Everyday Non-Recipes & How I Cook My Beans

September 5, 2017

Everyday Non-Recipes & How I Cook My Beans by Faring Well

Thanks to your sweet, encouraging reactions to posts one and two of this series, I’m back with a third. And for the bonus section – we are talking about beans! This is a topic I get written about pretty often. With questions like: fresh or canned? how do you cook them? what do you soak them in first? why a pressure cooker? etc. So hopefully I can knock a few of those out for you below. I also get asked about cooking grains, and plan to share my methods in a future non-recipes post too.

The first section below is another grid of meals I enjoyed this week. As always, my focus daily is on consuming whole plant based meals that aren’t too fussy or hard on the wallet. In order to keep things real with you, I’m sharing mostly breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Why no dinner? Truthfully, I’m still enjoying the dinners mentioned in my previous two posts of this series. Lots of bean + grain bowls piled with my favorite summer veggies every night. I hope you enjoy these small shares and are encouraged that a plant based lifestyle can be filled with flavor and variety while sticking to the simplest superfoods of them all: fruits, vegetables, starches, beans, and grains.

Lastly, I have something exciting to share with you today! I finally finished putting together my newest resource page: Kitchen Equipment, which can now be found under the ‘resources’ section in my sidebar here on the site. I wanted to open up my cupboards to you and show all of the pieces of equipment that keep my kitchen ticking. I hope you enjoy perusing it, if even just for kicks, and that it may help you when shopping around in the future!

Thank you for making my job such a blast, I adore you guys.


E A T S

Everyday Non-Recipes & How I Cook My Beans by Faring Well

I’ve been trading my morning smoothie a few days a week for a jar of chocolate milk oats. I put a half a cup to three quarters cup of rolled oats in a jar, cover it by an inch with plant milk (a mix of almond and soy), add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a good drizzle of maple syrup, stir it together and let it sit overnight. I enjoy this before going for my walk in the morning, and typically have a banana when I get home (before my workout). Super simple and reminds me a lot of cold cereal.

For a post workout snack I’ve been drawn to either a salad or something sweet potato based. The baked sweet potato above is one I halved and filled with a simple chickpea mash of mustard and fresh herbs. The small salad that I always have ingredients on hand for has a base of sweet greens, topped with quinoa, beets (steamed and chilled), diced avocado, lemon juice, and black pepper.

I enjoyed this larger lunch salad a few days last week. Its a mix of sweet greens, thinly shredded purple cabbage, diced cucumber, watermelon, chipotle farro (working on the seasoning blend), with a drizzle of a cool ranch sauce I’ve also been developing to bring you here (hopefully) soon. This was surprisingly filling and left me feeling totally satisfied – ticking all of the boxes: sweet, spicy, crispy, crunchy, and creamy.

For an afternoon snack you’ll find me this summer first and foremost going for my quart-sized jars of chilled drinks in the fridge. The first is a lemon water I make fresh for myself each day. The second is a batch of cold brewed peppermint green tea. Once I’m hydrated I give myself a little time and then go for a snack. Toast is most popular, and I really loved this one above. It’s base is my standard hummus recipe (chickpeas + garlic + lemon juice + s&p + water) blended with grilled sweet corn kernels, ground chipotle, and smoked paprika. (Thanks to Jeanine for this recipe inspiration.) I topped the spread with fresh basil leaves and a nice, thick slice of juicy tomato. A few cracks of black pepper finished it off, and it was so dang good.

(I’ll bring more dinners to you next time, promise – xx.)


C O O K I N G – B E A N S

Everyday Non-Recipes & How I Cook My Beans by Faring Well

Below is the step by step method I follow for cooking my beans. It’s not unique to me, or anything really special outside of yielding really easily digested beans that are creamy – not chalky. My method uses my pressure cooker, the only way I’ve been able to properly cook creamy beans. The stovetop has just never worked for me, plus I love how quickly they cook this way too. But of course, feel free to use a pot on your stove and simmer until soft if you prefer/need to.

I’m using a stovetop pressure cooker. Adjust my method depending on the model of pressure cooker you are using, making sure to follow it’s instructions if different from mine.


M Y – P R O C E S S 

STEP 1 Purchase dried beans. Either in bulk from the store, or by a favorite brand (see examples on my pantry page).

STEP 2 Pour the desired amount of dried beans into a bowl – sized so they only fill the container halfway.

STEP 3 Add a splash of apple cider vinegar, and fill the entire bowl with filtered water. Let sit for 12 to 24 hours.

STEP 4 Rinse and drain the soaked beans. Place the beans in the pot of a pressure cooker.

STEP 5 Add a 1 inch piece of kombu seaweed, and cover the beans by 2 inches with filtered water.

