Legume of the month

Published: January, 2019

Image: © Kateryna_Mostova/Getty Images

Editor's note: This year, we're highlighting legumes on this page. Low in fat but rich in protein and other nutrients, they're a staple of plant-based eating. Starting in February, we'll feature a different legume each month, along with information and recipe tips from different cultures around the world.

But we're starting off with the basics: a simple recipe for cooking dried beans.

How to batch-cook dried beans

  1. In a large pan, put one bag (about a pound) of beans, cover with a few inches of cold water, and soak at room temperature for eight to 12 hours.

  2. Pour off the soaking water, rinse, and add clean water, again covering with a few inches of water.

  3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beans are tender. (This may take anywhere from one to two hours, depending on the size and age of the beans.)

  4. Drain and divide your beans. Use some right away in a recipe; save a portion in the refrigerator to use within a few days; and freeze the rest in recipe-sized portions in containers.

  5. Thaw frozen beans in the refrigerator. If you forget to take them out a day before you need them, just defrost them in a microwave or add them directly to a soup and cook until completely warmed through.

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.