Michelle Klug
September 10, 2012

Even though I know dried beans cost less money and outweigh their canned counterparts

in health benefits, I have been shunning them for years. For starters, they scare me. I’ve heard stories of soaking, rinsing, cooking, spicing – and it all seems a little much (for beans).

But being on a frugal grocery store budget, I’ve decided to give them a try, and was very impressed with the results. It was incredibly easy and not too time consuming if you plan it out right. I soaked the beans before I went to work (8 am), and then put them on the stove right when I came home at 5 pm. They were ready promptly at 7 pm for dinner. I made a big vat and used them all week on salads, in tacos, and threw the rest in a chili.

Why Dried Beans

  1. Less expensive. According to MSNBC, you can get 4 cups of dried beans for 60 cents. The same amount of canned beans would cost you $6.
  2. Less sodium.  Canned bean contain as much as 900 mg of sodium per cup.  Using dried beans gives you the power to control how much sodium you want to add.
  3. No additives. Pre-seasoned beans can contain many additives and ingredients – some, such as animal fat, you may not want. Add your own spices to appease your taste. Many, such as cumin, you probably already have handy.
  4. Substantial texture. Cooked dried beans were much less soggy than canned beans. I liked the tougher texture and was glad to see the beans did not mush.
Bean Benefits
  1. Naturally fat free.
  2. High in dietary fiber.
  3. High in protein.
  4. Great filling food for dieters, vegetarians, and vegans.
How to Prepare

Depending on the type on bean, preparation times may vary, but this preparation was successful for black beans.

Choose the quantity you want to cook, keeping in mind that the beans will expand when soaked (mine expanded double their size).

  • Place in large bowl and fill with water, soak overnight or while you’re at work (6 to 8 hours).
  • Drain in a colander and rinse a few times until water runs clear.
  • Add new water to a large pot (enough where the beans can easily boil), bring to a boil, and then simmer on low/medium heat for 2 hours.
  • Drain enough water to where the beans are saucy by not soupy. Flavor to your liking. For black beans, I add cumin, a chopped jalapeno, ½ a white onion, a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • I used my beans with some leftover taco night supplies I had in the fridge: flour tortillas, cheddar cheese, salsa, fat-free sour cream, and avocado. Here are some other recipes I’m dying to try:

    View Recipe: Black Bean-Quinoa Salad with Basil-Lemon Dressing

    View Recipe: Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa

    View Recipe: Mexican Black-Bean Chili

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