Dried beans are a much cheaper option than canned beans. Canned beans can be anywhere from 80 cents to $1.50 per 15 oz, and dried beans are anywhere from 85 cents to $1.20 per pound which yields about 3 lbs of cooked beans. That makes it about 3 times cheaper to cook with dried beans.
Another big reason we like to cook dry beans is because there is less waste. Especially if you have access to buying beans from a bulk container that some health food stores have. We bring our reused bags and fill up on dried beans and any other bulk items. This is one of the ways we try to reduce our trash and our contributions to the landfills.
The actual prep time for making the beans is minimal. But there are two, lengthy steps; soaking and cooking.
The first step: Soak The Beans
There are two ways to do this. For the slow soak, simply place your beans into a big bowl of water. Let them soak for 8-10 hours. Done. (I usually do this either overnight, or I will put them to soak in the morning before work, then in the evening they are ready to be cooked.)
For the quick soak, the beans soak time will be cut down to 2-3 hours, depending on the type of bean and how soft you want them. Place the beans in a big pot of water and bring to a boil. Stir the beans and place a lid on the pot. Turn the stove off and let the beans soak for 2-3 hours.
Drain the soaked beans and they’re ready to be cooked.
The next step: Cook the beans
There are also two ways to do this, on the stove or in the crockpot. The crockpot method is easiest because all you have to do is place the beans into the crockpot, pour in the water & salt. Stir it, cover it, set the timer and leave it on overnight or in the morning so its ready in the evening.
On the stove is a bit faster, cutting down the cook time to about 2-3 hours, again, depending on the bean and how soft you want them. Simply bring the beans to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for a few hours. Every 30 min or so, I come by to stir the beans and when they look ready I start tasting them to see how much longer they need.
If you’re wondering how much water to use when cooking the beans, I usually just make sure the beans are covered in water and no beans are sticking out. You can always add extra water and then drain the water afterwards, or reuse the bean water like aquafaba from chickpeas.
Our favorite beans that we eat all the time are pinto, black beans, and chickpeas. We buy them in bulk and since they have a long shelf life, we wait till they go on sale and stock up. We eat lentils all the time too, but lentils do not need to be soaked, and they cook much faster. It only takes 15-20 minutes to cook lentils. We like to mix it up with all different varieties of legumes and grains and plants 🙂
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