Simple Beans

Recipe Information

Total Time: 

2 hours; 10 minutes active


12 (6 cups)

Beans are super easy to make. The trickiest thing about prepping beans is figuring out how much you'll need. Beans triple in volume, so a half cup of dried beans will yield 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans, which is the amount of beans in a 15 ounce can. A pound of dried beans is about 2 cups, or 6 cups cooked.


  • Your choice of dried beans (red, kidney, cannellini, pinto, etc.)
  • Water
  • Salt, if desired
  • Kombu, if desired
  • Bay leaf and onions, garlic, or celery, if desired


  1. Spread the dried beans on a sheet pan or your countertop, and sort through, discarding any rocks or twigs. Rinse and drain the beans, then put them in a pot or container and add three times the volume of water to beans (3 cups water for 1 cup beans). Soak for 8 hours or overnight. This can be at room temperature during cooler weather, but in the hot summertime, soak beans in the refrigerator to prevent fermentation. If you don' have time to soak the beans for 8 hours, use the quick-soak method: put beans and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour.
  2. Drain the soaking water. Put the soaked beans in a pot large enough to hold four times their current volume. Add water to cover by three inches.
  3. Add kombu, bay leaf, or other vegetables and herbs.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender. To test, remove a bean and let it cool completely before biting it to test for doneness (beans may be soft in the center when hot, even when not fully cooked).
  5. Soaked beans can take about 1-2 hours to cook on the stovetop. Smaller beans cook a little more quickly than larger beans, and older beans take more time to re-hydrate fully.
  6. Once the beans are tender, drain and let cool, if not using right away. Cooked beans can be refrigerated for up to 6 days.

Tips & Notes

Be sure to cook your beans fully as raw or partially cooked beans can lead to gastrointestinal upset due to high levels of naturally occurring proteins called lectins. These proteins are present in all plants, but have higher concentrations is raw legumes (including beans, with kidney beans topping the list) and raw grains. The lectins are destroyed by cooking beans fully using high heat (bringing them to a boil and then simmering until cooked through).

Nutritional Information

130 calories, 0 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 0 mg. sodium, 24 g. carbohydrate, 6 g. fiber, 8 g. protein