Silky dried beans have long been an elusive beast in my kitchen. Given my commitment to whole foods and traditional cooking methods, I prefer to use dried beans, but often end up with slightly crunchy beans that aren't quite as good as those from a can. Luckily, I've continued to persevere and am thrilled to announce that I've figured it out. This is the perfect dry bean recipe that leaves you with creamy, thick, and delicious beans every time.
A big pot of beans checks so many boxes — it's nutrient dense and filled with fiber, inexpensive for a large family, uses lots of kitchen leftovers, and lasts for days.
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 1.5 cups of dried beans (any variety)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 cups bone broth or meat/vegetable stock
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 leek, diced
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried leaves)
- 5 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 piece of kombu seaweed (dried)
The trick with these beans is the adage, "Slow and steady wins the race." You begin to prepare these beans the day before you plan to eat them. Now, don't stop reading because that seems like way too much effort — this recipe is completely simple. It just takes a bit of advanced planning.
Rinse your dried beans and set them in a large mixing bowl to soak. Cover them fully with boiling water and leave them room to expand. Soaking is important because all beans and legumes contain phytic acid, which is toxic to the body. Letting them sit in water for anywhere from 3 to 12 hours allows them to release their acid, which is both better for the body and eliminates their gassy qualities. When they're finished soaking they will be larger, plumper, and their color may have changed slightly.
Rinse the soaked beans thoroughly and place them in a large pot with all of the ingredients listed above. Simmer the pot on low for at least 2 hours. It should start to smell delicious. The broth will also likely thicken as it cooks — add more water as needed to keep the beans fully covered, and stir every 30 minutes.
Cover the beans when they've finished cooking, let them cool on the stove, and refrigerate overnight. Sitting in their cooking liquid overnight allows the beans to soak up all the flavors and reach the ideal consistency.
Reheat your pot of beans, top with grated Parmesan cheese, and enjoy! Or, strain them and use them as you would a can of beans. I like to make a large pot on Sunday and enjoy the beans in a range of meals throughout the week.
One caveat: these beans are creamy, which means they aren't the best for cold salads. I like them in warm dishes instead.
Beans are filled with powerful plant protein, loads of fiber, high antioxidant levels and many vitamins and minerals. In particular, they're a good source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Because of their high nutrient density, beans have been well researched and found to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Definitely a superfood in my book!