Cooking Dry Beans

Beans are a great vegetarian/vegan source of protein.

Look at the pretty markings on these pinto beans!

The modest pinto and black beans are the ones I have experience cooking.

I grew up eating refried pinto beans cooked by my Nana and I never grow tired of them. Since I’ve become vegetarian, my Nana has even made special batches of vegan beans for me and Alskling at family get-togethers. To be honest, I am not really sure what is in the beans that I no longer eat(lard?), but I am so grateful that my Nana is so kind that she makes some to suit my diet. And it’s not like I ever requested she make some different for me, she just began doing it! :D 

Dry beans are much cheaper than buying canned beans and it’s not that much more work…Okay maybe it does take a little preparation but it’s not exactly tedious.

First you pour the dry beans in a huge pot. It’s best to do a ton at a time because you can always store them and eat them throughout the week! So you should fill the pot about half way and next, fill it with water until the beans are submerged. Let this sit and SOAK! Soaking takes out whatever it is that would possibly make you clear a room. I don’t know the science behind this but it’s a helpful trick I read somewhere and it’s great because you can be sure that these will not leave you feeling gassy!

So after letting the beans lounge in their soon-to-be hot tub for maybe a couple of hours, you will see that the beans are much bigger now! Dump a little bit of the water out, then throw the pot onto the stove and have it simmer on a low-medium heat for a few hours. Be sure to poke around in the pot every once in a while just to see whether the beans are nice and soft yet.

I would definitely recommend checking on these babies occasionally because sometimes if the heat is too high, the water will begin to boil over. OR (and you better watch out for this because it can happen before you know it!) make sure that there is enough water in the pot! If the heat is too high and/or there is no longer enough water, the beans will burn! This is very bad (yet somehow I let this happen the other day!) and will not smell too fabulous if it occurs. I don’t mean to scare anyone off of making home-made beans but it’s just something you should be aware of! 

Now that the the beans are simmering away is the time to season them! Chopping up bits (large or small) of onion and garlic is the best way to go! Adding a bit of salt helps too but NOT too much! I think the longer they party with the beans, the more flavorful they’ll come out.


 These beans turned out great and I love how versatile they can be! You can have them in a Mexican food inspired dish, complete with sour cream, salsa and veggies.

Alskling's dish

Or take a classier (not!) approach and go American like I usually choose:


Any excuse for (high frucose corn syrup-free) ketchup!

I kinda wish it weren’t so true but if I could, I would eat veggie burgers all the time! For the sake of variety, I like different kinds: black bean, mushroom and onion, Boca, Morningstar…

The rest of the beans were packed into the fridge and used during the school week for quick meals. Even on the go meals: I packed some in tortillas along with accompaniments such as salsa, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and roasted zucchini strips. This was the dinner Alskling and I had before an evening class of mine. It was easy to eat and luckily there is a microwave at my school we can use, so the hot things were hot and the seperately packed cool things, cool. I was happy to find it was such a filling dinner and that for once I was not distracted during class by my hungry stomach.

Good luck whipping up a batch of beans!

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3 Responses to Cooking Dry Beans

  1. Ameena says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I have never made my own beans and frankly had no idea until recently that it was even possible. My mom always opened a can and I thought that was how they came to us.🙂

    I bet these would freeze really well too! Perfect for someone like me who lives out of her freezer.

    • hippierunner says:

      Glad you found it helpful, Ameena! Thanks for the freezer reminder- I should try that! And I forgot to mention it but another benefit is that it’s way healthier to make beans yourself because the canned ones are usually packed with way too much sodium.

  2. Pingback: Oh yes I did. | A Vegetarian Hippie Runs, Bicycles and Eats!

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