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Techniques for Cooking Beans

Updated on March 15, 2011

Why Eat Beans?

Beans are a great way to add fiber to your diet. Fiber can help lower cholesterol, aid in digestion and may help reduce the risk of cancer. They are also high in protein, iron and complex carbohydrates. They can be substituted for meat, which will save money.

Dry beans are easy to store at room temperature for up to one year or even longer in the freezer. Cooked dry beans will last 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.

Types of Beans

Although there are hundreds of varieties of beans in the world, only ten to fifteen types of beans are commonly used.

They are: adzuki, black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto,navy, soy, lentils, mung beans and split peas.

TwoTechniques to Cook Beans

One way to prepare dry beans is to soak them overnight. First rinse the beans, picking out any inferior ones. Then pre-soak overnight before using them, rinsing the beans again before cooking.

When ready to cook, combine 1 cup of pre-soaked beans with 4 cups of water. Bring these to a boil and then simmer on medium for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Kidney beans may take a little less time, while pinto beans may take a little longer. Soy beans will take about 3 hours. Lentils, mung beans and split peas take 30-45 minutes.

Another technique to use is to combine one pound of beans with 8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for one hour. Drain and rinse. Add 8 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil and cook as in first technique.

Using one of these two techniques will aid in digestion of the beans.

Recipe for Black Beans and Quinoa Burritos

Makes 12 burritos.

12 10-inch flour tortillas

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons canola oil

2 cups black beans (prepared as above from dried beans)

2 cups cooked quinoa (see link, for preparation of and cooking quinoa

1 large tomato, chopped and salted

3 cups shredded lo-fat cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 medium avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into 12 wedges


Heat tortillas in foil for 15 minutes in 350 degree F. oven. Saute onion in oil until tender but not brown. Add cooked black beans, quinoa and stir until heated. Spoon about 1/3 cup bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado. Roll up tortilla and bake in a 350 degree F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Serve with salsa.


Makes about 2 cups.

fresh tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups, diced

1 can green chilies

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1-2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

Beans can also be served with cornbread, polenta or corn chips.

Use your imagination for tacos, nachos or dips, as well.

Beans and Polenta

Serve beans with Cornbread


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    • judydianne profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      You're right about that! A few more recipes, too! Thanks a lot for your comment.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Good info and I think by week's end or maybe month's end, we shall know everything in the world about beans (and a few other things, eh?)!

    • judydianne profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

      Sandyspider, I hope you try the burritos. Thanks for stopping by...

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thanks for the tips on cooking beans.


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