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Here’s How to Prep Black Beans So You’ll Have a Go-To Vegetarian Protein Source

Pressure-cooked beans are ready in less than hour.

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Even if you’re not plant-based, incorporating non-meat protein sources in your weekly meals is a great way to mix it up, increase your fiber intake, and bulk up lunches. Try prepping Elyse’s black beans this weekend.

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[Part of the Mastering Meal Prep with Elyse Kopecky series.]

Read the transcript:


I’m going to tell you how I make my basic black beans. I start with one pound of black beans, which is about two and a quarter cups of beans. I like to make a lot at once because they freeze really well. I soak them overnight, which helps with digestability and then I just combine them in an instant pot and pressure cook them. You can also slow cook them in a slow cooker if you don’t have an Instant Pot.

I combine the beans with two whole carrots that are just halved, unpeeled—you can leave the peel on—and then one yellow onion that is just cut in half. You want to leave the onion intact, because you’re going to take it out at the end of cooking. I add four bay leaves and one strip of kombu. Kombu is a type of dried seaweed that I love to add to beans. It helps break down the starches, making them easier to digest. And then I add one and a half teaspoons of sea salt.

You put this in your pressure cooker or your slow cooker, and you add about five or six cups of water. And then you’re going to seal the lid and set your timer, if you’re pressure cooking, for 20 minutes of high pressure. Once the time is complete, you want to allow your Instant Pot to naturally release pressure. So that takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and your beans will be done. So I use these black beans in lots of different ways: on salads, in quesadillas, in burritos…I toss them into scrambled eggs, you can have them for breakfast. For a vegetarian or vegan, beans are an important part of a healthy diet.