STEP 6 Bring to a boil, secure the lid, bring to high pressure, reduce stovetop heat to low, and let cook for 20 minutes (adjusting stovetop heat as needed to maintain high pressure).

STEP 7 Remove the pot from the stove and let the cooker fully release it’s pressure before removing the lid.

STEP 8 Toss the piece of kombu seaweed (can compost), drain the beans, and transfer to heatproof glass containers. Cover with filtered water, seal tightly, and let cool on the counter before refrigerating.

FREEZING NOTE If looking to freeze a portion of the beans, let them chill fully in the fridge before transferring to the freezer. Make sure to use freezer safe containers, these are my personal favorites. Leave an inch of space for expansion between the lid and the liquid/beans too.

EXCEPTION #1 I soak the chickpeas in plain water, absent of apple cider vinegar, now thanks to a wonderful reader who tipped me off in the comments below about it’s effects on hardening the beans. Although my chickpeas cooked through before, they are by far softer without the ACV in the soaking liquid – therefore I recommend leaving it out.

EXCEPTION #2 I do not soak or pressure cook red lentils. Those I cook from dry in a small sauce pot following the packages directions. In a slow cooker they tend to fall to mush, which is fine for soups, but not for pilafs or other desired uses.


F A Q S

Why apple cider vinegar when soaking?
Soaking beans in an acidic solution helps to break down the phytic acid. While I do believe phytic acid is health promoting as well, I try to mediate the amount I’m exposed to by breaking it down a bit this way. It can also help with those having difficulty digesting the starch in beans at first, while working up your gut’s tolerance.

What’s with the kombu seaweed?
Kombu is rich in nutrients, like iodine, and helps break down some of the harder to digest starches in beans. A nice boost in flavor with added nutrients and digestibility, I’m a big fan.

How long do fresh beans last in the fridge?
Most sources online tell me five days, ours can last a week – but are usually gone before that time.

How long does it take a batch of beans to defrost from the freezer to the fridge?
It depends on the size of your freezing container, but ours typically take around 24 to 36 hours to totally defrost.

Why do you fill your containers of cooked beans with fresh water?
The addition of water gets rid of the air between the beans, which means they will last longer/spoil slower. It also helps the beans keep their shape, necessary for when freezing otherwise they tend to turn to mush.

31 Comments

  • Reply Natasha September 5, 2017 at 3:20 am

    I t would’ve never occurred to me to put the beans with water when storing them! Do you put them with water when freezing too?

    • Reply Faring Well September 5, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Yes I do! It really works so well :).

  • Reply Yovanna September 5, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Thank you for sharing! Interesting! I will try it!

    • Reply Faring Well September 5, 2017 at 8:24 am

      You’re so welcome Yovanna! I’m glad you enjoyed the post <3.

  • Reply Hanna September 5, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Thanks for all the tips! I do really like your “everyday non-recipes.” I have a question—what kind of water filter do you use?

    • Reply Faring Well September 5, 2017 at 8:26 am

      You’re so sweet thank you! I really appreciate it <3. And as for the water, we fill up glass 3-gallon bottles that we have a stand for here at home from a local water purification place. But the Berkey filtration system is on our wishlist to own eventually! I hear its wonderful.

  • Reply Holly September 5, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Does the kombu give off a strong (seaweed) flavor? I’d love to try it, but am worried about it being overpowering!

    • Reply Faring Well September 6, 2017 at 7:39 am

      Wonderful question Holly! And no, not at all, I honestly can’t even tell it was there! ;)

  • Reply Hannah September 6, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Yay, beans! Ok, so I follow the same steps for beans as you state, but sometimes I further the process and sprout them for a few days. However, when it comes to chickpeas, my batches turn out tough SO often. No matter how long I cook them. It’s really frustrating. I read online that adding ACV to some types of beans while soaking can actually cause this. Any thoughts or have you had similar problems??

    • Reply Faring Well September 7, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Hi Hannah! This is SUCH a great question. While my pressure cooker always seems to get them cooked enough for me, I can completely resonate with the hard chickpea battle I use to fight when cooking them in a normal pot. I just started soaking a fresh batch this morning and left out the ACV to see if they turn out any softer than what I’m use to, will report back ;) for science!

    • Reply Faring Well September 8, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      PS. I’m back with results lady! And you were SO right. My chickpeas came out even softer without the ACV in the soaking liquid, and I have updated my instructions above with this acceptation listed. Thank you for pointing this out to me, I really appreciate you!

      • Reply Hannah September 8, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        Woaaahh, so awesome! Thank you, thank you for testing this out. I can’t wait for a future full of way tastier chickpeas :p

        • Reply Faring Well September 10, 2017 at 5:18 pm

          You are so welcome, thank you for my softer chickpeas now too! xx

    • Reply Tej December 6, 2017 at 11:38 am

      Same happened to me. I discovered that in my case the dry beans i was using were old and beans if old tend to harden when cooked (and probably they don’t even sprout). Try usung beans that are no more than 6 months old. May be this tip helps.

