How do you cook your beans? \\ Tu les cuis comment, toi, les légumineuses?

If you are vegetarian or vegan, beans become an important part of your diet. Because I like to save money on food, I like to buy dried beans instead of canned because they are so much cheaper! To make sure that we always have a variety of beans available, I usually cook big batches of beans at the same time, and keep them in individual portions in my freezer. That way, I can mix and match different bean types every day very easily. It’s also great for days when I don’t want to cook because all you have to do is toss a few portions of beans with some curry spices and a few tomatoes and, BAM, instant curry! Magic!

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I wanted to write this post because many people have asked me how I managed my beans (that’s quite a title, bean manager!) and how I cooked them.

  1. Make sure you soak your dried beans overnight in plenty of water: this will help them soften and will shorten the cooking time. Most beans usually expend triple in volume once soaked. Make sure you add at least 1 or 2 inches (3 to 6 cm) of water above their level so that they are not interrupted halfway through their soaking.
  2. Drain the beans and do NOT cook them in their soaking water. As they are soaking, the beans will release some indigestible sugars which can cause bloating and gas. Also, you want to keep in mind that beans are usually not washed before drying to avoid molding. So, the soaking water might contain impurities that you don’t want to eat. That’s why it’s also important to rinse them well after they have been drained.
  3. Time to cook! Place your beans in a large saucepan and cover them with water until there are about 2 inches (6cm) of water on top of everything. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to let simmer. By doing this you make sure that the beans will come out of their cooking whole and not mushy. You know your beans are ready when you can mash them with a fork. It usually takes between 1 or 2 hours. Keep an eye on them to make sure they are always covered in water while they are cooking.
  4. To salt or not to salt? DO NOT SALT! Adding salt to the cooking water will harden the skin of the beans, and it will take even more time to cook them.
  5. Once cooked, drain and rinse them and you are ready to go!
  6. Final tip: if you find that your beans are not as soft as the ones you buy in cans, try adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water.

If you eat beans regularly and don’t want to waste a whole day cooking beans, I suggest mixing similar-sized beans together and cooking them at once. You can also look for a pressure cooker. I found one of these on sale for 50$ (instead of 200$; you got to love sales!) and I’m currently experimenting with it. It really reduces the cooking time: from 2 hours for chickpeas to 20 minutes! Really cool, but I have to admit it’s a little scary to use as well. I’m guessing I just need to get used to it.

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Most beans keep really well in the freezer, so don’t be afraid to cook more than what you need and save a few portions for another recipe.

Let me know what your bean tricks are!


Lorsque l’on devient vététarien ou végan, les haricots et autres légumineuses deviennent des constituants importants de notre régime alimentaire. Comme j’aime faire des économies, j’achète généralement mes haricots secs en vrac au lieu des conserves. J’aime cette alternative car elle est économique et sans déchet!

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Il peut parfois sembler que le travail requis pour préparer ces haricots secs est compliqué, long et que le résultat final est bof. Plusieurs personnes m’ont demandé comment je prépare mes haricots secs, alors voici comment je fais et mes recommendations:

  1. Faire tremper ses légumineuses toute une nuit: Il est vraiment important de faire tremper les légumineuses car cela les rends plus faciles à cuire et plus tendres. Comme la majorité des haricots triple de volume lors du trempage, assurez vous qu’ils soient bien couverts d’eau. Je conseille entre 3 et 6 cm d’eau au dessus de leur niveau.
  2. Drainer et bien rincer: NE LES CUISINEZ PAS DANS LEUR EAU DE TREMPAGE! Il est très important de vider l’eau de trempage (que les plantes adorent!) et de bien rincer les légumineuses avant de les faire cuire: lors du trempage, les légumineuse vont dégager des sucres indigestes qui causent des ballonnements et des gaz. De plus, les haricots ne sont généralement pas lavés avant d’être séchés pour éviter les problèmes de moisissures et l’eau de trempage peut dont contenir des impuretés qu’il n’est pas très intéressant de manger. C’est pourquoi il est aussi très important de bien les rincer avant de les faire cuire.
  3. À la cuisson: Placer vos haricots dans un grand chaudron ou casserole et couvrez-les d’eau. Encore une fois, assurez vous qu’il y ait au moins 3 cm d’eau au dessus des haricots. Portez à ébullition, puis réduisez le feu pour laisser mijoter entre une ou deux heures. Les légumineuses sont prêtes lorsqu’elles sont facilement écrasables avec une fourchette. Jettez-y un coup d’oeil de temps en temps pendant la cuisson pour vous assurer qu’elles soient toujours couvertes d’eau.
  4. Saler ou ne pas saler? NE PAS SALER! Évitez d’ajouter du sel à l’eau de cuisson comme celui-ci rendra la peau des haricots plus rigide et allongera le temps de cuisson.
  5. Une fois cuite, drainer et rincer les légumineuses à nouveau et voilà!
  6. Dernier conseil: Si vous trouvez que vos légumineuses sont moins tendres que celles en conserve, ajouter 1 cuillère à thé de bicarbonate de soude à l’eau de cuisson.

