Dried beans are one of those foods that will have you singing the praises of cooking with an Instant Pot. No fussing, no watching the pot like when you cook beans on the stove. The Instant Pot reliably delivers perfectly cooked beans once you’ve determined your cook timing preference (and I’ve got you covered with a handy cook-times chart below). Also, check out my step-by-step video below to get you started!
Beans are a powerhouse food, providing both protein and fiber-rich slow-acting carbohydrates, leaving you feeling satiated and satisfied. They are delicious and incredibly versatile, and come in a wide variety of flavors and textures. Black beans, chickpeas, lentils (french, green, black, brown, red, beluga), white beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans, cranberry beans, and tons more options. Each has its own unique texture and taste, so it’s fun to experiment to discover your favorites! And, if you want to get into the weeds on beans vs. legumes vs. pulses, check out this helpful read from Harvard School of Public Health.
Three Reasons to Cook Dried Beans in Your Instant Pot
- They taste so much better than canned. The flavor and the texture are a completely different experience than canned. So much so, that if you think you don’t like beans, consider cooking your own, and reevaluate. You might be surprised to discover that you actually DO like beans.
- They are very budget-friendly. True, canned beans are also pretty budget friendly. If you’re super-stretching your budget, though, dried beans are definitely less expensive than canned.
- It might be a good idea to minimize canned foods if possible, due to some emerging research on potentially harmful effects of BPA-lined cans. Dried beans help you minimize your use of canned goods.
The possibilities are endless with beans . . . they’re great in soups, chilis, in a breakfast skillet with eggs (like these Huevos Rancheros), or pureed in a dip. They work beautifully as a side salad, simply dressed with some oil, vinegar or citrus, herbs, and a bit of alliums (i.e. onions, shallots, scallions, chives, leeks, garlic, etc.).
I love making my Black Bean Soup recipe using beans I’ve cooked in the Instant Pot.
I am a huge fan of beans based on taste alone, but check out these health benefits, too:
- increase healthy gut bacteria
- reduce cholesterol
- stabilize blood sugar levels
Better than popping a pill, right? And beans are a lot cheaper than medication, too. Just sayin’.
To Soak or Not to Soak?
I am firmly in the camp of soaking beans before cooking, and here’s why:
Increases digestibility. Soaking dissolves the membranes that make up the outer covering of beans. This outer coating contains sugars that can be difficult for your intestines to handle, resulting in the “magical fruit” effect. Soaking first means less gas later. That’s probably good for you, and for those around you.
Helps remove debris. Soaking removes the small amount of dirt, gravel, and other debris that sometimes can be found on beans. Soaking is very effective at removing the debris.
Makes it easier for your body to absorb minerals present in the meal. Soaking reduces the effect of phytic acid, a substance naturally present in legumes. Reducing the effect of phytic acid enhances the bioavailability of zinc and other minerals.
So, have you given it a try? Which beans are your favorites in the Instant Pot?