Bean soup with kale

When you have home-cooked beans in the refrigerator, this simple soup will be sure to please on a cold winter day.

Vegetable stock, made in the usual way

Leftover gigante beans
kale, blanched for 4+ minutes in boiling salted water, then drained

Carrots, diced
Onions, diced
garlic, minced

Sauté onion in olive oil in medium soup pot/pan. Add carrots and cook until softened.
Add in garlic and cook for less than one minute.
Add in stock and bring up to temp. Add S&P.
Add in beans and kale and warm through.

Serve with either grated parmesan or a drizzle of olive oil in each bowl.


Chickpeas Vinaigrette aka Garbanzos salad

When you have cooked up a luscious pot of garbanzo beans at home, you’re going to want to eat them pronto. Here’s one way:

Cooked chickpeas, 1/2 #
carrots, small dice
Roasted sweet peppers, large dice/pieces
garlic, minced

Olive oil
Lemon juice
Sweet onion, about 1/3, large dice
Apple cider vinegar

Put onion in cider vinegar to sit for 15 mins or earlier if need be.

Make vinaigrette:
Whisk together:
Lemon juice
Some apple cider vinegar
Olive oil

Carrots & sweet peppers

Mix vinaigrette and carrots/peppers into warm beans (if possible)
Add in scallions

More on beans – Garbanzo in Instant Pot

Exploring the delicious world of home-cooked beans, I moved on to garbanzo, one of my faves, and one I had the most difficulty with cooking stovetop.

here’s my success story:

1# beans, picked over and rinsed

Water to 1/2 way mark on Instant Pot, to which you add 1 T salt and perhaps one garlic clove, peeled. (Why not?!)

Cook for 42 minutes under pressure. Let release naturally for 10-15 minutes (as with all beans, I just read), then release pressure. Test for doneness, and cook longer if needed. (I initially cooked for 35 minutes and then returned to pressure for 8 minutes.)

Adventures in cooking beans in Instant Pot

Factors that have led me to cook beans recently:
1. I purchased an Instant Pot.
2. Instant Pot led me to purchase dried beans at my food coop.
3. Frugality. Reading about it; not actually practicing yet! But it led me to a stockpile of dried beans.

Two successes of late:
Cranberry aka Borlotti beans are the bomb.
Oh the gigante were creamy, smooth, delicious.
Today’s black beans were off the charts. I thought I liked canned black beans well enough, but MAN, these are scrumptious! Delicious, not just as a mix-in for the greater sum.

Note it takes longer than cooking time — It takes 9-14 mins to come to pressure, then there’s the cooking time PLUS to release pressure, either by itself, for 10-15 minutes, or by human power, turning the steam release valve.

Here’s how I prepared today’s rice and beans with black beans:

Prepare brown rice in rice cooker. Medium grain is nice. 1 c rice, rinsed well to 2 1/2 c water, and salt.

Rinse 1 # beans. Measure out 5 c water.

onion, 1 large, diced
Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
cumin, 1 t
salt, 1 T

Rinse beans
Cut up onion. Heat up Instant Pot on sauté function, add 2 T olive oil, and then onions. Sauté for 20 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally.
Mix in garlic and cumin. Stir and cook for less than one minute until fragrant.
Add: beans, salt, water, and stir.
Pressure cook for 45-50 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release manually. If beans are not cooked through, cook for another 5 minutes, and then manually release pressure.

Steamed spinach, sprinkled with za’atar
Hot sauce
Dab of sour cream

Other ways to do it: skip za’atar; add 1 t chili powder to beans with cumin; top with cilantro and scallions and Monterey Jack cheese.)
Another option: Purée 1 tomato, cilantro, scallion whites and 1 garlic clove with 3 T olive oil and salt. Mix tomato mixture into beans when cooked and let sit for 5 minutes.

Inspiration: Melissa Clark, Dinner in an Instant, Black Beans, p. 109

Bean cooking times and proportions:

1 # beans to 7 c water with aromatics, 32 minutes +

Black turtle beans
1 # beans to 5 c water, with sautéed onion, then 3 garlic cloves, minced and 1 t cumin, 50 mins. (or less)

Cranberry beans
1 # beans to 7 c water, with 3+ garlic cloves, smashed, 4 T olive oil, pinch of red pepper flakes, and some fresh sage leaves if ya got ’em, 24 – 27(?) minutes. (14 mins to come to pressure.)

