Loaded with nutrition and high in fiber, dried beans are one of our most healthful edibles. As a key ingredient in many of our best-loved dishes, they can also be absolutely delicious. The slow cooker excels at turning these unappetizing bullets into potentially sublime fare. It is also extraordinarily convenient — since discovering the slow cooker, I don’t cook dried beans any other way. I put presoaked beans into the slow cooker before I go to bed and when I wake up, they are ready for whatever recipe I plan to make.
This recipe may be doubled or tripled to suit the quantity of beans required for a recipe.
Legumes (Dried beans and lentils):
Once cooked, legumes should be covered and stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for four to five days. Cooked legumes can also be frozen in an airtight container. They will keep frozen for up to six months.
Dried beans and lentils should be stored in a dry, airtight container at room temperature. Since they lose their moisture over time, they are best used within a year. You’ll know your beans are stale if their skins shrivel up when they are soaked.
Canned beans are a quick and easy substitute for cooked dried beans. Although the sizes of canned beans vary, the differences won’t effect the results of most recipes. For 2 cups (500 mL) cooked beans, use a standard can, which usually range in size from 14 oz (398 mL) to 19 oz (540 mL). Rinse well under cold running water before adding to your recipe.
Cooking Methodslow cooking
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
- 1 cup (250 ml) dried beans or chickpeas
- 3 cups (750 ml) water
Long soak: In a bowl, combine beans and water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Beans are now ready for cooking.
Quick soak: In a pot, combine beans and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Beans are now ready to cook.
Cooking: In slow cooker, combine 1 cup (250 mL) presoaked beans and 3 cups (750 mL) fresh cold water. Season with garlic, bay leaves or a bouquet garni made from your favorite herbs tied together in a cheesecloth, if desired. Add salt to taste. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. The beans are now ready for use in your favorite recipe.
2004 Judith Finlayson