Correct prep procedure for lentils and "various beans"?


Veggie Girl

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I see that the vegetarian shopping list permits tofu, lentils, and various beans if properly prepared. Question 1: What types of beans are acceptable? Question 2: What does properly prepared mean? I know the tofu, lentils, and beans have to be soaked but can someone please give specifics on what that means? (For example, how many cups of dried beans to how much water, how long do you soak the beans, how do you cook them after the soaking, etc). Question 3: When I buy tofu it is packaged in liquid so obviously has been soaking for some time. Do I still need to soak it more? Question 4: Can I use canned beans and just soak them so they'll already be cooked?

I hope I'm not asking things that have already been answered! I searched this forum and the book and can't find the answers.

Thanks!

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Hi Veggiegirl! I am not a vegetarian, but I have cooked for several and my family and I ate close to veg for a while--when money is/was tight, we ate a lot of bean rich meals. I typically would soak 1 cup of beans to 1 quart of water over night, dump the water and cook them in fresh water until tender--usually tossing in some onion, carrot and celery for flavor and often garlic too! Cooking length can depend on how long they have soaked and how old the beans are. I usually cooked mine for a couple hours, although Lentils can be done in 45 minutes if you want them to hold together, like in a salad. 

 

Canned beans are already cooked, so rinsing them well is probably all they need, and i would check them for non compliant ingredients. Pretty much, you would want just water, salt and beans, no other yuckies. I have never done tofu, so I am not sure on that score. I also prepare my raw nuts much the same way as I do beans--I soak for 10 hours in salty water--think sea water--and then I roast them for 12 hours (over night or I keep bugging them) until dry. They end up really rather tasty after. 

 

Hope this helps some!

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Any beans are acceptable for vegetarians. Here is a good, detailed explanation of how to prepare dried beans: http://www.chezbettay.com/pages/basics1/basics_beans1.html

 

Here is a good explanation of how to work with tofu: http://www.wikihow.com/Prepare-Tofu

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Thanks! Tom, can you please weigh in on whether it is compliant to use canned beans that are soaked overnight before using? This would be much easier than starting with dry beans. . Also, for tofu to be compliant, can you use it straight from the package or do you need to soak overnight in fresh water?

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I read that canned beans are a no-no, but I can't remember why. I do know that the sodium content is off the charts.  I've been using dried and soaking overnight and then cooking, as SpinSpin suggests.  Once I got in the rhythm, it wasn't a big deal--and I think the beans taste better.  

 

I've also read (here, I think), that you should opt for sprouted, firm tofu.  If you do that, you don't need to soak it at all, just use it.  The pressing is always good (as Tom's link suggests), but I've also had luck freezing it and then squeezing it out.  It soaks up a lot more of any sauce, but it gives the tofu a less mushy texture (if that's a concern).  Another option is baking the tofu, rather than or even before frying it in oil.  Again, it gets rid of some of the water and gives it a different texture.  

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