans to a simmer; skim off any scum that rises to the top of the container. Let simmer until tender, adding more liquid as needed to keep the beans submerged throughout the cooking process.

Thoughts about the cooking/use of legumes
Avoid adding salt to legumes until toward the end of the cooking time, as it causes them to harden and therefore they will take longer to cook. Other seasonings should also be added toward the end of the cooking time; otherwise they tend to neutralize and the flavors become lost. Lentils and split peas are the exception to the rule; for these two items, seasonings can be added at the start of the cooking action.

When reheating a dish that is comprised of beans, adjustment of the seasoning is very important as flavors are lost through the cooling action.

Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) should never be added to beans to speed up the cooking process as the alkalinity of this product will destroy the vitamin content in the beans.

Keep water that beans have been cooked in. This is an excellent flavorful stock that can be used to enhance the overall taste of the dish.

Final yield of beans: dried beans will yield between 2 to 2-½ times their original yield.

Bean Soaking and Cooking Chart
Bean Hours to Soak Cooking Time Yield
Adzuki beans 2 to 3 hours 45 mins – 1 hour 3 cups
Anasazi 12 hours to
overnight
45 mins to 1 hour 2 ¼ cup
Black beans 12 hours to
overnight
1 – 1 ½ hours or until tender 4 cups
Black-eyed
peas
12 hours to
overnight
45 mins to 1 hour 2 cups
Fava beans,
skins removed
12 hours to
overnight
45 mins to 1 hour 1 ½ cups
Cannelini
beans
12 hours to
overnight
1 hour – 1 ½ hours 2 ½ cups
Great Northern
White beans
12 hours to
overnight
1 – 1 ½ hours or until tender 2 ½ - 3 cups
Garbanzo 12 hours to
overnight
1 ½ - 2 hours or until tender 2 ½ - 3 cups
Kidney beans,
red
12 hours to
overnight
1 – 1 ½ hours or until tender 2 ½ cups
Borlotti beans 12 hours to
overnight
1 – 1 ½ hours or until tender 2 ½ - 3 cups
Lima,
christmas
12 hours to
overnight
1 - 1 ½ hours or until tender 2 cups
Pinto beans 12 hours to
overnight
1 - 1 ½ hours or until tender 2 2/3 cup
Flageolets 12 hours to
overnight
1 - 1 ½ hours or until tender 2 cups
Lentils, brown Do not soak Simmer 20 minutes 2 ¼ cups
Lentils, green Do not soak Simmer 20 minutes 2 cups
Lentils, red Do not soak Simmer 20 minutes 2 ¼ cups
Mung beans 1 hour Simmer 50-60 minutes 2-3 cups
Navy beans 12 hours to
overnight
1 - 1 ½ hours or until tender 3 cups
Pink beans 12 hours to
overnight
1 - 1 ½ hours or until tender 3 ½ cups
Pinto beans 12 hours to
overnight
1 - 1 ½ hours or until tender 3 ½ cups
Soya beans 12 hours to
overnight
2 - 3 hours or until tender 3 ½ cups
Navy, white,
beans
12 hours to
overnight
1 - 1 ½ hours or until tender 2 ½ cups

 

A GLOSSARY OF BEANS

Appaloosa  A new pinto hybrid from the Palouse area of the Northwest. Two-toned lavender, tan, and white.

Adzuki  A small, oval, dark-red bean with a white ridge, grown and eaten in China and Japan for centuries. Great for Southwestern dishes or mixed with pasta for salads.

Anasazi  A red and palomino-colored bean. Named for the Anasazi cliff dwelling people of the dessert Southwest, these beans were found in the ruins by settlers in the early 1900s. A good allpurpose bean.

Baccicia Mottled red and white medium-sized bean. Excellent for soups and Italian dishes.

Beluga lentils  Tiny fast-cooking black lentils which hold their shape quite well. These lentils are smaller than other lentil varieties and resemble caviar when cooked. Wonderful for lentil beds, garnishes, soups, and salads.

