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Feb 8, 2013 03:25 AM

Dried Beans Question


I would like to start using dried beans instead of canned. I have read many of the threads on cooking but still have one question. When the bean is not the main ingredient of a dish and I'm just substituting dried beans for a can of beans do you season the cooking water with anything? I made one recipe, just cooked the beans in water and the beans seemed bland. But if you do flavor the beans as they are cooking could that affect the overall taste of the dish you are making?


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  1. I've been making minestrone as a nutriceutical for over 5 years using dried beans that I soak overnight. The beans are then cooked in water for about 30 minutes without the addition of any kind of seasoning. The resulting bean liquor is then drained off and reserved.

    Aromatic vegetables (onion, celery, carrots) which have been chopped or diced are sauteed in oil before the beans, tomato puree and some of the liquor are added to a stockpot. The mixture is cooked a while longer until the beans are tender. That's how flavor is added to bland beans.

    1. No I don't season the beans when cooking. I remember reading somewhere salting the beans make them tougher.

      What do you mean they are bland? If using canned beans, do you actually just served as is, without dressing them? I'd normally wash the canned beans first before dressing, if that helps.

      This recipe is an example of a simple dressing

      It might look very complicated, but in its core, it's just sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

      Another dressing I use often is honey, soy and black pepper.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lilham

        I love the butterbean recipe. Do you have a specific sweet chili sauce that you like?

      2. I cook beans in the pressure cooker. Usually I do not soak them beforehand and I add salt and a couple of bay leaves before sealing up the cooker. They have a touch of flavor but nothing that will affect the taste of a dish that is made from them.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tcamp

          That's my method, too. Bay leaf and water.

          I'm a recent convert to the Ways Of The Pressure Cooker, and having had the scales removed from my eyes, I'm shocked that everyone doesn't own one. Beans that would take the better part of a day to prepare now take 30-40 minutes- and never mind what you can do with proteins.

        2. depends on the beans. with black or garbanzos, i just saute garlic and onion, and brown a few bay leaves and some dried thyme. then add the beans and plain water. after they are cooked, i salt the water and let that all sit so the beans absorb the salt.

          with lentils i use onions, carrots and tomatoes. again, salt and rest when they are finished.

          1. I cook presoaked beans with a few cloves of garlic and bay leaves. Other good choices are an onion studded with a few cloves. The aromatic vegetables and spices will provide only a hint of flavor in the final dish, nothing overwhelming.

            I add salt and pepper when the beans are almost cooked.