Katie's Healthy Take: Why Should You Cook With Dried Beans?

Sure, it is easy to grab a can of beans, rinse and drain them and toss them into your recipe, but there are several good reasons to stock up on dried beans.
Related To:

Sure, it is easy to grab a can of beans, rinse and drain them and toss them into your recipe, but there are several good reasons to stock up on dried beans, which can be easy to prepare as well.

Why choose dried over canned?
  • Dried beans are less expensive
  • There are more varieties of dried beans than canned beans available
  • Most dried beans are free of added sodium and preservatives
  • Cooking dried beans reduces packaging waste
How to buy and store:
  • Buy beans that are similar in shape, color and size (unless you are buying a variety of types in one bag)
  • Store dried beans in a sealed container (zip-lock bag, canister, etc.) in a cool, dark place for up to one year
  • Cooked beans can be stored, sealed, in the refrigerator for up to one week
How to Prepare:
  • Sift through then rinse your beans to remove any pebbles or dirt that may be along for the ride
  • Soak dried beans for several hours or overnight (check the packaging)
  • Once soaked, cook the beans in clean water (not the soaking liquid) per the packaging as cook times vary depending on the bean

*You can cook beans in a heavy duty stock pot (they usually take 1-3 hours), pressure cooker (beans take a quick 5-15 minutes), or a crock pot (cook for 6-8 unattended hours)

Tip: You'll know when your beans are done when you can mash one with your fingers.

Now What? You have cooked a batch of dried beans and the yield is equal to nearly 3 cans of its cooked cousin. The pro, you will be motivated to incorporate this healthy pantry staple into several meals throughout the week.  Here are some recipes to inspire you:

For more information on beans check out this article by Toby.

Next Up

Why You Need Omega-3s in Your Diet

Omega-3s have been getting a lot of attention. Find out why you need omega-3s and how to get enough.

If You Like: Giada's Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil, and Salmon, You'll Love . . .

In a recipe rut? Break out of it with these easy, healthy recipes.

Why You Need Protein

This important nutrient helps your body build and repair itself. Find out how much you need each day.

Italian Favorites, Lightened Up

Eat all your favorites, like lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine alfredo and chicken Parmesan, with our lighten-up tips.

US News Releases List of the Best Diets For Healthy Eating

U.S. News just released a list of the healthiest diets. How did popular diets like Paleo, Mediterranean, DASH, TLC and Atkins rate?

Top Healthy Recipes of 2011

You’ve been clicking, searching and cooking up recipes from FoodNetwork.com all year long. Here are our most popular healthy recipes of 2011.

Is Chicken Just As Bad for You As Red Meat?

A recent study is claiming that choosing chicken might not be the healthier option. We asked a registered dietitian to weigh in.

12 Expert-Approved Tips to Make Meal Prep Easier

We asked four meal prep professionals for their secrets to successful meal planning.

Cook Up Some Love in The Kitchen This Valentine's Day

We've got a dozen recipes perfect for Valentine's Day.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Robin Miller's twist on pesto -- made with roasted red peppers and lower in fat than the traditional green Italian sauce, is wonderful on sandwiches, meat or fish.