From The Green Blossom Kitchen we really hope that you're making the most of this beautiful summer. But as you're soaking in the pool this August remember that there may be something else that needs a little soaking. Your dried beans are also begging to be soaked! Now we're not here to hate on the convenience of canned beans, but to remind you that when possible cooking from dried beans is more economical, fresher and can increase the variety of beans you have to choose from. Though if you are going to cook your beans at home let's first find out why a pre-soak is a must!
The major reason why soaking your beans is a must is for better absorption of nutrients, which is pretty important to us as foodies/dietitians. Dried beans are one of many plant foods which contain phytic acid, the primary storage form of phosphorus in plant seeds. Though it sounds harmless, phytic acid actually blocks our bodies ability to properly absorb minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc) within certain plant foods. By soaking beans in warm water (~140 degrees) for at least 12 hours prior to preparing, you are able to greatly reduce the amount of phytic acid within the bean meaning more nutrients for you! Pre-soaking can also reduce cooking time making preparation easier. For this recipe we chose to use chickpeas (of course soaked overnight!). Chickpeas are a vegan source of protein and full of fiber - one cup of cooked chickpeas contains a whopping 15 grams with 65-75% of the fiber being insoluble. So throw some chickpeas in water for a little dip while you explore this recipe further...
Tzatziki Chickpea Cucumber Salad
PREP TIME: 10 mins (plus 12 hour soaking and 1 hour cooking)
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
1 large English cucumber, or 3 small English cucmbers
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked over night for at least 12 hrs (makes about three cups once cooked)
1 cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey (we used a light clover honey)
1/4 tsp sea salt + additional to taste
Sprinkle of pepper to taste
Once beans are done soaking, drain, rinse, and add to a pot. Cover with twice the amount of water and bring chickpeas to a boil. Once at a rapid boil cover with a lid, lower the heat, and simmer for about one hour. After an hour of cooking feel free to do a taste test; if the chickpeas are too firm continue cooking until soft and to your liking. Once chickpeas are fully cooked, drain, rinse, and set in the fridge to cool. Chop cucumber into bite sized pieces (about the same size as the cooked chickpeas) and add to the bowl with the cooled chickpeas. To make the sauce, finely chop the dill and mince the garlic. Add the Greek yourt, chopped dill, garlic, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Stir until all ingredients are fully combined. It's now time to mix up your salad! If you plan to eat all of this salad right away add all of the tzatziki sauce to the bowl and mix until fully combined. Sprinkle with additional sea salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!
*TIP: If you do not plan to eat all of this salad right away we suggest adding the tzatziki sauce and additional salt just before eating. We found that the longer it sits on the salad the more water is drawn out from the cucumbers being exposed to salt creating a more "soupy" final salad than we would like.
We hope you love the freshness of this salad and find a use for all those garden cucumbers lying around this time of year. We think that this one is great on it's own, a perfect topping for a spinach salad, or yummily (yes yummily) paired with warm pita. Though you may find another use so please share! Also that tzatziki sauce, you're going to want to use it on everything so go ahead! Just remember to soak your beans, they deserve a dip too. Okay, now it's time get back to the pool!
Soak it up,
Jess & Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.