What to Do With Dried Beans: An Ask the Audience

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I’m hoping you will have a couple of ideas – we stocked up on a bunch of pantry things before going car-free, and I now have a surplus of every kind of dried bean, and no clue what to do with them. I’m hoping to find a few good main dish recipes, especially slow cooker ones, so I don’t end up making just beans and rice over and over.

Any suggestions, especially where the beans are the main focus, would be very helpful!

Signed,
Soaking in South Bend

Heather says:

Beans and rice, rice and beans. . .

The thing with rice and beans is that there many, many variations on the same two main ingredients. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types. You’ll find there’s quite a difference in flavor from navy beans and rice and Hoppin’ John. I need to get it together and finally add red beans and rice to the site, as well as black beans. I’m not saying I’d like to go with a week of nothing but rice and bean dishes, but if the rice and beans were varied enough we could have a rice and bean rotation once a week for quite a while before I’d tire of the idea.

That said also consider:

Lentil Burgers – you can substitute an equal amount of cooked beans in this recipe, just omit the stock.

Kidney Bean Burgers – this isn’t a recipe, more of an idea of how to make them.

Black Bean Burrito Filling – They also work in tacos, enchiladas -here a recipe for enchilada sauce-, and of course oven chimichangas.

And of course, you can’t leave out my all-time-favorite refried beans. The kids call them squishy beans and they are made with astounding regularity around here. They love bean burritos for lunch.

Home-Eccers, I would love for you to share, via link in the comments, your favorite recipes that use dried beans.

Submit your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.



7 Comments

  1. QuipsTravails on December 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I love dried beans and have several recipes on my blog, but my favorite is slow-cooker Moros Y Cristianos – Cuban black beans and rice. You can use any color of beans, but the flavors are punchy and delicious.

    http://quipstravailsandbraisedoxtails.blogspot.com/2010/04/moros-y-cristianos.html

    I’ve also got recipes for Cider baked beans and Boston Baked beans, as well as all kinds of bean salads and other dishes (they call for canned, but you can sub cooked dried.) http://quipstravailsandbraisedoxtails.blogspot.com/search?q=beans

    My best tip: soak several times the amount of beans you want to use overnight. Drain, rinse, and portion the remainder into recipe-sized quantities and freeze in airtight containers or bags. When you want beans, you can start the cooking just by rinsing the frozen beans until they’re mostly thawed (don’t put food that’s still frozen in your slow-cooker, though.) Keep in mind the quantities you used to start with, as soaked beans have more volume than dried.

  2. deneicer1 on December 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Recipe for Sausage and Bean Soup: 1 roll of breakfast sausage, 1 lb ground Italian sausage – brown and rinse put into pot with: 1 box beef broth. Rinse in strainer: 3 cans of Great Northern Beans, 2 cans pinto beans and 1 can black beans. Add to pot 1 chopped onion,1 t. minced garlic and 1 can chopped stewed tomatoes. Use the dried beans in place of the canned beans (I do it all the time.)

    Strange but good: Its really good to use on salad when it is cold with a dollop of sour cream.

    Red Beans and Andouille Sausage: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/authentic-louisiana-red-beans-and-rice/

  3. storytelleremily on December 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I make my own hummus: http://empossibility.com/2008/06/cooking-with-friends-in-mind/

    turned the Southern New Year’s Dinner into a soup http://empossibility.com/2010/01/my-take-on-new-years-dinner/

    Heather mentioned bean burgers – I made them with black beans here http://empossibility.com/2011/06/alien-barf-for-dinner/

    and made Curried Chickpeas here http://empossibility.com/2011/11/not-so-quick-curried-chickpeas/

    Also: your conversion for canned – to- dry beans is 1/2 C of dry beans = 1 15oz can OR 1 1/2 C cooked. I haven’t bought canned beans since discovering this lovely little fact.

