The instructions in this post were developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of our healthy recipes call for unsalted canned beans. But you can also start with your own beans cooked from scratch. Just keep in mind that a 15-ounce can of beans contains about 1½–1¾ cups of cooked beans.
Cooking dry beans and lentils
Note: 1 pound of dry beans (about 2½ cups) makes 6–8 cups of cooked beans.
- Spread the beans out on a rimmed baking pan. Remove and discard any small pebbles or bits of debris.
- Rinse and drain the beans.
- Soaking: You can cook beans without soaking, but soaking them overnight in cold water cuts the cooking time. (Discard the soaking water and use fresh water when you cook them.)
- In a large pot, add the beans and any aromatics you like—a bay leaf or two, a few thyme sprigs, a couple cloves of garlic—and enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches.
- Over high heat, bring the pot to a full boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Lower to a gentle simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 45–75 minutes (about 15–25 minutes for lentils).
- Remove the herbs and garlic. Store the beans in their cooking liquid for up to a week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.
Tips for using lentils
Cook by color, from least to most firm:
- Use red lentils in a curry.
- Brown lentils are best for soup or stew.
- Black and French green lentils hold their shape, so they’re great for salads or replacing a starchy side dish.
Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI.
Looking for bean recipes?
Eat more beans. Giving advice is easy. Figuring out what to do is another thing, entirely. That’s where Beans & Lentils comes in. In the first of The Healthy Cook’s Kitchen series, chef Kate Sherwood shares nine of her favorite legume recipes—from Spicy Black Bean & Avocado Stuffed Tomatoes to Warm Black Lentils in Tomato-Garlic Sauce. The Italian Bean & Vegetable Soup alone is worth the price of admission. Click here to order a print or digital copy. (24 pages, 5½ x 8½″, $5)