Basic Beans

red round fruits on white surface

Basic Beans

Dried beans, lentils, chick peas, and peas – all called pulses – are a great pantry staple. They are inexpensive and last forever. Combines with other pantry staples they make a great meal when there is nothing else. However, they do take some preparation. Please try them – at least once – and see if you like them. It looks like the ingredient list is huge but all you really need are the dried pulses and the water and a little salt to make them yummy. Adding all the rest makes the beans more tasty and gives you a flavourful broth that you can use for soup.


  • 250 g Dried beans, broad beans, chick peas, or lentils
  • Water
  • pinch cumin seeds you can use powdered if that's what you have
  • 1 tsp dried herbs anything will do
  • a few pepper corns you can use ground pepper if you like – a big pinch
  • 1 little piece Seaweed you can use powdered seaweed if that is what you have
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 small onion peeled and cut in half
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut in half
  • 1 stick celery cut in half
  • pinch salt


8-12 hours before you want to cook

  • Put the dried beans/chickpeas/lentils/peas in a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Let them sit on the counter over night or all day.

When you are ready to cook

  • Drain the pulses and discard the water. Add about 500 mls of new, cold water and some, all, or none of the other ingredients.
  • If you are using a pressure cooker, bring the pot up to pressure. For lentils it takes about 10 minutes. For chick peas about 25, for other beans, about 20. If you are using a regular sauce pan, bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer them. They all take about twice as long in a conventional saucepan as they do in a pressure cooker. As pulses get older, they get drier and they take longer to cook. When you taste them they should not be chalky or crunchy at all. If they are, cook them for another 5-10 minutes.
  • When they are done, drain them – reserving the water if you want to in order to use it for soup. Discard the vegetables and the seaweed as they no longer have much going for them.
  • Enjoy.
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