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Cooking Dried Legumes for Gut Friendly Meal Prep

Beans are infamous for causing flatulence and bloating, even in the healthiest guts. Try this process for cooking dried legumes for meal prep. It makes them easier on the digestive system so everyone can enjoy the nutritional benefits without clearing the room.

October 13, 2022

Dried Beans for Specific Carbohydrate Diet

How to Make Beans Gut Friendly

There is a process to cook dried beans to the perfect texture and make them easier on the digestive system – especially for followers of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

  1. Soak beans for 10 – 12 hours in water at room temperature to remove indigestible sugars. Discard and change the water.
  2. Hard boil with skimming to remove undigestible compounds and starches; boiling is the key to their removal – not simmering or slow cooking.
  3. Slow simmer to complete the cooking process and get them to the preferred texture.
  4. Store the legumes for future use.
  • Cheers to toot-free beans!
Healthy Homemade Lentil soup

Benefits of Legumes - Nutritional Powerhouses

Legumes (dried peas, lentils, and beans) add protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins to your diet. They can help you feel fuller, balance blood sugar, and reduce constipation. Beans are low-fat, low-calorie, contain no cholesterol and are highly versatile in recipes. If you want to increase your fiber intake but are worried about gassiness or not cooking the beans correctly, this foolproof recipe has directions for stovetop and Instant Pot cooking.

Meal prepping dried beans for fridge or freezer storage in lidded glas jars
Cool beans and refrigerate or freeze beans within one hour to avoid food contamination. Lidded glass jars are great for storing cooked beans.

How to Meal Prep Legumes

  • Season beans with salt and spices before storing, if desired. 
  • One 16-oz bag of dried beans will make 4-5 cups of cooked beans or the equivalent of 3.5 cans.
  • Allow legumes or beans to cool, place in containers, and refrigerate or freeze within an hour of making to avoid food contamination. 
  • Measure 1.5 cups into containers. This quantity will substitute for one 14-15-oz can – perfect for recipes.

Refrigeration Notes

Place 1.5 cups of leftover beans in lidded containers. Beans are fresh for 4 days, although a reader added in the comments that unsalted beans do not last as long as salted beans. They will maintain their freshness better with salt added after cooking. Another trick is storing them in smaller containers rather than one big bowl. Placing all in a large bowl can breed fermentation. According to the Spruce Eats, it is not uncommon for cooked beans to sour in hot climates, even when placed in the fridge. Use your nose to test if the beans are too old. 

Freezer Notes

Place 1.5 cups of leftover beans into freezer bags. Another freezer option is to lay cooked beans flat on a baking tray with sides and place them in the freezer. Then, after a few hours, take the tray out and scoop the beans into a lidded freezer container or zip-lock bag. This makes them “loose” like frozen peas/sweetcorn rather than stuck together in a big chunk. To defrost for recipes,  remove the container from the freezer the night before or defrost it on the day of by soaking it in hot water.

Cooking Steps

Rinse beans in a strianer
1

Rinse legumes under running water in a colander or mesh strainer.

soak beans in a stockpot
2

Place in a stockpot or removable Instant Pot and cover with 8 cups of water; Soak for 10 -12 hours.

Bring beans to a rapid boil
3

Discard soaking water. Refill the cooking pot and begin rapid boil in Stovetop or Instant Pot.

Skim foam off the surface of the boiling beans
4

Skim foam that comes to the surface several times throughout the boiling process.

Pressure cook beans
5

Reduce heat to simmer on the stovetop or apply lid on the Instant Pot and pressure cook. See full recipe instructions below.

Meal prepping dried beans for fridge or freezer storage in lidded glas jars
6

Cool beans and store them in lidded containers or zip-lock bags—place in refrigerator or freezer.

Stovetop Cooking & Pressure Cooking Charts

The following times are a guide. Beans are better under soaked than oversoaked and better overcooked than undercooked. If the beans are too soft or firm, adjust the simmer time during the 2nd boil. However, do not reduce the initial rapid boil time.

Cooking dried beans stovetop chart
Cooking dried beans pressure cooker chart
Cooking without a lid during the first cook reduces the frothing, which is helpful in the 2nd cook using the pressure lid. The cooking times for split peas are short and do not benefit from pressure cooking.

What is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet?

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, SCD, provides intestinal health by eliminating grain, gluten, refined sugar, and some dairy. Followers can thrive on a varied diet that often reduces symptoms and allows the healing of an inflamed intestinal tract. The diet follows the research of Elaine Gottschall, author of  Breaking the Vicious Cycle Intestinal Health Through Diet.

When Can you Introduce Beans into the SCD Diet?

Legumes can be eaten on the SCD after three months without symptoms. If you are ready to introduce beans into the diet, congratulations. Adding legumes to your diet is a great strategy to improve your health and budget.

What Beans are Allowed on the SCD?

Try any of these legumes after three months and no symptoms, and check the legal illegal list on the Breaking the Vicious Cycle website before eating. 

  •  Lentils
  •  Split Peas
  •  Dried Beans: Lima, Navy, Red Kidney. 
  •  Black beans – try after the gut has healed.

Which Beans are Illegal on the SCD?

Illegal dried beans include cannellini, chic peas, great northern, faba, fava, fazolia, garbanzo, mung beans, soybeans, white kidney, broad bean, Windsor, horse, English, fool, foul, feve, faba, haba, black azuki, black adzuki, aduki, asuki, pinto. This is not an extensive list since they go by many names in different regions and counties; check the Legal Illegal List on the Breaking the Vicious Cycle website before purchasing, cooking, and eating. 

