Five Uses for Leftover Beans

Have you had the opportunity yet to experience the delicious flavor and amazing health benefits of beans? If not, here are a few tips on preparing and using beans to help you.

For more information on the health benefits and uses of beans, please see the articles on the website on Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Garbanzo Beans, and Pinto Beans.

If you are new to cooking or new to vegetarian cooking, preparing beans can be a little bit intimidating at first. But, once you learn the basics you will be off and running. Of course, you don't have to cook the beans from scratch to enjoy them. Organically grown, canned beans can be used in any recipe calling for beans. But, if you are up for learning something new, try your hand at cooking dry beans from scratch. Beans are so versatile that you can cook up a large pot of beans and enjoy them throughout the week in salads, dips, and soups.

First things first . . . Here are simple instructions for preparing dry beans.

  • To make cooking time quicker beans should be soaked before cooking. This soaking process can be done in two ways. The first method is to boil the beans for two minutes, take the pan off the heat, cover and stand for two hours.
  • The second method is to simply soak the beans in water for eight hours or overnight, placing the pan in the refrigerator so that the beans will not ferment. Before cooking the beans, regardless of method, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water.
To cook the beans, you can either cook them on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker.
  • For the stovetop method, add three to four cups of fresh water or broth for each cup of dried beans. The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot. If any foam develops, you can skim it off during the simmering process. Different beans vary in cooking length. The smaller beans (i.e. black beans) generally take about one and one-half hours to become tender, while larger beans (i.e. kidney beans) may take two hours or more.
  • Beans can also be cooked in a pressure cooking, which cuts the cooking time in at least half.
Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked since adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.

Once you have your pot of beans, you'll find many delicious ways to serve them. Look first at the recipes on the website, as quite a number of them call for beans.

In addition, consider serving beans in the following five ways.

  1. Dips: Cooked beans can be quickly turned into a delicious dip or spread for raw, cut vegetables. Puree garbanzo beans with olive oil, fresh garlic, tahini, and lemon juice to make hummus. Or, combine black beans with chopped tomato, avocado, green onion, green pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and cayenne pepper to make a chunky dip.
  2. Beans and rice: A simple dinner! Combine leftover beans and rice with any vegetables you have in the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper or top with salsa.
  3. Salads: Add cooked beans to a fresh green salad, for extra protein and fiber. For a delicious salad topper, marinate the beans in olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Snacks: Beans can even stand alone as a snack. Heat a bowl with your favorite seasonings and spices.
  5. Quesadillas and burritos: Instead of using beef or chicken, add cooked beans to your favorite Mexican dishes.

This page was updated on: 2002-11-21 18:03:31
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation