Boston baked beans are great! But what else to do with dried legumes? Charley of Baer’s Best Beans, whose legumes Farmer Dave’s now carries so we can have them at our market, recommends eating the Black Coco or other dark beans right out of the oven or room temperature with a dash of tamari or soy sauce. We tried it at the market. Delicious! You can also toss any kind of cooked bean into a green or veggie salad, mash for a bean dip or spread or as a base for veggie burgers, or pureed for a soup or stew. Plus, you can always cook a batch and freeze to use later in soups, stews, dips, or spreads.
But, what if you want to cook and use the beans now but forgot to soak them? No fear. You do NOT NEED TO SOAK DRIED BEANS BEFORE COOKING. Really! And, let’s clear up the “when to salt issue, while we are here. Multiple studied published in the likes of the Journal of Food Science and the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, as well as experiments by the folks at the Cook’s Illustrated Test Kitchen have shown salt to decrease cooking time and even produce beans with a softer skin. The salt also makes your beans taste better, as the salt penetrates the whole bean, rather than only flavoring the surface. But, salt before or after, here it how to cook beans without having to soak beforehand.
No Soak Method for Cooking Dried Beans
Preheat oven to 350.
Put 1 pound of dried beans in a Dutch oven or other heavy ovenproof pot or casserole, cover with 1 to 1 ½ inch water. Add 1 tsp salt per pound beans, cover tightly, and cook for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the beans are tender. NOTE: Check beans after 45 minutes to stir and add water if needed, then check/stir occasionally until done to desired tenderness.
Don’t need to cook a pound of beans? Cook only what you need! For example, put 1/4 pound in a quart corning ware with 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover and cook the as recipe above directs.