I love the ways simple foods pair so well together. Take beans and greens - humble, simple food enjoyed throughout the world. I love the way creamy white beans pair beautifully with the briny, mineral notes of kale and garlic. This White Bean and Kale Gratin makes a simple side dish, but is substantial enough to serve as a main course when paired with a light salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar.
Cooking with dry beans requires a little extra planning, as they benefit from soaking overnight in warm water which helps to make them easier to digest and quicker to cook. I save time in the kitchen by soaking a pound of dry beans or more, boiling them until tender and then freezing them for later use. You could also substitute canned beans in this recipe for dry beans if you're in a pinch.
Soak Your Beans for Better Nutrition
Beans benefit from soaking in hot water which makes them easier to digest and quicker to cook; even more, it makes their minerals more bioavailable and more easily absorbed. Soaking beans helps them to release raffinose, a type of carbohydrate that can cause digestive upset and gas.
Soaking also activates enzymes held within beans that deactivate food phytate, a natural component of beans that binds up minerals and prevents their full absorption. When you soak your beans, all those minerals that were previously bound by food phytate become a much more readily absorbed by your body - making beans all that much more nutritious.