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A Bean Is A Bean Is A Bean, Not Necessarily!! A Vegetarian Protein!

This recipe/post is for some of my vegetarians I have on my blog, as well as the rest of us!

It is no secret I am not a fan of kidney beans, dark or light. Therefore, you will not see them in any of my recipes. However, if you are, any bean is interchangeable in any recipe. My favorite are chic peas, cannellini, and a black bean now and then is fine. I am a huge fan of beans cooked from scratch, because, I am lucky enough to have the time. I do, however, keep a few cans on hand, for a quick, unexpected recipe I might want to make. In my family we have to watch our salt intake, so I try not to use many canned products for that reason. I know, you can rinse off the beans, and they are better than nothing for your protein part of the recipe, however, I feel you are also washing off any goodness and flavor they might have had. 

Note: I do have a recipe on here for chic peas(garbanzo beans) a faster cooking bean, also delicious! Actually, any bean can be cooked my way, today I am working with cannellini beans!

There are a couple of ways to cook beans from scratch that I use, but these days with all the new gadgets and ways of cooking pretty much anything, am sure there are now many more ways. For the newer gadgets you will have to check someplace else, I am not a new gadget person at my age!!

First way, rinse beans, checking for bad ones, then soaking on your counter overnight in water 2 inches above the beans, drain, rinse and add all your flavor enhancers and beans (see photo) in a large pan, cover with 2 inches of water, cover, and simmer until tender, this should take 45-50 minutes, or until done to your liking. 

Second way is rinsing and bringing to a boil in your pan, water 2 inches above beans, turning heat off, cover, and let sit for 2 hours, drain, then continue as above. 

I have tried some in my crockpot but found they got too mushy, before they were actually done to my liking, if that makes sense....

Tips for cooking any kind of beans learned through the years of trial and error:

Salt is not recommended in the beginning for cooking beans from scratch, it could keep the beans from softening.

When testing for doneness, always test at least 5 or more beans from different areas in your pot, you would be surprised how each one could be done a little more then others. When the majority is perfect, it's a win, win!

Today's flavor enhancers: bay leaf, chunk of onion, Herbes de Provence, fresh rosemary sprig, fresh Italian parsley sprigs, and 2 broken up celery stalks. These are my favorite combo, but there are so many other spices, herbs, and veggies I have used through the years.

My beans today might be used in an Italian veggie soup, a veggie chili, in a salad, a hummus, dip, or casserole, or just get frozen for future inspirations. You can always whip up a quick meal when you have some beans on hand, whether you use cooked from scratch, or canned, it is for sure your kitchen and your choice!!

Be safe!!

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