Black turtle A small shiny jet-black bean. It is the basis for many Caribbean and Latin American soups and side dishes.

Black valentine  An heirloom black bean which is small and has an elongated round shape. An all-purpose bean that can be eaten fresh or dried.

Borlotti  Related to the cranberry bean. It is a medium-sized bean mottled with magenta. Used in Italian dishes.

Brown  A small oval brown bean also known as Swedish beans because of their popularity in Sweden.

Calypso  Has crisp black and white markings. Excellent for baking.

Cannellini  Large Italian white kidney bean which originally came from Argentina. It is excellent for minestrone and Mediterranean dishes. It has a smooth texture with a nutty flavor.

China yellow  Also known as sulfur beans due to their pale yellow color.

Chana dal  Split and polished baby garbanzo beans. Dal refers to split or cooked pulses. It is very sweet tasting, resembles sweet corn. Can be an interesting addition to soups, salads, and rice dishes.

Christmas lima  Large burgundy and white markings. Has a subtle taste of chestnuts and superb in casseroles and salads.

Cranberry  Mottled ivory-colored with cranberry red markings. It has a firm texture and is great for baking. New Englanders call them cranberry; Midwesterners, October; Southerners, shellouts; and Italians, borlotto rosecoco.

European soldier  Well-known in early New England. Long, white with a red “toy soldier” profile marking. Great for soups.

Fava  An ancient bean (dates back to pre-biblical Egyptian antiquity) which was called the broad bean or horse bean. Good in soups and salads. Must blanch 15-20 minutes to remove outer seed coat.

Flageolets  Originated in the Americas but cultivated and made popular in France and Italy. Pale mint-green color. Classic of French country dishes, particularly good with thyme and in lamb dishes.

French navy  Globular white with green tinge, smaller than marrow. Deliciously tender, excellent with seafood, soups, and salads.

Garbanzo  Also called chickpeas and ceci nuts. These are pale gold and round with a beet-like sprout. Used in African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Italian dishes such as falafel, hummus, salads, pasta dishes, and soups.

Great northern  A medium-sized white bean grown commercially in Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

Jacob’s cattle  Named this because they resemble the spotted and speckled cattle raised by Jacob in the bible. A sweet, fat, and fine grained bean.

Lima  Available in various sizes: Large limas known as butter beans, small limas are also available. The small limas are preferred for their buttery texture.

Mung  Small, round ancient bean commonly used for sprouting by Chinese and Indians. Also used dried, either whole or split.

Jackson wonder  Popular in Atlanta in the 1880s. Mottled shades of buff and purplishbrown. Great for soups.

Marrow  Plump white beans with a creamy texture. Larger than French navy. Popular in the United States in the 1850’s as a baking bean. Slight bacon or smoky flavor. Purées nicely—great for soups.

Pink  Pale, pinkish red version of a kidney bean. Similar to a pinto bean.

Pinquito  An heirloom variety of a pink bean.

Painted pony  Brown and white markings, resembles appaloosas. Versatile for “chuck wagon style” cooking, soups, and side dishes.

Paris bistro soup  Top-quality mixture of 15 legumes with barley. Makes a great vegetarian soup.

Petite crimson lentils  About 1/3 the normal size of lentils of which we are accustomed to. Decorticated (outer seed cover removed) and cooks in four to six minutes. Not necessary to soak. Versatile for soups, salads, and garnishes. If cooked longer than twenty minutes becomes a golden-colored purée.

Petite French green lentils  Previously imported from France and now grown domestically. Hold their shape when cooked, and make a delicious side dish or a bed for meats, fish, or game.

Rattlesnake  An attractive new pinto hybrid. Growing pods twist just like snakes. Speckled brown or tan. Superb for Southwestern chili.

Rice  Resemble plump grains of rice. Quick cooking, tender, and slightly sweet. Add to soups, casseroles, or vegetable dishes. Date back to 1860s in
Germany.