      • Reply Faring Well December 6, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Thank you for this tip Tej, it is so true – older beans can stay a bit tough (I just had a batch that did the same because of this). Appreciate you chiming in here!

  • Reply Gena September 9, 2017 at 4:46 am

    These posts continue to be so handy, sweet friend! I love the time you’re taking to walk folks through how simple and intuitive it can be to eat plant-based, inexpensively, and deliciously at the same time, and I’m actually bookmarking them all to share with my nutrition clients <3

    I often get out of the habit of scratch cooking beans, but when I get back into the habit, I'm reminded that it takes so little time for huge payoff in terms of money saved and stuff to freeze. This post is a good reminder of the same.

    • Reply Faring Well September 10, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      This means more than you know coming from you Gena, you are amazing and I feel as if you do the same in every one of your posts. That is something I really admire about what you do! I always feel as if I can come to your site for a dose of intuitive cooking. Thank you for this sweet note friend, lots of thankful hugs. XO

  • Reply Emily | Gather & Dine September 11, 2017 at 10:58 am

    As much as I cook beans, I have never used a pressure cooker and now I’m thinking that I’m totally missing out! So many helpful tips here, Jessie, and you explained things so well. I will try the kombu in my next pot. :) I’ve always noticed that Eden foods uses it in their canned beans, but I’ve yet to try it myself. It’s so good to catch up on all these posts- you are a wonder and talent!

    • Reply Faring Well September 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      You are so sweet thank you for this message Emily! And yes, Eden does use kombu – I love buying their beans whenever I’m in a pinch. They also pressure cook them in the can, double win ;). I hope you enjoy your seaweed in the next batch, and now I need to get on to making your coffee pecan squares cause those looked too good to pass up friend. xx

  • Reply Lacey September 13, 2017 at 2:13 am

    Do you ever add salt while cooking the beans?

    • Reply Faring Well September 13, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Great question Lacey! I do not add salt. I know some people like to though so it may just be one of those things to test and find your personal preference! I have heard that salting green/black lentils before they are cooked can cause their skins to stay tough though, so maybe skip it on those. xx

  • Reply KJ | Om Nom Herbivore September 15, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    This is great info! Simple yet I would totally be googling “how to cook dried beans” if i had them haha.
    The thought of using a pressure both terrifies and fascinates me at the same time :)

    • Reply Faring Well September 18, 2017 at 11:26 am

      Isn’t it funny how we all would be googling this! I did too. And read it in so many books before trusting myself to do it well. And as for a pressure cooker – I totally understand! They make them so safe now a days though so I would’t worry ;).

  • Reply Marta September 20, 2017 at 12:56 am

    Thank you so much for this one, I am marking it. I definitely need ed to read it.

    • Reply Faring Well September 21, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Oh I’m so glad it resonated with you in some way! Thank you for the note Marta <3.

  • Reply Tereza September 22, 2017 at 3:59 am

    Yeees, presure cooker is a essential when cooking beans! I used to avoid cooking beans on my own and rather buy canned ones until I discovered this little trick. Saves so much time and money and most importantly nature. Thank you for sharing with us :)))) and for the water-storing tip – I will definitely give it a try. :)
    Sending lots of loove

    • Reply Faring Well September 22, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Yes yes yes! So wonderful, I love your reasoning here and completely agree Tereza. Thank you for the post love, sending hugs right back! xo

  • Reply ANASTASIA October 1, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve always cooked my beans in a pressure cooker. Almost every kitchen in Greece has a pressure cooker and the canned beans/chickpeas aren’t so easy to find here. I use though a different method to store them. While still very hot I put them in sterilised jars (that I have previously put in the oven with their lids, for 15 minutes, at 175C), with their boiling water too. This way, I don’t have to worry about spoiling. Plus, I can use the liquid for aquafaba (after boiling it again, to thicken it a little bit). I have to try the kombu!

    • Reply Faring Well October 2, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      That sound like such a wonderful way of storing them too Anastasia, thank you for sharing it with us here! <3

  • Reply Julia Thorpe-smith November 13, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I tried your the chocolate oats
    Omg awesome idea I had it this morning and it was so nice! I rarely have cereal anymore because of all the added sugar and sweetener but this is a great ‘replacement’ aha
    P.S I love this website its like my go to now for recipe ideas

    • Reply Faring Well November 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

      This makes me so happy to read Julia, thank you for your note! Enjoy those oats tons, and I’m so happy to have you here on FW <3.

    Leave a Reply