A BIG Pot of Beans

cooked beans

A BIG Pot of Beans

It’s not often that I bother to cook up a big pot of beans. But every time I do, I’m glad I went to the extra effort. Home cooked beans always have a much nicer flavour and texture than canned beans.

The soaking does require a little pre-planning but I highly recommend taking the time because it reduces the presence of chemicals called ‘phytates’ which can cause problems with our digestion. It’s also supposed to reduce any bean-related digestive issues or ‘gassiness’.

takes: 6 hours soaking + 1.5 hours cooking
makes: heaps

500g (1lb) dried beans
2 bay leaves, optional

1. Cover beans with plenty of cold water and soak for at least 6 hours and up to 48 hours.

2. Drain beans and place in a large pot. Cover generously with clean cold water and add the bay leaf, if using.

3. Simmer, uncovered until beans are tender – anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Drain.

Variations for Fun

other herbs – skip the bay leaf or replace with other flavourings such as thyme, rosemary or sage.

chickpeas – use dried chickpeas instead of the beans.

Usage Suggestions

canned bean replacement – use anywhere that calls for canned beans. As a rule of thumb, 1 drained can = 250g (9oz) cooked beans.

braised beansrecipe over here – NEW!

soups – brilliant in soups like this roast eggplant and white bean soup.

pasta alternative – serve with your favourite pasta sauce or in your favourite pasta bake like this white bean & onion bake.

salads – toss into your favourite salad for an extra protein hit.

Prepare Ahead?

A must! Takes about 90 minutes cooking + 6 hours soaking. I like to make up a big batch to have on hand for quick meals during the week.

Storage Best Practices

Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or so. Can be frozen for up to 12 months.
Can be stored either in the cooking liquid or drained. I tend to drain before storing.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

beans – pantry.

Problem Solving Guide

too bland? – add in a little more salt.

beans still tough – some beans just don’t want to soften. Blame the beans! Adding a little bicarb soda to the cooking water can help.

beans mushy – means they’ve been overcooked. Not much you can do now except serve them as a puree. Next time watch more closely.

Back to: The Weekend Cook Overview.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Miriam Kearney July 2, 2015

I make a big pot of mixed beans at least once a week since we eat beans with virtually every meal (“slow carb”). I’m loving eating this way and I’m losing weight while actually eating more food than I was before. One thing I’ve done that helps me in the kitchen is to soak a double pot size and freeze 1/2 of the drained, soaked beans. That way when I realize we are low on beans I can just thaw the ones from the freezer and cook them – don’t have to wait for the soaking time.


jules July 3, 2015

Great idea Miriam!
I usually just freeze cooked beans but this is a great alternative. Especially if you have the freezer space


Marina Doucerain October 1, 2014

Somehow, I can’t seem to make the the timing of soaking time + long cooking work for me (maybe it’s just me). So, I’ll suggest an alternative that I discovered recently and that really solved my ‘bean problem’. I simply put the beans in the slow cooker with plenty of water and turn it on on low. It takes several hours to cook (that’s ok, I just go to work in the meantime), but no need to soak! And, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t seem to increase the gassiness factor of the beans. Of course, the catch is that you need to own a slow cooker, but it’s such a great piece of kitchen equipment that it’s really worth it (at least in my opinion).


jules October 3, 2014

Thanks for sharing Marina!
And great to know that the long cooking time seems to be OK from a gassiness perspective. If you do ever think about it, you could always soak and still use the slow cooker for cooking to be doubly sure.


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