Scarlet runner  An heirloom bean with deep violet and black markings. A large bean which can be picked young and eaten pod and all. It has a sweet taste and excellent tossed with new potatoes or with a salad.

Snow cap A kidney bean with tomato flavor. It retains its markings when cooked. A snowy cap at one end with warm beige and brown markings. Great in creamy soups or chowders.

Spanish pardina  Also known as Spanish brown lentils or Continental lentils. This is the lentil that Italians, Greeks, and other Mediterraneans are accustomed to cooking with. These small lentils have a nutty flavor and hold their shape when cooked. Slightly larger than petite lentils.

Spanish tolosanas  Distinctive cinnamon and claret-brown color. Go nicely with clams or other seafood. Creamy texture.

Swedish brown  The real Swedish bruna conor (baked beans with bacon). Rich mocha color and great for baking.

Tongues of fire  Italians call these beans borlotto lingua di fuoco. A relative on cranberry beans. Mottled tan-colored with burgundy markings. Firm texture and great for baking. Popular in Italian and Portuguese cooking.

Tepari  A very old Mexican bean resembling a navy bean. Not common in this country yet, but it is gaining popularity and now grown in Arizona.

White emergo  Also known as sweet white runners. White and large, slightly irregular in shape. Creamy and sweet, can be used in soups and salads.

Yellow eye  Yellow beans with a dark spot or “eye” on a cream colored bean. Also known as molasses face. Date back to the 1860s in Maine and Vermont. In Boston, commonly used for baked beans because of their flavor. Preferred for hoppin’ John in parts of the South.

NUT AND SEED TOASTING CHART

Toasting adds depth of flavor and improved the texture of nuts and seeds. When heat is applied to nuts and seeds, the natural oils are released. During this process, the nuts flavor deepen and the texture become crisp and crunchy. Why toast nuts? Not only does toasting develop flavor and texture, but toasted nuts can hold up to strong flavor and maintain their texture in baked goods and salads.

In baked goods, it is best to toast nuts prior to adding to batters and doughs. Raw nuts placed in batters and doughs are insulated by the batter. They will not get hot enough to toast during the baking process.

NUT GLOSSARY

Nut: Hard shelled dry fruit or seed with a separate rind or shell and an interior kernel

Common types of nuts used in the food service industry

Name: Almond
Origin:
Southwestern Asia, now cultivated in California
Form:
Whole in shell, shelled, shelled blanched with skin removed, sliced blanched or natural, cut in spikes, ground, flour, paste, oil
Flavor:
Mild slightly sweet
Uses:
Hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, desserts and pastries

Name: Cashew
Origin: Tropics, cultivated in India, Thailand and Malaysia
Form: Shelled, roasted, broken pieces
Flavor: Mild nutty flavor when roasted
Uses: Hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, soaked for cashew cream, desserts and pastries

Name: Chestnut
Origin: United States and Europe
Form: Whole fresh, shelled dried, flour, purée or paste
Flavor: Mild nut flavor, stronger if roasted
Uses: Purees, hot and cold savory preparations, desserts

Name: Filbert, Hazelnut
Origin: Europe and U.S.; much of the supply comes from the Northwestern U.S.
Form: Whole, shelled natural, blanched, sliced blanched and natural, flour, oil
Flavor: Mild flavor
Uses: Hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, desserts and
pastries

Name: Peanuts
Origin: Grown widely in Southeastern U.S.
Form: Whole in shell, roasted, shelled, chopped, flour, butter, oil
Flavor: Strong nutty flavor when roasted
Uses: Soups, Asian sauces, hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, desserts and pastries

Name: Pecan
Origin: Tree is native to North America, cultivated in Southern U.S.
Form: Whole in shells, halves, pieces, oil
Flavor: High in oil, volatile flavor, can taste rancid if not stored properly
Uses: Salads, vegetables, hot and cold savory preparations, desserts and pastries

