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Ancient grains have made a huge comeback, and 2016 was declared 'the year of the bean' by the United Nations

There is a reason these superfoods remain on trend - they are high in protein, fibre, antioxidants and so many nutrients that make them unbelievably good for you in so many ways:  weight loss, heart health, brain food, digestive health etc.  Make it habit to get a few of these in you every week! 




Always rinse your grains before cooking, and pick through them for any potential little stones (rare, but happens sometimes).


Grains (actually, some of these are seeds) like quinoa, bulgur, millet, amaranth, buckwheat and barley and rice have cooking times that range from 15 minutes to an hour. They don’t need to be soaked over night.


Sturdy grains like spelt, wheat berries (tarwe in Dutch), rye (rogge) and farro should be soaked over night as they are quite tough by nature, thus soaking them overnight with shorten the cooking time.  The extra effort is worth it as they have a delicious nutty taste and texture.




Always rinse your beans and lentils and pick through them for any potential little stones (rare, but happens some times).


Dried Beans

Soak them overnight

Don’t salt the beans during cooking, and don’t cook them with large amounts of acidic foods (tomatoes, lemon juice, wine) else they won’t soften.  There’s a reason all chili recipes call for pre-cooked beans!


Dried Lentils

Lentils don’t need to be soaked over night – they soften faster and cook more quickly than beans.


Same rule applies for salt and acid…nearly!


Exceptions to the above:  The Lentils Umbria recipe calls to soak the lentils the night before, specifically because you’ll be cooking them in a white wine and tomato sauce.  It works with pre-soaked lentils.  It doesn’t work with pre-soaked beans.  



Many grains and beans are interchangeable.


Swap Quino, Millet and Bulgur for eachother if you've got one in your pantry, but not the one the recipe calls for.  I make the Bulgur Risotto recipe with quino or barley as well, and it's delicious!

Chickpea and Quinoa Tabbouleh
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