One of the goals of our What's That?! Wednesday posts is to introduce you to new foods, their health benefits, and how to incorporate them into your diet.
This week's post focuses on the amazing adzuki bean!! These tiny reddish-brown beans have a thin white stripe making them easy to identify. They are sold in most regular grocery stores in cans alongside all the other beans. Eden Organic is one brand, or you can buy them dry, which is what we recommend.
These beans are one of the staples of the macrobiotic diet because of their detoxifying characteristics and are praised in traditional Chinese medicine as supportive to kidney, bladder, and reproductive health. Did you know that Adzuki beans are also said to be the easiest bean to digest? It's true, if your tummy is sensitive to beans, you should really give these a try...you may find these are a great option for you. Adding beans to your diet in general can help to regulate metabolism and keep you feeling fuller longer because beans are chock full of protein and fiber.
Adzuki beans are more traditionally used in Chinese and Japanese dessert dishes by boiling them with sugar and making them into a paste or cream, so they do have a sweeter tone than most beans. But we'd venture to say you will find them balanced with a nutty flavor, making them a great choice for savory dishes as well. Adzuki beans can be used just like any bean - in chili's, soups, salads, mashed into burgers/patties, etc.
Try our Adzuki Bean & Quinoa Tossed Salad recipe to get your Adzuki bean palate going!
There are folks out there that say Adzuki beans do not need to be soaked prior to cooking, but in our own experience, we find that soaking these beans makes them even more digestible and easier to cook with, so we recommend you do so. The good news is that you can get away with soaking them for only 1-2 hours instead of overnight like most beans. Again, if you are sensitive to beans, then soak them overnight to support easier digestion.
Soaking & Cooking Adzuki Beans:
(Makes about 2 1/4 cup cooked beans)
1. Place 1 cup dry beans in a bowl with 3 cups cold, filtered water. Cover and let sit on your counter-top for 1-2 hours or overnight.
2. Rinse soaked beans and place them in a stockpot with another 3 cups fresh, filtered water over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 40-50 minutes. These beans don't foam much, but if they do, skim the foam off the top.
3. Rinse beans and store them in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Whenever we soak and cook beans, we always double or triple what is needed for the recipe and then store the extra in freezer safe containers for the next time we need some. This simple time saving strategy will make you feel super proud of yourself for thinking ahead when you pull those out the next time you need them!
~Billie & Jennifer
Billie Shellist, FDN-P
I practice functional nutrition, an approach that allows me to look at your entire health history and help you find the "root causes" of your chronic health complaints.
This cuts out the trial and error process and helps you get real symptom relief and resolution!
Food is medicine and knowledge is power -I hope you enjoy my anti-inflammatory recipes which are gluten, dairy, and soy free as well as very low grain and sugar.
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