Name: Pine Nuts
Origin: Seeds of pine cones from certain species of evergreen trees. Most common comes from Italian stone pine tree
Form: Whole shelled. Note: pine nuts must be stored properly or they may become rancid because of their high fat content
Flavor: Sweet aroma and flavor
Uses: Salads, couscous, kibbeh filling, hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, desserts and pastries

Name: Pumpkin Seeds
Origin: Cultivated pumpkins native to Central America and Mexico.
Form: Whole, shelled, oil
Flavor: High in oil, volatile flavor, can taste rancid if not stored properly
Uses: Salads, moles, Latin sauces, hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, desserts and pastries

Name: Sesame Seeds
Origin: Wild species native to sub-Saharan Africa. Cultivated type originated in India.
Form: Hulled, black, white, oil. Varieties include Heirloom Benne Seeds
Flavor: High in oil, volatile flavor, can taste rancid if not stored properly
Uses: Salads, moles, blended into marinades and sauces, hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, desserts and pastries

Name: Sunflower Seeds
Origin: Native to North America, domesticated by Native Americans
Form: Whole, hulled, flour, oil
Flavor: High in oil, volatile flavor, can taste rancid if not stored properly
Uses: Salads, blended into marinades and sauces, hot and cold savory preparations, nut butters, desserts and pastries

Name: Walnut (black)
Origin: One of 15 walnuts (including Persian, English, California) grown in the eastern half of the U.S., common in soil with limestone
Form: Halves, pieces, oil
Flavor: Stronger, more pronounced flavor than the English walnut which is the type most commonly used
Uses: Eastern Mediterranean sauces, hot and cold food, nut butters, desserts and pastries

METHOD FOR OVEN ROASTING

Oven Toasting Method works best for large sized nuts and when toasting volume. .

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. (do not skip this step)
  2. Place nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Place the oven and cook until golden brown.
  4. Stir the nuts periodically to insure even cooking. Timing will vary based on the size of the nut and amount on the baking sheet. Remove from oven once the nuts are golden brown. The nuts will continue to cook slightly once removed from the oven.
  5. Remove from the baking sheet.

STOVE TOP TOASTING

The stove top toasting method for nuts works well with small nuts and seeds.

  1. Place the nuts or seeds in a sauté pan in a single layer.
  2. Heat over medium heat and stir constantly to insure even browning. The parts of the nut that are in direct contact with the pan may become darker, so it is important to stir during the cooking process.
  3. Remove from pan to cool.

STOVE TOP TOASTING OF NUTS WITH OIL

This method includes the addition of oil in the stove top method. This resulting nuts work well for salads or cooking, but would not be recommended for baked products.

  1. Toss the nuts with oil to coat. Place the nuts in a sauté pan in a single layer.
  2. Heat over medium heat and stir constantly to insure even browning. The parts of the nuts that are in direct contact with the pan may become darker, so it is important to stir during the cooking process.
  3. Remove from pan to cool.

NOTES: The cooking times will vary depending on the size of the nuts, the amount placed in the oven and the temperature of the oven prior to placing in the oven. Larger nuts will take longer. The more nuts being toasted on the baking sheet, the longer it will take. It is best to defrost nuts prior to roasting.
When toasting multiple types of nuts, it is best to toast then on separate baking sheet.

Nut Pan Toasting Oven Toasting Time
Almonds (sliced) Yes 7-10 minutes
Almonds (whole) 10 minutes
Cashews (whole) 10 – 12 minutes
Chestnuts (whole) 25 minutes
Hazelnuts (whole) 12-15 minutes
Macadamia Nuts (whole) 12-15 minutes
Peanuts (in shell) 15-20 minutes
Peanuts (shelled) 20-25 minutes
Pecans (whole) 10-12 minutes
Pine Nuts (whole) Yes 4 – 5 minutes
Pistachios (whole) 10-12 minutes
Pumpkin seeds Yes 8–10 minutes
Sesame seeds Yes 6 – 8 minutes
Sunflower seeds Yes 8 minutes
Walnuts (whole) 10-12 minutes