Grains and legumes made easy

I think sometimes we don’t make brown rice, split peas, lentils, or other wonderful whole-grain or legume dishes, only because we get home from work and don’t want to wait 45-60 minutes for those items to cook.   A reader wrote me with this tip, which I have used, too, for many years–I hope it helps you do a tiny bit of work in the morning so that the evening meal is both quick and nutritious.

While you’re eating breakfast, wash your brown rice or lentils.   Cover them with twice as much water and bring it to a boil, covered, on the stove.   While that’s going on, preheat your oven.   After the grain/legume comes to a boil, stick the whole pan in the oven and turn the oven off.   When you get home from work, you’ll have lovely brown rice or lentils or split peas ready to eat.

Check out Indian Dahl in Ch. 6 of 12 Steps.   It’s a really easy and highly nutritious main dish, and you’ll feel full and also light and healthy when you eat it!   (I believe I also posted the recipe here on the blog, which has a search feature, and other have posted favorite lentil recipes in another entry a couple months ago.)

Anyone wanting to share a great recipe using a whole grain and/or a legume, please feel free!

9 thoughts on “Grains and legumes made easy

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  1. I have been making big batches of brown rice and freeze it in 2c increments. this is great when I need quick (and not instant fiber wise) rice!

  2. Just wanted to clarify the amount of water. Are you saying use 2 to 1? Or are you saying to use twice as much water as your recipe called for (normal amount of H2O for cooking brown rice or lentils)?

  3. I was wandering around the kitchen looking for something hearty and comforting and healthy, and decided to make lentil soup. I looked at a few recipes and decided to make it simple….

    garlic (lots…mashed and minced)

    onion – small pieces

    celery – small pieces (lots)

    carrot – small pieces (lots)

    sautee, then added the lentils (didn’t measure, just went for it!), then water and vegan boullon cubes. Let it cook away. Add more water if necessary (I started w/just covering the lentils, til I saw how “soupy” it was going to be, then added more to make the soup just the consistency I wanted). Near the end of the cooking, I juiced 4-6 lemons and added the lemon juice to the soup pot. Let finish cooking!

    Delicious!! So, good in fact, that all four kids asked to have it in their lunch the next day….can’t beat that!


  4. I have found that most whole grains and legumes freeze really well. So I make big batches and then freeze them in 1-3 cup portions. They unfreeze easily, either in the ‘fridge or on your counter and are even more convenient than the processed versions available at the store. I’ve seen ready-cooked whole grain rice at the store for $3+ for about 2 cups! That’s crazy – you can make your own and have it ready to go in the freezer for less than $.50. Another great appliance for legumes is your crock-pot, I especially love mine for garbanzo beans which really benefit from a longer, slower cook (and the Blendtec makes the absolute, best homemade hummus ever!).

    Yes, making our own whole grains and legumes takes more time than buying ready-made meals. But if you plan in advance they can be nearly as convenient, save you heaps of money, and you get to control what goes into your family.

  5. My long time favorite has been ‘rice n lentils’ – since they cook in = time, they’re easy to do together.

    Similar to Leigh’s recipe – I use 2 parts brown rice to 1 part lentils, & saute the rice in coconut oil (onions or leeks go in now) till the rice is opaque, & add the lentils & stock. (for stock I have a bag or container in the freezer, & add onion & garlic skins, ends & tops of carrots, just about any veggie ends except broccoli/cabbage family (overpower) & beets (if I’m concerned about colour)

    I bring these to a boil while chopping carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions etc.

    I add a piece of kombu (kelp) & bay leaf, rosemary, sage, marjoram

    I simmer the lot for ~ 30 minutes (with ~ 2x the water to rice n lentils), then add veggie chunks, & these days 1/2 C quinoa & 2 Tbsp teff (African millet) for ~ the last 20-30 minutes.

    Sometimes I curry this by using some coconut milk with the stock, & curry paste &/or powder.

    This gets better over the next few days 🙂 & you can add kale or chard leaves, chopped, ~ the last 5 min.

  6. My whole family loves Trader Joe’s lentil soup. I haven’t been able to eat legumes for years because they made me really tired. Now I’m trying them again and really enjoying them without the old fatigue I used to have with them. Probably the green smoothies helping with my energy and healing!!! Anyhow, I can’t digest legumes without tons of gas. Neither can the rest of my family except the baby. She’s two. What can we do to avoid all the gas?


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