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How to Cook Beans

Updated on April 16, 2018
Cannellini (in blue bowl), Lima (large white beans on small plate), Mexican Beans (yellow beans on large plate), miscellaneous beans (on large plate). Black beans and Chili beans in the cans.
Cannellini (in blue bowl), Lima (large white beans on small plate), Mexican Beans (yellow beans on large plate), miscellaneous beans (on large plate). Black beans and Chili beans in the cans.

I Eat Beans And You Should Too

I eat beans. I eat little beans (lentils). I eat big beans (lima). I eat red beans (kidney). I eat black beans (black). I eat green beans. I’ve even eaten beans I’ve never heard of (mung) and beans I’ve heard too much of (pinto). I’ve never eaten a bean I didn’t like. Not the navy, the pink, the Mexican, nor the Anasazi. Not the garbanzo, the soybean, the cannellini, nor the adzuki. Not the butter, the fava, the great northern, nor the borlotti. Not even the peas, the black-eyed and the split. Packed with protein, fiber, and B vitamins not to mention low in fat, beans are affordable, nutritious, adaptable, and delicious.

If you’re interested in beans, the first thing you should do (after picking out debris and rinsing them) when cooking beans is to soak dry beans overnight in order to start the rehydration process. However, lentils and split peas do not require soaking as they are so small. This will shorten the cooking time for the beans and dissolve some of the complex sugars that cause digestive gas. And we all know that’s the trouble with beans. After soaking, drain the water and cook on low heat in your desired method whether it’s a pot on the stove, a Dutch oven on a wood stove, a pressure cooker, or a slow cooker. One cup of dry beans which makes 2 cups of cooked beans usually takes about 3 cups of water to cook. Add salt, bouillon, and acidic foods like tomatoes near the end of cooking as these items toughen the beans making them cook slower. Check your beans periodically to make sure they are not running out of water which will burn them and to see when they will be ready. Or, you can just buy them in a can.

Here are a few of my favorite bean recipes. Enjoy!

SAVORY GARBANZO BEANS

1 15.5oz can of garbanzo beans, drained

1 14.5oz can of Italian tomatoes

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 green pepper, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp Italian seasoning or any combination of oregano and basil

1 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Add any amount and variety of pasta if desired.

Saute garlic, onions, and green pepper in olive oil until onion is transparent and pepper is soft. Add Italian seasoning, black pepper, and tomatoes and simmer for 2 minutes. Add crumbles and simmer for 2 minutes. Add drained chick peas and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve over pasta of your choice if desired. Makes 4-6 servings.

CURRY LENTILS AND RICE

1 1/4 cups of lentils

Curry powder to taste

1 onion, cut into pieces

2 carrots, cut into pieces

2 garlic cloves, diced

Rice of your choice (wild, brown, white)

In a slow cooker or a pot over the stove, place lentils, onion, carrots, garlic, and curry powder and cook until lentils are tender (time varies depending on what method you are using to cook the lentils; however, lentils are a small bean and do not take as long as beans such as pintos). If you want crunchier vegetables, add them just as the lentils are beginning to soften. Prepare your favorite rice. Spoon the lentils over the top of the rice. Makes 4-6 servings.

THREE BEAN CHILI

1 ½ cups cooked or 1 15oz can of black beans

1 ½ cups cooked or 1 15oz can of pinto beans

1 ½ cups cooked or 1 15oz can of kidney beas

1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

½ green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seed and diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

2 tablespoons of chili powder

1 ½ cups of water

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

1 tablespoon of canola oil

Saute the onion and bell pepper in the canola oil until tender. Add the garlic and jalapeno pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, and tomatoes. Add the beans, water, salt, and black pepper. Simmer the chili for 30 minutes to reduce the liquid. Serve with cornbread, corn chips, or crackers. Makes 4-6 servings.

ZESTY BAKED BEANS

3 cups cooked or 2 15oz cans of Great Northern or butter beans

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, diced

1 14.5oz can of tomato puree

1 tablespoon of canola oil

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne

2 tablespoons of light brown sugar

2 tablespoons of molasses

1 tablespoon of prepared yellow mustard

1 ½ tablespoons of soy sauce

1 ½ tablespoons of white wine vinegar

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute onion and garlic in the canola oil until tender. Add the chili powder and cayenne. Add the tomato puree, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, soy sauce, and vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Oil a 1 ½ quart baking dish. Add the beans and the mixture, stir to combine. Cover and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve with hot dogs or just eat as a meal with a bread of your choice and salad. Makes 4 servings.

CANNELLINI VEGETABLE STEW

1 ½ cups cooked of cannellini beans

1 8oz can tomato sauce

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, cut to quarter inch disks

1 potato of your choice, cut to 1 inch squares

2 cups of yellow squash or zucchini, peeled and cut to 1 inch squares

2 cups of mushrooms of your choice, cut in to large pieces

2 tablespoons of canola oil

½ cup of dry white wine

2 cups of vegetable stock

1 teaspoon of thyme leaves, chopped or ½ teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of parsley leaves, chopped

Saute onion, carrot, potato, and squash in the canola oil until slightly tender. Add the wine, stock, tomato sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper and bring to boil. Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cooked beans. Simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Adjust simmer times depending on how thick you want the stew. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with bread of your choice. Makes 4-6 servings.

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