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Dried Beans for Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Cooking Dried Legumes for Gut Friendly Meal Prep


  • Author: Karen
  • Total Time: 11 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Beans are infamous for causing flatulence and bloating, even in the healthiest guts. Try this process for cooking dried legumes for meal prep. It makes them easier on the digestive system so everyone can enjoy the nutritional benefits without clearing the room.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups dried legal SCD legumes 16-oz bag (lentils, split peas – stovetop only, lima beans, Navy beans, red kidney beans, black beans)
  • 8 cups water for soaking
  • 12 cups of water for boiling
  • 2 cups additional water for simmering
  • 1 Tablespoon salt for cooking, optional; see note*


Instructions

  1.  Prepare Legumes. Wash the beans or legumes under water in a colander or mesh strainer and pick over to remove pebbles.
  2.  Soak Legumes. Place legumes in a medium to large stock pot and cover with 8 cups of cold water. Soak for 10 – 12 hours at room temperature to remove undigestible sugars. DONT oversoak! More is NOT better. Once the enzyme inhibitors are sufficiently deactivated, oversoaking can cause changes in the legumes’ molecular structure, which makes legumes harder to digest.
  3.  3A) Stovetop Rapid Boil. Discard soaking water by pouring contents through a strainer. Rinse the legumes thoroughly under running water. Place legumes back into the stock pot and cover with 10 – 12 cups of water. Place on medium/high heat and boil uncovered for 10 – 20 minutes – see chart in the recipe post for the specific legume time of 1st cook rapid boil. Skim and discard the foam on the surface while boiling. Boil for longer if foam continues to form. Do not reduce the time on the rapid boil.
    3B) Instant Pot Rapid Boil Saute. Discard soaking water by pouring contents through a strainer. Rinse the legumes thoroughly under running water. Place legumes into the inner pot of the pressure cooker and fill with 10 – 12 cups of water. Do not go past the halfway mark inside the Instant Pot. Place on the saute setting and boil uncovered for 15 minutes. Skim and discard the foam on the surface. Boil for longer if foam continues to form. Do not reduce the time on the rapid boil.
  4.  4A) Stovetop Simmer. Reduce heat and add 2 more cups of water to the pot. Simmer on low heat with the lid partway tilted for 15 – 75 minutes, depending on the time noted on the chart in the recipe post for the specific bean.
    4B) Instant Pot Pressure Cook. Hit cancel to stop the rapid boil, lock the pressure cooker lid, and set the valve to high-pressure mode. Pressure cook for 7 – 25 minutes, depending on the chart direction for the specific legume. After pressure cooking, turn off the cooker and wait 10 minutes to allow the steam to release naturally. Carefully remove the lid, allowing the steam to escape from you.
  5.  Add legumes to recipes. The legumes are ready to be seasoned and eaten or added to recipes. Add the beans during the last 15 – 30 minutes of the recipe so they will take on the dish’s flavors. Adjust the salt if your beans are salt-free.
  6.  Store Legumes. If you made extra for meal prep, cool legumes and measure 1.5 cups into lidded containers or freezer storage bags. Place in containers and refrigerate or freeze within an hour to avoid food contamination. This quantity will substitute for one 14 -15-oz can, which is perfect for recipes. Remove the container from the freezer the night before or defrost it on the day of by soaking it in hot water.  Another freezer option is to lay cooked beans flat on a baking tray with sides and place them flat in the freezer. Then, after a few hours, take the tray out and scoop the beans into a lidded freezer container or zip-lock bag. This makes them “loose” like frozen peas/sweetcorn rather than stuck together in a big chunk. Beans are fresh for four days in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.

Notes

* According to the BTVC bean recipe in the Gourmet section – do not add salt before boiling, or the beans will not become tender. Adding salt while cooking may make the skin tough and, consequently, harder to digest.

Nutritional information is based on Navy beans.

Beans should collapse under gentle pressure between the finger and thumb.

Instant Pot – If the beans are too firm after pressure cooking, saute for a few more minutes and add water as necessary.

Instant pot: Cooking without a lid and skimming the foam during the first cook on the pressure cooker reduces the frothing, which is helpful in the 2nd cook using the pressure lid.

Cooked, drained, and pureed Navy beans make a good thickener for gravy and an extender for baked goods using nut flours.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Soaking: 10 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Legumes
  • Method: cooktop + pressure
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Navy beans, lentils, split peas, lima beans. red kidney beans, black beans, gut friendly beans, Specific Carbohydrate Diet. SCD

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Let me know your thoughts on this post!

2 responses to “Cooking Dried Legumes for Gut Friendly Meal Prep”

  1. I wanted to add a caution: UNSALTED cooked beans can spoil sooner than expected in the refrigerator! We had an unfortunate experience from a meal in the home of a lady who was on a low sodium diet. Better to freeze them for longer storage.

    • Cathy, thanks for providing this information. That makes sense since salt has been used as a preservative for centuries. I’ll add some more information in the blog soon. Thanks

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Karen The Supper Sanity Chef

Welcome to Supper Sanity

Hello, I’m Karen, a very passionate meal planner. As a mother of three, I have been planning family menus for years. When I was diagnosed with a digestive condition, I found it necessary to follow an eating regime that eliminated many ingredients. That made meal planning a health necessity. I’ve learned a lot and want to share my resources to simplify meal planning, shop efficiently and cook affordable homemade meals. If you wish to try new recipes, plan healthier meals, and enjoy a great dinner with your friends and family, Supper Sanity can help.

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