Cooking Beans – The Easy Way.


Beans are a very important part of micronutrient dense eating. Dr Fuhrman recommends eating at least 1/2-1 cup of cooked beans per day. Beans have many important Phytochemicals. In addition, only half of the calories in beans are bioavailable. Some people get digestive gas from eating beans. Typically this is because they don’t have digestive enzymes in their stomach to help digest beans. One way to build up the enzymes to digest beans is to eat 1 or 2 tablespoons of cooked beans a day, gradually increasing to ½-1 cup a day (minimum). 

Making your own beans can be easy. You will save money, eat more beans and avoid the challenges of store bought beans (BPA lined cans and added salt). Plus – freshly cooked beans are delicious. 

My favorite bean cooking method…

Here is the easiest way I have found to have beans on hand. It requires an electric pressure cooker (which has other excellent uses). I like the Instapot electric pressure cooker because it isn’t lined with a non-stick lining. 

Sort through beans, especially removing any rocks.  Rinse beans under running water.  Place beans in an electric pressure cooker – add 3 cups of water for each cup of dried uncooked beans. (I typically cook 2 or 3 cups dried beans per batch. Cooked beans will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 4 days.  It is also easy freeze cooked beans in 1 or 2 cup containers). Set pressure cooker for 50 minutes. In this method you do not need to soak the beans. The electric pressure cooker allows you to set the cooking time and it turns off automatically. 

If you soak beans over night, you can cook them in the pressure cooker in 12 minutes.  (I typically don’t bother with soaking.)

Stovetop pressure cooker – (if you don’t have an electric pressure cooker) – The proportions are the same as with an electric pressure cooker (3 cups of water for each cup of dried uncooked beans). After placing the beans and water in the pot, cover and secure the lid. Once the pot heats up to high pressure, you will hear a whistle sound. Then, reduce heat to low and cook beans for 50 minutes. Once the 50 minutes is over, turn off the heat and let the pot cool down on its own. 

Other Bean Cooking Methods...

1) Rinse beans, then add water and soak beans overnight, rinse and then add water and cook them on the stove for 50 minutes.

2) Quick soak beans (boil them for 2 minutes and then turn off heat) let them soak for a few hours and then replace water and cook in a pressure cooker for 12 minutes. 

Keeping Beans on Hand...

I freeze beans I've cooked in glass containers. I also keep a stash of “canned” (actually boxed) beans on hand. I buy whole foods organic no salt beans in a range of varieties that are sold in tetra packs (foiled lined boxes). These beans are a healthy choice (canned beans are BPA lined). One down side is tetra packs can’t be recycled in San Francisco. Eden also makes organic unsalted beans in cans. 

Pressure Cooker Black Beans with Eggplant

Recipe modified from by Claudia Bullock


2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight

1 1/2 cups celery juice or water

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

3 garlic, crushed

1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed (about 2 1/4 cups)

4 ribs celery, chopped

2 cups finely chopped tomatoes

1/3 cup tomato paste


Combine black beans, celery juice, water, cumin, oregano and crushed garlic in pressure cooker. Start to heat as you prepare the eggplant and celery.

Add the celery and then the eggplant on top. Eggplant will not be fully submerged, and will stick up above the liquid. Lock lid into place, and bring to full pressure on high heat. Maintain pressure for 12 minutes, and then allow pressure to release naturally. When pressure has released, add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste.