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.

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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
Jx

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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).

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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.
Jx

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