Dry beans – nutritious, delicious and inexpensive!

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2019

At this time of year, with little or no local vegetables available, I turn to hardier meals — for example, beans.

Beans are packed with protein, vitamins and minerals.  In the New Year, when everyone is reducing their fat intake, beans are a natural choice.

Low in fat, and with no cholesterol, beans provide the necessary protein to meet our body’s needs. Because we do not store protein the way we store fat, we need protein every day to build and maintain healthy bodies.

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Dry beans are also an excellent source of folic acid. Folic acid, also known as folate, is important in forming hemoglobin in red blood cells.

Beans are naturally low in sodium and can be instrumental in lowering blood pressure. They are high in fiber as well, which plays a role in preventing cancer.

The best news of all is that beans are an inexpensive way to provide all these wonderful things.  Plus, they can be used in dishes other than just the main course.

Cooking with beans can be quick. It’s a myth that cooking with beans requires hours of preparation (although nothing beats the slow-simmering goodness of a hearty bean soup made from scratch).

Dried beans must be soaked before cooking to return moisture lost through the drying process, but this can be cut short by using an extra quick method.

Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let boil 10 minutes. 

Drain the beans, and then cover with 2 inches of fresh, cool water. Let soak 30 minutes. Rinse, drain and use in soups, salads or main dishes.

With the invention of the Instant Pot, cooking beans is easier than ever. Remember it is still best to soak the beans before cooking, as this helps with digestion. 

Keep several cans of your favorite beans on hand. In a hurry, they can be substituted for dry beans. 

Just be sure to drain and rinse the beans well, if you are using them in a recipe that does not need additional liquid. Rinsing canned beans also helps to remove some of the sodium. 

Cooked bean can be stored up to three days covered in the refrigerator. You can cook extra and freeze them in serving size packages so they are ready for your favorite recipes. In the freezer, they can be kept for several weeks without changing their texture or appearance.

Dry beans should be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry place to help prevent further dehydration. 

Beans are so versatile and tasty that, with your creativity, you will think about adding them to a variety of your favorite recipes.



1 cup carrots, finely chopped

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup cabbage, shredded

1 can (10.5 ounce) condensed beef broth

2 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, dried, crushed

1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper

1 cup spaghetti, in 2-inch pieces

2 cups cooked red kidney or small red beans, drained

4 bunches green onion


Sauté carrots, onion, celery and garlic in oil 5 minutes in medium saucepan.

Add remaining ingredients except green onion brushes. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until spaghetti is cooked.

Serve in soup bowls; garnish with green onion.