Hard-to-cook phenomenon in common legumes: chemistry, mechanisms and utilisation

Dilini Perera, Lavaraj Devkota, Gil Garnier, Joe Panozzo, Sushil Dhital

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Future dietary protein demand will focus more on plant-based sources than animal-based products. In this scenario, legumes and pulses (lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc.) can play a crucial role as they are one of the richest sources of plant proteins with many health benefits. However, legume consumption is undermined due to the hard-to-cook (HTC) phenomenon, which refers to legumes that have high resistance to softening during cooking. This review provides mechanistic insight into the development of the HTC phenomenon in legumes with a special focus on common beans and their nutrition, health benefits, and hydration behaviour. Furthermore, detailed elucidation of HTC mechanisms, mainly pectin-cation-phytate hypothesis and compositional changes of macronutrients like starch, protein, lipids and micronutrients like minerals, phytochemicals and cell wall polysaccharides during HTC development are critically reviewed based on the current research findings. Finally, strategies to improve the hydration and cooking quality of beans are proposed, and a perspective is provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135743
Number of pages15
JournalFood Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2023


  • Common beans
  • Hard to cook
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Pectin-cation-phytate
  • Phytochemicals

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