Beans are definitely a staple in our house. They are a wonderful way to add plant-based protein to your diet, as well as iron, B vitamins and fiber. Beans are a great addition to meals, especially when you are trying to limit your consumption of animal protein. I usually double this recipe and fix a big pot of beans on Monday, and we pull them out during the week and add them to all types of different dishes.
For some reason, a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of cooking there own beans. The assumption is that the soaking and cooking of beans is a really complex process. Actually, they are super simple, it just takes a little time and patience.
(Makes about 5 cups cooked beans)
- 1 pound dried beans (any kind of bean you like)
- 1 tbsp salt, or to taste
- Add-ins (optional): garlic, onion, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, parsley…
Empty the beans into a large stock pot. Pick through the beans and get rid of any that look undesirable. Cover the beans with several inches of water. Soak the beans overnight, or 10-12 hours before you plan to cook them. This reduces the cooking time and helps the beans to cook evenly. (NOTE: If you’ve forgotten to presoak the beans, you can bring them to a boil in ample water to cover. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for 1 hour.)
After 10-12 hours of soaking, the beans will have absorbed much of the water. Drain and gently rinse the beans. Place the beans back in the stock pot and add any optional seasonings. Cover the beans with a couple inches of water. Place the pot over medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil. Skim off the foam (this reduces some of the gassiness that beans are known for). Reduce the heat to low and keep the beans at a gentle simmer. For firmer beans that will be used in salads, cook with the lid off. For creamier beans that will be used in soups and other dishes, cover the pot, but leave the lid slightly ajar. Cook the beans for one hour and then begin checking them for doneness. Depending on their type and size, beans can take anywhere from one to three hours to cook, so be patient and taste every 15-30 minutes. Add more water to the pot, if needed, to keep beans covered. Add the salt when the beans are tender, but still too firm to eat. Adding the salt too early can keep the beans from becoming tender. Continue cooking until the beans are as tender as you like them. (Note: If you are cooking your beans for soup, it is best to slightly undercook them so they can finish cooking in the soup itself.)
Cool and store beans in a small amount of their cooking liquid. They will keep in the refrigerator for one week, or in the freezer for up to three months.
|Dry Beans||Cooking Time|
|Black (Turtle)||60-90 minutes|
|Black-Eyed Peas||60 minutes|
|Chickpeas (Garbanzos)||120-180 minutes|
|Great Northern||90-120 minutes|
|Lima Beans||60-90 minutes|
|Split Peas||45-60 minutes|
* Do not require soaking. All times are approximate.