3 Easy Ways to Cook Beans If You Don’t Have an Instant Pot
Instant Pot bean recipes seem to be taking over the internet, but how do you cook them if you (*gasp*) don’t have the appliance? Thankfully, there’s more than one way to add as many protein and fiber-rich legumes to our diet as possible.
For the best results with all cooking methods, start the same way. Look for a fresh bag of dried beans (Make sure it isn’t too close to the expiration date). Measure them out according to your recipe, then sort through and chuck any small stones or clumps of dirt. Give your beans a rinse, then soak overnight (to make them more digestible). The next day, they’re ready to cook. We like to make a big batch on Sundays so we can include them in soups, chili, and curries all week long.
Now, on to the three different ways to make baked beans if you don’ have an Instant Pot.
1. Baked Beans: This is an easy, hands-off method. Cook your overnight-soaked beans low and slow (225 degrees Fahrenheit oven for six hours) in a covered dutch oven with the liquid of your choice, be it broth with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. The result is a pot of beans that’s tender, creamy, and full of complex flavor. This classic maple baked beans recipe will make eating legumes for dinner seem like a true treat instead of a chore.
2. Stove-Top Simmered Beans: After soaking the beans, toss the soaking water and bring the beans to a boil with fresh water along with some aromatics (half an onion, a few bay leaves, 10 peppercorns, and two crushed cloves of garlic), then cover and simmer for a couple of hours until tender. Of all the beans to stove-top simmer, try chickpeas or kidney beans. If cooking kidney beans, take heed and boil them for 10 minutes in a separate pot of water before transferring them to the pot of water with aromatics. This neutralizes a protein called lectin that causes digestive discomfort.
3. Slow Cooker Beans: When using a slow cooker for your beans, you can pre-soak them or simply cook from dried (although this may be harder to digest). Add some aromatics, put the lid on, then slow cook all day until your beans are tender and creamy. When they are about two-thirds of the way cooked, salt the water (or use bouillion), so as to season the beans without making them tough. We use this method to make pinto beans, black beans, or any beans we want to get a little soupy and delicious. If you want to add more body to the bean cooking liquid, use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to smoosh some of the beans. The resulting dish is tasty enough to eat on its own, though it’s especially good served over rice or with some fresh bread or tortillas.
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(Photos via Nicole Perry and Justina Huddleston / Brit + Co)