Have No Fear with Dried Beans

September 10, 2012 | By | Comments (7)

Even though I know dried beans cost less money and outweigh their canned counterparts in health benefits, I have been shunning them for years. For starters, they scare me. I’ve heard stories of soaking, rinsing, cooking, spicing – and it all seems a little much (for beans).

But being on a frugal grocery store budget, I’ve decided to give them a try, and was very impressed with the results. It was incredibly easy and not too time consuming if you plan it out right. I soaked the beans before I went to work (8 am), and then put them on the stove right when I came home at 5 pm. They were ready promptly at 7 pm for dinner. I made a big vat and used them all week on salads, in tacos, and threw the rest in a chili.

Why Dried Beans

  1. Less expensive. According to MSNBC, you can get 4 cups of dried beans for 60 cents. The same amount of canned beans would cost you $6.
  2. Less sodium.  Canned bean contain as much as 900 mg of sodium per cup.  Using dried beans gives you the power to control how much sodium you want to add.
  3. No additives. Pre-seasoned beans can contain many additives and ingredients – some, such as animal fat, you may not want. Add your own spices to appease your taste. Many, such as cumin, you probably already have handy.
  4. Substantial texture. Cooked dried beans were much less soggy than canned beans. I liked the tougher texture and was glad to see the beans did not mush.

Bean Benefits

  1. Naturally fat free.
  2. High in dietary fiber.
  3. High in protein.
  4. Great filling food for dieters, vegetarians, and vegans.

How to Prepare

Depending on the type on bean, preparation times may vary, but this preparation was successful for black beans.

  1. Choose the quantity you want to cook, keeping in mind that the beans will expand when soaked (mine expanded double their size).
  2. Place in large bowl and fill with water, soak overnight or while you’re at work (6 to 8 hours).
  3. Drain in a colander and rinse a few times until water runs clear.
  4. Add new water to a large pot (enough where the beans can easily boil), bring to a boil, and then simmer on low/medium heat for 2 hours.
  5. Drain enough water to where the beans are saucy by not soupy. Flavor to your liking. For black beans, I add cumin, a chopped jalapeno, ½ a white onion, a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

I used my beans with some leftover taco night supplies I had in the fridge: flour tortillas, cheddar cheese, salsa, fat-free sour cream, and avocado. Here are some other recipes I’m dying to try:

View Recipe: Black Bean-Quinoa Salad with Basil-Lemon Dressing

View Recipe: Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa

View Recipe: Mexican Black-Bean Chili


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  2. Deanna Dotson

    I have been cooking beans in a pressure cooker and they come our amazing and in no time. Yesterday I put a bag of chickpeas and turned the pressure up to high and let it cook for 15-20 minutes and unplugged it and let it de-pressurize on its own (maybe 20 minutes or so) and then checked my beans (my black beans and white beans would usually be done but I chose to put the lid back on and repeat). I at this point thought I overcooked them because when I put them in the strainer to rinse them off they were super tender. Funny this is the only thing I use my pressure cooker for. I usually put my beans on a cookie sheet and freeze them and once frozen put them in a freezer bag and then I can just scoop out what I need and defrost them.

    June 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm
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  4. Trish

    I always use dried beans. I just wash, then put them in a pan and bring to a boil. Then simmer. I set the timer for 30 min., so they do not dry out and burn. They are usually cooked in an hour. Larger beans take longer. I usually rotate the beans, red, kidney, white, black, etc. My favorite way to eat beans is on a flat corn tortilla. I spread the beans, lettuce, salsa, onions, cheese, then nuke for 22 sec.
    I would love to see a recipe for baked tortillas. I do not like the old lard after taste of the store bought ones, and , of course, do not need the extra calories.

    September 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm
  5. Della

    I love black beans and will try out some of your recipes.

    September 11, 2012 at 3:25 pm
  6. Aiden

    great post. i’ve always wanted to use dried beans because of the cost and lower sodium but have always been too unsure of how to deal with them.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm
  7. Afrobutterfly

    I went dried to make a ‘Thai-style’ white bean dish over rice. Mixed some peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil and a variety of other spices I found in the pantry to make the sauce and, needless to say… it was an abject failure. Looked of cack and tasted of burnt pan… This is exactlyyyy why I read Simmer & Boil. Sticking with your tacos next time. They look delicious.

    September 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

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