  4. SandeeHill on December 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    One of my family’s favorites, Tamale Lentil Casserole, came out of my Betty Crocker cookbook. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/dec/29/tamales-inspire-lentils-power-holiday-casserole/ If you don’t want to use a cornbread mix for the topping, you can make up just the dry ingredients of a cornbread recipe and it works just fine (though I still prefer my Jiffy mix…it’s one processed food I can’t leave behind…).

    I also like making soups with beans in them. One of the best winter soups is my spicy chicken soup. I toss 7-8 c. chicken broth in the slow cooker with 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I’ve also used shredded leftover roasted chicken), 1-2 c. frozen corn, 1-2c. cooked black beans, 1T. cayenne pepper and 2t. cumin (adjust the spices to your family’s flavors- mine say the spicer the better). Sometimes I’ll add in some minced garlic if I’m feeling it. If I’m using raw breasts, I cook it all day; just before serving, I fish out the chicken, shred it with 2 forks, return to the soup, and serve. This is the perfect chicken soup for being sick. You get lots of protein from the chicken and beans; the cayenne is a natural immune system stimulant, source of vit C, sore throat reliever, fever-reducer, and eases sore throats; and the cumin is calming and aides digestion. Not to mention that the cumin and cayenne combo is great for clearing out your sinuses. ;)Last week I made up a soup with broth, leftover turkey, the same herbs I’d spiced that with (rosemary, thyme, & sage), some cooked great northern beans, some frozen corn, and a handful of craisins, and that was delicious too!

  5. juliekfountain on December 6, 2011 at 10:50 am

    You can use raw (soaked but not cooked) garbanzo beans to make falafel. I like this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/vegan-friendly-falafel/detail.aspx

    You can also use most types of white beans for pasta e fagioli, here’s a recipe for that: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pasta-e-fagioli-i-2/detail.aspx

    I like leftover cooked beans thrown in a green salad, or as taco filling.

  6. Milehimama on December 6, 2011 at 10:13 am

    I have lots of recipes on my site! We eat beans about 3 times a week.

    3 Sisters Soup – corn, beans, and pumpkin (you could use butternut, too.)

    http://www.milehimama.com/home-cooking/real-food/three-sisters-soup/

    Lentil Enchiladas

    http://www.milehimama.com/home-cooking/how-to-make-lentil-enchiladas/

    Charro Beans, good with anything Mexicanhttp://www.milehimama.com/home-cooking/real-food/carnival-of-meatless-meals/

    Here’s a good one- “cheaters” rice-a-roni (with beans!) http://www.milehimama.com/home-cooking/recipe-home-cooking/the-everything-beans-book-giveaway/

    Also we eat “Hoppin’ John” (black eyed peas with greens, served with cornbread) throughout the year, not just on New Year’s.I also substitute beans for meat. White beans (Navy, northern) make a good stand in for chicken, and black or red beans make a great stand in for beef.

    Lentils and rice can be pretty much substituted for ground beef (we eat them in sloppy joes and enchiladas). Cook it just like rice, lentils don’t need to be soaked, and you can season it before cooking if you like. So our mix is 1 c. lentils, 1 c. brown rice, 4 c. water. Cover, bring to a boil, then turn it down to low for 40 minutes (or use a rice cooker.)

  7. Dr Alice on December 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

    There are a lot of good Italian recipes involving beans. If you can find John Thorne’s cookbook “Pot on the Fire” at the library, he has a chapter involving cooking beans in the Italian style – in a heavy pot over very slow heat. (Originally he cooked them in a chianti bottle for extra authenticity but after a couple of spectacular accidents he gave up on that part.) The recipes are mostly for white beans but you could probably adapt them. The valuable part is where, having cooked one batch of beans, he then shows you about half a dozen different serving ideas with different flavors, all of which are very easy.

    Also try Mark Bittman – either find his cooking columns on line or again try the library for his books. He does a lot of vegetarian cooking and has some great bean recipes. Lastly, a cooking tip I haven’t tried but wanted to pass along. If you soak the beans and then freeze them, soaked, they are supposed to cook up much faster when you thaw them later. As the freezing water expands, it breaks the hard starch in the beans and they hydrate faster (I think that’s how it is supposed to work).

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