Une fois cuite, les légumineuses se conservent très bien au congélateur en portions individuelles. J’aime bien en cuire de grosses quantités à l’avance et les avoir sous la main. C’est comme avoir des conserves! Si vous souhaitez réduire le temps de cuisson, il est possible de cuire les légumineuses à l’auto-cuisieur ou dans une cocotte minute. Par exemple, les pois-chiche ne prennent plus 2 heures à cuire, mais 20 minutes! J’expérimente encore avec la mienne, et je dois admettre que c’est un appareil assez effrayant à utiliser, mais l’économie de temps est substentielle!

Et vous, vous les cuisez comment vos légumineuses?

A few tips for vegans… and other humans!

In the last few days I have looked at different things I do in order to save time, be happier and generally make my life easier. I hope these tips will help you out too!

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  1. Keep your space positive: I feel that as a vegan it is very easy to get overwhelmed by negativity: videos/articles/pictures of animal suffering filling your digital space; people criticizing and judging your decisions and looking at your everyday choices like if it were their business; and even self-doubt sometimes.
    • I became vegan because I love animals, and I do not want to passively or actively participate in their suffering. Seeing animal cruelty videos does not reinforce this resolve: it makes me sick, sad and depressed. I’m not saying that this type of information is not relevant. A lot of vegans made their choice after being exposed to such information, and people should know what it going on. But in my case, the images stay in my brain and create a negative blur that prevents me from focusing, creating and feel good. So, I have taken the habit of systematically blocking groups that diffuse this type of information. It doesn’t mean that I don’t see any of it, but a lot less. I prefer to focus on the positive things about being a vegan.

    • With time, I found out that trying to justify my veganism was not a good strategy when faced with people ignorantly and aggressively judging it. When faced with such situations (and it happens), I usually say that being vegan is my personal choice, that each person is different and that this suits me. The discussion usually ends there because I try not to fuel the deb20141231_182853ate. Over time, I find that this strategy and being a positive example of a healthy vegan helps people not feel threatened and encourages them to be curious, in a more respectful way.
    • Self-doubt is normal! I find that every time I do anything, from changing coat to becoming vegan, a fair amount of self-doubt is involved. And it’s healthy too! Without self-doubt, how could we evolve? When this feeling is pulling me down, I look at my cat and think of all the reasons why I became vegan in the first place. This usually does the trick!
  2. Take the time to meal plan: Sitting down with my cook books once a week and selecting recipes that I want to try out has two advantages:
    • I get to really use my cookbooks. It also keeps the meals interesting as I try out new recipes regularly.
    • I make a shopping list with only what I need for the week. Like this, I avoid over-buying and waste.
  3. Buy legumes in bulk and dry: This is less expensive, and it usually involves less packaging: good for your wallet and the planet!

  4. Prepare legumes ahead: As a vegan, a good portion of my proteins comes from legumes. A good idea is to mix a variety of dried legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas for example) in a big bowl and let them soak overnight before cooking them for an hour or so. It is important to mix them to make sure you have the full spectrum of amino acids everyday: each legume type usually contains only a partial number of amino acids. By combining them you have a greater variety of amino acids which makes your body happy! I store a big batch of these in the fridge so that I can add them to everything all week long.

I hope these are helpful! Let me know if you have tips of your own: I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my life easier!