How to cook dried beans
1 cup beans of your choosing (ex. black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans etc)
Culinary herbs (ex. rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, parsley)
Beans are a delicious, affordable, plant based protein.
I was initially intimidated by cooking dried beans, but after years of cooking them, I can say with confidence that it is easy. It does require some foresight, but the process is very simple. I am willing to spend the time cooking dried beans because I prefer the taste of beans I have cooked myself, but I also find them to be more cost effective compared to canned beans. In addition, you can always make more than you plan to use in one recipe, and store the remainder in the freezer.
I love how versatile beans are, not only in their uses, but also in the many different bean varieties that exist. I especially enjoy buttery white beans, but chickpeas are a kitchen staple. Beans are quite nutritious, and are high in protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. They also contain polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds. Unfortunately, beans also contain “anti-nutrients”, like phytates, that can block the absorption of some minerals. However, the process of soaking the beans and then cooking them in fresh water helps to inactive these compounds. In addition, soaking the beans, and then discarding the soaking water prior to cooking them in fresh water helps to reduce the amount of oligosaccharides, thereby decreasing the flatulence that can be associated with bean consumption. Sprouting beans before cooking can also help with this particular barrier.1
Makes about 2 cups of beans
- Rinse beans, making sure to discard any debris.
- Place beans in a bowl, cover by about 3 inches with water, and then let sit overnight (8 hours).
- Drain and rinse the beans, add them to a pot, and cover by about 3 inches with fresh water. If you are adding flavourful ingredients, do so here.
- Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. The beans should be submerged while cooking, so add more water if necessary.
- Taste test the beans after about 30 minutes, but it will likely take up to an hour until they are soft. When they are almost done, add salt.
- Once tender, but before they are mushy, drain the cooking liquid. You can keep it to use as a stock later on (store in fridge or freezer).
- Store the beans in the fridge, or immediately use them in a recipe. If you are not going to use the beans within a few days, store in the freezer.
Further ideas and modifications
- Because this is a lengthy process, remember that you can make more than 1 cup of beans at a time, and just store any that remain.
- Add whatever you would like to the cooking water. Consider ginger, fennel, celery, black peppercorns etc.
- If your beans are a few years old, keep in mind that they may not get a soft, creamy texture. If possible, it is best to get dried beans from a place that has a high turnover.
- Messina, V. (2014) Nutritional and health benefits of dried beans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 100(1), 437-442.
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