Dried Beans - Skip the Can!

Beans, beans, the magical fruit...

We all know the rhyme, but what you might not realize this that you should have more beans (legumes) in your life.  Black beans, pinto beans, black eyed peas, chick peas etc... are mighty little powerhouses of nutrition. We're talking fiber, protein, vitamins & minerals!

beans

Now I know it's super easy to pick up a can of beans at the store and be on your way, but what I am about to tell you may just change your mind.  Skip the canned beans...go for the big bags of dried ones!  Yep, those intimidating sacs of dried little things are worth their weight in gold.  OK, maybe not gold, but definitely worth it!

Why should you buy dried beans you ask? Well...here's a few reasons I made the switch:

  • I'm cheap! Yep, I'm not afraid to say it, but I loves me a good deal! And the price of dried beans is way less than buying canned.
  • The taste.  After cooking my own dried beans at home, I was shocked by the difference in flavour of canned vs. dried.  I never was a big fan of eating plain cooked chickpeas out of a can.  They were always saved for hummus or to be tossed into a dish.  But after making my own, I can grab them by the handful as a quick snack.  No seasoning, no sauces, just plain old chickpeas.
  • No additives.  Canned beans, although convenient, have the unfortunate addition of various additives and chemicals.  Take a look at the ingredients if you don't believe me.  Most tinned beans will have added salt and preservatives and don't forget the plastic lining in many cans.  The food in those tins can leach out some unpleasant chemicals (like BPA) right from that lining.

I am sure many people think the idea of cooking beans is way too difficult.  And yes I am guilty of grabbing a can now and then when I need beans NOW.  But, I can honestly tell you it's not that hard at all.  Last night, I put a couple cups of beans and chickpeas into bowls and covered them with water and let them sit overnight.  And right now I have 2 pots on my stove simmering away.  I also discovered I can cook chickpeas in my rice cooker to avoid having to watch a pot on the stove if I have other things going on.  Once they are cooked, I drain and rinse them, and let them cool. 

More often than not, I don't have a specific plan for my beans and simply keep them in the fridge.  They're great for adding to salads or pasta. Plus, we eat a LOT of hummus in our house so it's super simple to whip some up when you've got the chickpeas all set to go.  And in the cooler months, there's always lots of stews, soups and chili to use up those beans.

So next time you're in the grocery store, grab a bag and try it out.  Your wallet and your body will thank you.