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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Naturally fat free.
- High in dietary fiber.
- High in protein.
- 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.
- Choose the quantity you want to cook, keeping in mind that the beans will expand when soaked (mine expanded double their size).
- Place in large bowl and fill with water, soak overnight or while you’re at work (6 to 8 hours).
- Drain in a colander and rinse a few times until water runs clear.
- 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.
- 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: