I'm a HUGE fan of buying food in bulk.
Just so we're clear, when I talk about buying in bulk, I am not referring to the 5 gallon jugs of ketchup at Costco (although go for it if that's your jam). I'm talking about getting nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit, spices and dried beans from the bulk bins at a health food store or local grocer. I talk about the ins & outs and hows & whys of this in my upcoming End of Summer Reboot group cleanse. The long and short of it: when you buy food in bulk, you reduce waste, limit your exposure to potential toxins like BPA, and save a TON of money. Win-win-win.
To be fair, there is one drawback of buying bulk beans: they require some planning because they need to be soaked and cooked ahead of time. I like to soak my dried beans overnight (or about 8 hours - so you could do it in the morning and then let them soak while you are at work). This soaking process helps to remove phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which can block some mineral absorption and can also cause digestive upset. (YES! If you don't eat the magical fruits because they make you toot, then start buying your beans in bulk and soaking them - you'll be a lot more comfortable and happy. As will others in your household.)
Once they've had a long soak, give your beans a good rinse, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until they're tender. Depending on the variety of legume, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. You can see why it requires some forethought.
I usually make a big pot of beans at the start of each week, so we have them on the ready for quick and easy meals (it doesn't get much quicker than tossing black beans on a kale salad or easier than throwing adzuki beans into a veggie stir-fry) . I also keep some canned beans on hand for those times that I haven't planned ahead. Note: when purchasing canned beans, be sure to find BPA-free cans. Eden Organics is a trusted brand you can find most places.
Lately I've developed quite the annoying habit of putting a pot of beans on to cook, and then getting wrapped up in another activity (like writing this blog) and forgetting that they're on the stove. So I wind up with this:
Not super fun to clean. Props to my husband for this one.
Luckily, this time around I was able to salvage the majority of the beans - I just took them from the top of the pan and rinsed them. There was about a cup of slightly singed beans at the bottom that I hated to throw away. The way they were browned on the bottom reminded me of roasted chickpea snacks which I love, so I decided to throw them in the oven to crisp 'em up even more. You know, the whole "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" vibe.
I was feeling like making something savory, so I dressed them up like this:
Savory Roasted Chickpeas
1.5 cup cooked chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) - You can use a can of beans instead. Just rinse them first.
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Roast them at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until they're browned. I gave the pan a shuffle every 10 minutes or so to be sure that the beans didn't burn.
I decided to combine this crunchy snack with some of my other bulk goodies to make a trail mix.
Roasted Chickpea Trail Mix
Roasted chickpeas from recipe above, cooled
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup goji berries
Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container. Makes an uber tasty, nutritious and transportable snack.
This particular mix is loaded up with protein, iron, magnesium and antioxidants. Feel free to experiment, tossing in whatever dried fruit, nuts or seeds you have on hand (and hopefully bought in bulk)!