Last week was the week of beans. Between my bean demo and practicum at school and my vegan challenge, I’ve been consuming a lot of them recently. One of the perks to being in culinary school is taking home leftovers. There were a ton of soaked black eyed peas left over at the end of our practicum class, so I tossed them in a baggy and brought them home to cook. Up until now, I’ve been a canned bean kind of girl. I had never soaked and cooked dried beans before – it seemed like too much of a time suck. After taking this class, I now know there is a world of difference when you make them from scratch.
Two things I learned in my bean practicum: If you add a piece of kombu to the water when you’re cooking the beans, it helps to aid with digestion of the legumes. It’s also thought that bay leaves have the same effect. Since I didn’t have any kombu, I used some bay leaves and the result was delicious and my stomach handled the beans pretty well. The other way to help with digestion of the legumes is to skim off any white foam/bubbles that rise to the surface while you’re cooking them. Once my beans were cooked, I grabbed a few ingredients that I had leftover in my refrigerator and came up with the below, delicious and refreshing and extremely health supportive salad. Here are the medicinal properties of the ingredients from Rebecca Wood’s The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, followed by the recipe…
Black Eyed Peas
Legumes support the stomach, spleen and kidneys. They counteract damp conditions and help reduce blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, regulate colon function and prevent constipation. Because they are slowly digested, beans help people who are diabetic or have low blood sugar, as beans cause only a gradual rise in blood sugar. The phytochemical diosgenin and isoflavones in beans help prevent cancer. They’re typically a good source of a lecithin component, choline, which supports fat digestion. White beans energize the lungs and colon. Most legumes range from 17–25% protein, roughly double the protein of grains and higher than that of eggs and most meats. They are a great source of potassium, iron, zinc and several B vitamins. As a stick-to-the-ribs filling food, beans are more “grounding” than a salad, baked potato or bowl of rice.
Celery treats the stomach, liver, kidneys and bladder. It helps settle an inflamed liver, dispels wind and helps lubricate or moisten the internal organs. It disperses water, damp and heat. Since Greek times, it has been used as a hangover cure, nerve tonic and blood cleanser. It contains coumarin compounds, which tone the vascular system and help reduce blood pressure by relaxing the muscle tissue in artery walls and thus enhance blood flow. Coumarin may also be useful in cases of migraines and cancer prevention. As a kitchen medicine, celery is used for constipation, as a diuretic, to break up gallstones, and to heal wounds. It also treats arthritis, rheumatism and gout. It is also said to help bring energy up.
Sweet peppers support blood circulation. hey are nutrient dense and contain zeaxanthin which helps prevent cataracts. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C, betacarotene, vitamin K, thiamine, folic acid and vitamin B6.
It stimulates metabolism, improves digestion and is used for both chronic and acute disease. It is antibacterial, anticarcinogenic and antifungal. It reduces ear troubles, sinusitis, influenza, blood pressure and cholesterol. It helps stabilize blood sugar levels, and lowers fever by increasing perspiration. It is antiparasitical, and promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora. It eliminates toxins from the body, ranging from snake venom to poisonous metals such as lead and cadmium.
By increasing circulation, ginger helps effect a systemic cleansing through the skin, bowels and kidneys. It treats colds and fevers and is an effective remedy for nausea. It is anti-inflammatory and helps alleviate arthritic pain and destroy many intestinal parasites. It normalized blood pressure, helps support the liver and promotes the release of bile. It eases congestion in the throat and lungs and helps alleviate menstrual discomfort.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Nearly three quarters of its fat content is monosaturated fat, which lowers the so-called bad cholesterol and leaves the good cholesterol undisturbed. Extra virgin olive oil is highly regarded for its ability to support liver and gallbladder functions. Additionally, fats and oils are essential for brain function and we cannot metabolize without the presence of fat.
Sherry or wine vinegars are lower in acidity than cider, malt or distilled vinegar. Vinegar assists with digestion an moves blood stagnation. It quickly resolves liver congestion and can significantly reduce mental depression. Traditional, unpasteurized, unfiltered vinegar contains as many as 50 different nutrients, amino acids and trace elements. The amino acids counter the effect of lactic acid buildup in the blood and help prevent the formation of toxic fat peroxides, which contribute to aging, fatigue, and irritability and to cholesterol formation on blood vessel walls.
According to the Coconut Aminos website, this soy sauce replacer is made from the sap of coconut trees which is very low glycemic, is an abundant source of amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH.
Strengthens the kidneys and nervous system. It reduces or softens masses such as tumors and cysts in the body, but is therefore not to be eaten excessively during pregnancy. It’s high in sugar, potassium, iodine, calcium, and vitamins A and C.
Helps regulate blood circulation and cold conditions. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant with some analgesic properties. It helps relieve insomnia and indigestion and helps regulate menstruation.
2 cups cooked black eyed peas (cook with small piece of kombu or bay leaf and a pinch or two of salt)
1 cup diced celery (dice both celery and peppers about 1/4 – 1/2 inch dice)
1 cup diced red peppers
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 2 inch slices of ginger minced
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs sherry vinegar
A few dashes of coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
To cook dried beans: Soak dried beans in water and cover – allow them to soak in the refrigerator overnight. Discard water and rinse the beans. Add beans to a pot and add enough water to cover them. Add salt and kombu (if available – aids in digestion of beans) and/or 2 bay leaves. Bring to boil and then let simmer for about 30 minutes or until soft. Then drain.
Once beans are done cooking and you’ve let them cool, mix in salad ingredients. Add celery, red pepper, garlic and ginger and toss together. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad and mix. If you salted the water for the beans enough, you may not need to add salt. If you do, add to taste. Add fresh ground black pepper, toss and serve.
Wooden spoons in photo courtesy of my gal at http://secondfloorflat.com/