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How to Cook Beans from Dried – and Why You Should

Does it take a little more time than opening a can? Yes. Is it totally worth the effort? Also yes.

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If you’re here, we assume you’re ready to advance from canned and pouched, pre-prepped beans into the world of DIY. Maybe the colors and patterns of heirloom legumes have caught your eye or you’ve scored a spot in a dried bean club. Either way, once you’ve got your hands on some dry guys, you’ll need to know how to cook beans – and, luckily enough, the answer is that it’s super easy.

Something fun about the process of cooking beans for yourself is you get to choose your own adventure. You can plan ahead and do a long soak before cooking, or get right down to it and just leave them boiling for longer. And, best of all, you get to pick your own custom blend of aromatics. Adding aromatics (such as onion, garlic, and herbs) will flavor the beans and their broth, but leave a neutral flavor for any type of recipe. Kombu (dried kelp) helps reduce beans’ gas-producing properties.

When you know how to cook beans for yourself you can also control the texture a bit more, and you’ll find you can get a far better mouthfeel experience than what’s available in a can. And, of course, you’ll be able to use all those pretty speckled and striped beans, bringing not only enhanced flavor and texture to your meals, but a bit of eye candy as well.


RELATED: Our Smoky-Spicy Take on Classic Beans and Rice


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Servings
5

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried heirloom beans, pre-soaked, if desired
  • 1/2 onion, peeled, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, optional
  • 1 bay leaf, optional
  • 1 strip kombu, optional
  • Sprigs of fresh or dried herbs, optional

Preparation

  1. Place beans, optional aromatics, and 8 to 10 cups water in large pot or saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Boil 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer pre-soaked beans for 30 minutes; dried beans for 2 hours, or until beans are tender and creamy, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Remove aromatics before serving or using beans.

Nutrition Information

  • Calories 124
  • Carbohydrate Content 23 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 0.5 g
  • Fiber Content 12 g
  • Protein Content 7 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Sodium Content 2 mg
  • Sugar Content 1 g