Nutrition Notes: Beef Up on Beans

Beans, peas and lentils are members of the legume family. They are relatively cheap, low fat, and contain protein, carbohydrates, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and fiber. Research shows that including beans in the diet helps lower LDL cholesterol (a.k.a. bad cholesterol) levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. A variety of beans are available canned, dried, frozen and sometimes, fresh in grocery stores and supermarkets.

Buying dried beans in bulk and cooking them at home is more economical than using canned beans. This requires pre-planning and soaking beans the day before cooking them. Washing and soaking dried beans for a few hours or even overnight significantly improves digestibility and nutrient absorption. As an added bonus, soaking reduces their cooking time!

Here is a chart showing the approximate cooking times for different beans and lentils:
(Adapted from and

Fun fact: Sprouting legumes makes them easier to digest and more stomach-friendly.

Here is a recipe for Mung Bean-Cabbage Pancakes – a fun, gluten-free and savory twist on pancakes.
Savory Mung Bean – Cabbage Pancakes
Preparation Time – 20 minutes
Soaking Time – 8 to 12 hours
Makes 12 to 14 pancakes
– 1 cup dried whole mung beans
– 2 tbsp brown rice
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 cup finely chopped cabbage
– 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
– Salt to taste
– 2 tbsp oil
1. Wash and soak mung beans and rice overnight.
2. Blend mung beans, rice, garlic and salt with water to a smooth, pourable pancake batter-like consistency.
3. Add the cabbage and cilantro to the batter. Grated carrots and beets may be added to add health and color to the batter.
4. Heat a skillet on medium heat until hot to touch.
5. Spread ½ tsp oil on the skillet.
6. Spread 1/3 cup batter into a thin pancake with a rounded ladle, on the skillet.
7. Once the edges are golden-brown, flip the pancake over. Cook for a couple of minutes and repeat process for the rest of the batter. Serve hot with your favorite dip or just plain yogurt.