I’m assuming that most of you reading this have never seen or maybe even heard of lupini beans*.
Lupini are a very unique type of bean, which are popular in Italy, especially at Christmas. They do not have the taste or texture of any other bean I’ve ever had, and they also eaten differently, but I’ll explain that later. Lupini are naturally, extremely bitter, and must be soaked overnight, cooked the next day, then rinsed several times a day for the next 5 or 6 days! I’ve always wondered who the person was who figured out that if you just keep rinsing these beans that they would actually taste delicious, let alone edible!
Lupini are a traditional Christmas snack, served as an antipasto or also after a meal. Usually, olives are mixed with the lupini, which lend their salty flavor to the beans…it’s a fabulous combination.
Don’t let the process of making these intimidate you because there’s really nothing to it-the only problem is remembering to start about 5 days before you want to eat them!
If you can boil beans and rinse them, you can do this. Of course, these are great to eat as a snack because they’re so healthy…don’t just limit them to the Christmas season, you can eat them year ’round. I will warn you though, once you start eating lupini, it’s very difficult to stop; they are very addictive.
*WARNING: Peanut allergy sufferers, please make sure you are not also allergic to lupini beans read here.
How to Cook and Eat Lupini Beans
- one bag of dried lupini beans, look for beans without blemishes (I used one 14 oz bag)
- olives, green (green are traditionally used in Italy) or black, with the liquid
Rinse and sort the lupini, then soak them overnight, a minimum of 12 hours.
Rinse the beans, then put into a large pot with fresh water, more than covering the beans.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat, drain, place into a large bowl and fill to cover with water.
At this point, just keep rinsing the lupini for about 30 seconds at a time, 3 to 4 times a day, for about 5 days (less if you change the water more often.)
The bowl can be kept on the counter; it does not need to be refrigerated.
Just so you have an idea, I kept track of how many times I changed the water over 5 days, and the total count was 18. Yes, this is necessary or you will have bitter beans.
At the end of the 5th day, taste a bean, or part of one, to check for bitterness. The bean will not taste good yet, but you are only checking for bitterness, nothing else. If the lupini are still bitter, continue to change the water until they are no longer bitter.
Now add some salt, probably about one teaspoon of Kosher salt to the lupini in the water (do not drain.) You can also add a can of olives, liquid and all (not under oil.) Stir well and taste after about 3 hours. If it needs more salt, add some. If you make the lupini too salty, just add a little more water.
DO NOT CHANGE THE WATER ANYMORE and refrigerate, once the salt has been added.
Now the lupini are ready to eat! Use a mini seive or slotted spoon to put some lupini and olives into a serving bowl.
Take a lupini bean in your fingers and bite part way through the top part of the bean (where the little white part is) to break open the tough skin, but don’t bite the bean inside.
Now, just squeeze gently while holding the bean in front of your mouth, and POP the bean in!! I told you lupini were cooked and eaten differently! Once you get started, you won’t be able to stop…but remember, they are beans, so you probably don’t want to eat too many! :)
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