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Reintroducing Beans. 3 Low-Histamine, Low-Lectin Recipes

After 2.5 years following the plant paradox program, I finally reintroduced beans and legumes, and I’m having fun. If properly prepared, I don’t seem to have reactions to beans, but we did notice that my husband doesn’t tolerate lentils even if soaked and pressure cooked.

This to say, reintroductions, whatever they are, are bio-individual and different from case to case; and the best way to find out is to try. If you feel you are at that point, there are a few ideas on how to prepare and pressure cook black beans, Lima beans, and chickpeas to lower their lectin load significantly.

Plus, three ideas and recipes for how to incorporate them into your daily menu. They are all as lectin-light as possible and low histamine if you tolerate beans.

Can I eat beans if on a low-lectin and low-histamine diet?

I’ll start by saying this is personal and depends on so many things. But, as a general rule, if the beans are soaked and pressure-cooked properly, most of the harmful lectins are destroyed. Someone who has a relatively healthy gut (no leaky gut) and has no specific intolerances to any of these ingredients, should be able to consume these, in moderation.

When I made this reintroduction, I was also on a low histamine diet, so these three recipes are made to suit a low histamine lifestyle. You might see beans on some high histamine lists, but I believe that if they are correctly prepared and eaten fresh, they should not be a problem. Again, you should try them and see for yourself. All the ingredients in the below recipes are low histamine. There is no citrus, cumin, or tahini in the below recipes, which can trigger histamine release for some people.

If you are on a low histamine diet, freeze any leftover beans and reheat them in the oven. Freezing stops the build-up of histamine.

For more details about low-histamine cooking and food preparation, check this article:

How to remove lectins from beans

Lectins can be removed by pressure cooking beans. I got the motivation to reintroduce beans after getting The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook, by Dr. Steven Gundry, which was recently launched. The book provides clear instructions on how to pressure cook beans and ideas to introduce them to the family menu. For the black beans, Lima beans, and chickpeas, I follow the cooking instructions as provided in the book, using a 6Qt Instant Pot, Nova Plus Series.

Black Beans: soak overnight, change the water several times, rinse well, and pressure cook for 25 minutes; if I’m not in a rush, I release the pressure naturally.

Chickpeas: soak overnight, change the water several times, rinse well, and pressure cook for 25 minutes; if I’m not in a rush, I release the pressure naturally.

Lima beans: soak overnight, change the water several times, rinse well, and pressure cook for 15 minutes; if I’m not in a rush, I release the pressure naturally.

Serving suggestions. I love to have these as dips or spreads, along with vegetable sticks or approved chips or tortillas: carrots, radishes, celery, endives, romaine lettuce, plantain chips, coconut tortilla chips. I also loved my black beans dip with Dr. Gundry’s Keto Naan Bread from The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook.

Black Beans Puree with Onion and Cilantro

Ingredients: 1 cup of dry black beans, filtered water (or drinking water), one sprig of rosemary, one large red onion, one bunch of cilantro, 4, 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for sauteeing the onion), salt and pepper to taste. Try a dash of lime juice when eating if you can tolerate citrus.

Soak one cup of beans overnight in filtered water, changing the water two or three times. I use Mason jars with a lid and store the jar in the fridge. Before cooking, I rinse them one more time, add them to the pressure cooker, cover them with water (about one inch of water above the level of the beans), and set the Instant Pot on pressure cooking, on high, for 25 minutes.

Sometimes I add a sprig of rosemary and a little salt to the water; not necessary, but the rosemary gives some extra flavor. I usually leave the pressure to release naturally unless I’m in a rush. While the pressure is releasing, or while the beans are still cooking, prepare the onions and the cilantro.

Wash and dry one cilantro bunch and chop roughly. Finely chop one large red onion and saute in a large sauteing pan, with extra virgin olive oil, until soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the drained beans and most of the onion to a food processor (leave some onions for garnish). Add the cilantro and process on high until smooth or your desired texture. Finally, add 4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix again. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve warm or cold as a dip or a puree.

Low Histamine Chickpeas Hummus

Ingredients: 1 cup of dry chickpeas, filtered water (or drinking water), 4, 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for sauteeing the onion), salt and pepper to taste. For those with no histamine issues, you can replace two olive oil tablespoons with two tablespoons of tahini and add cumin and lemon juice to taste.

Soak one cup of chickpeas overnight in filtered water, changing the water two or three times. I use Mason jars with a lid and store the jar in the fridge. Before cooking, I rinse them one more time, add them to the pressure cooker, cover them with water (about one inch of water above the level of the beans), and set the Instant Pot on pressure cooking, on high, for 20 minutes.

I let the pressure release naturally if I’m not in a rush. Add the cooked and drained chickpeas to a food processor and process until smooth (You can leave some chickpeas on the side for decoration, they’ll also add some extra texture to the bowl of hummus). Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. If you don’t need to be on a low histamine diet, adding tahini, lemon juice, and cumin will give you a middle eastern style hummus.

Lima Beans Dip with Onions and Tarragon

Ingredients: 1 cup dry Lima beans, filtered / drinking water, four tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for sauteeing the onion, one garlic clove, one large red onion, about one tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves, salt, and pepper to taste.

Lima beans dip

Soak the beans overnight in filtered water, changing the water two or three times. I use Mason jars with a lid and store the jar in the fridge. Before cooking, I rinse them one more time, add them to the pressure cooker, cover them with water (about one inch of water above the level of the beans), and set the Instant Pot on pressure cooking, on high, for 15 minutes. I let the pressure release naturally if I’m not in a rush.

While the beans are cooking, chop the onion and sautee it with extra virgin olive oil until soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Smash and chop the garlic clove and add it to the onions pan for just a couple of minutes before taking off the heat. You want the garlic to be a little cooked but not burned, as it will become bitter. Chop the tarragon and keep it on the side.

When the beans are done, drain them, add them to a food processor, and mix until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the onions and garlic, leaving some onions out for garnish. Mix olive oil and tarragon, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with vegetable sticks or compliant chips.

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