Pantry Basics Series-Beans!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Instead of making a pretty pink dessert I am talking about…beans! Yup. Doesn’t get much more romantic than that. I did make my family a special chocolate Dutch Baby for breakfast and I have a special dessert planned for later in the day. And no the dessert will not include beans, though I have been known to do that!
But for right now, let’s talk about beans! There are a few reasons I choose to use dried beans instead of canned beans. One, they’re cheaper. Two, I can control the amount of salt in them. Many canned beans are full of sodium. And three, canned foods have BPA which has raised some concerns about its potential harmful effects.
I cook up a big batch of beans and then portion them in 2 cup portions and freeze the extra.
How to cook dried beans
Rinse the beans. Pour the beans into slowcooker, I don’t measure I just pour some in! Add water to cover beans by about 2 inches. Turn on the slowcooker. Turn on low if you have all day. If I turn mine on high I can have black beans cooked in just a couple of hours. Add a little salt when they are almost tender. Portion into 2 cup portions in freezer bags and freeze.
Stovetop Method. Takes a little less time than the slow cooker method. Still takes about 2 hours.
Pour beans in large pot. Cover with water. Bring to boil and boil for a couple minutes. Turn off heat and let beans sit covered on the stove. About an hour later, check the beans. If they are kinda tender add some salt. Turn the heat back on and simmer until done.
I usually have white beans and black beans on hand but there are so many varieties you can try: cranberry beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, etc. (I also keep garbanzo beans on hand but I love them so much they get their own post!)
1 cup of cooked pinto beans contains 245 calories and only 1 g of fat. They also provide 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. They are also a good source of iron. (source). In comparison, a cup of cooked chicken is 258 calories and 10 grams of fat. It also provides 38 grams of protein (the recommended daily intake for men is 46g for women and 56 for men). So, most Americans get way more protein than they need in a day. Chicken also has 35% of the daily recommended intake for cholesterol. (source)
Beans are so versatile. Puree them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and other spices for a quick sandwich spread or dip for veggies. Add some to your salad. Make some soup.
Here are some more bean recipes you might enjoy!