1 #, covered with water to halfway mark. Add 1+ T salt

Cook for 42 minutes. Let pressure release naturally (for all beans) for 10-15 minutes, then release pressure manually


Here are some guidelines

And more on timing beans in Instant Pot

And here is a collection of Instant Pot cooking info:

Beans and greens deluxe

I thought I had the beans and greens dish down: Sauté lots of minced garlic and some red pepper flakes in oil, add greens, some water & salt, cook gently covered, then add beans from a can, warm up and douse with parmesan. Pretty Good.

THEN . . . . I finally dragged my Instant Pot out of its box on the floor of the dining room where it had been neglected for months. And I got Melissa Clark’s Instant Pot book out of the library, again. She has a recipe for Garlicky Beans with Broccoli Rabe. With book by a NY Times recipe provider and dispenser of kitchen advice, and with a bunch of farmers market broccoli rabe in my fridge, I set about it. Okay a preview: FABULOUS in all ways.

The traditional Italian way I believe is to sauté a mess o’ minced garlic in oil. That’s what I have long done. Melissa takes it to another dimension combining garlic-infused beans with garlic-infused oil that hasn’t had the chance to get at all bitter, solely deeply flavored. Brilliant!


Cooked beans — gigante or cannelini, with their cooking liquid (1 # beans to 7 c water)
Garlic cloves — 4 smashed, and 3 sliced thin
Red or sweet onion, 1/2 large
Broccoli rabe, 1 bunch, large ends cut off, and washed
Olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, good pinch


Cook beans in pressure cooker. Either keep warm, or make ahead and refrigerate. (Good idea to pop some in freezer too. Mixed in with their liquid for soups later, and some dry in a bag.)
Prepare broccoli rabe, onion and garlic.
Put a sauté pan on medium-low heat, add 4 T olive oil, sliced garlic and pinch of salt. Sauté about 3-4 minutes, stirring, until garlic is just golden. Transfer contents to a small bowl and set aside.
Put pan back on the stove (you may have to wipe the bottom so you don’t ignite any dribbled oil) over medium-high heat, and add 2 T oil. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes and then red pepper flakes. Turn heat up to high (!), add broccoli rabe and cook, tossing in oil, and add good pinch salt. Add good ladle-full of bean liquid and cook until liquid is absorbed/evaporates, about 8 minutes.
Serve: Beans in shallow bowl, drizzle with oil (and garlic!), dump broccoli rabe mixture on top.
You won’t miss the parmesan. So very deeply satisfying and delicious with good beans and heavily garlic-infused oil.

The best beans I have ever cooked at home*

I love beans. I’m not a big meat eater overall and beans are a food item I am happy to see on my plate for dinner or lunch. I buy them in cans, generally the organic brands, and they’re convenient too. And still relatively inexpensive. I have long harbored the desire to cook beans successfully at home. I say “successfully” because I have cooked beans at home. They often end up overcooked AND under-cooked — hard, falling apart and separated from their skins. Not good if you want to eat a bean meal.

A few months ago I purchased an Instant Pot on sale and it has been sitting on the floor in my dining room unused. I have looked at the manual occasionally and took out books from the library on Instant Pot recipes. Today is Day Two of Louise’s Instant Pot use. With a 66% success rate.

I made a fine, easy batch of vegetable soup yesterday. Then feeling emboldened, I tossed a lot of ingredients into the pot with interesting spices, left the house for the afternoon with my slow cooker programmed, and ended up with . . . DREK! Brown rice with the consistency of wet bread, raw eggplant, and horribly overcooked dry chicken breasts. A disaster and waste of high quality ingredients. So apparently it’s not a perfect appliance.

Today I went back to pressure cooking with some top-quality coop-purchased Gigante beans recommended highly by the bulk food manager upon consultation for my re-launch into home-cooked beans. Man are they delicious!! Flavorful and mostly tender.

Here’s how:


Dried gigante or cannellini beans, 1 lb, picked over and rinsed
Garlic cloves, 4 smashed and peeled
carrot, 1, peeled
Shallot, 1/2 (optional)
Bay leaf
Olive oil, 2 T


Prepare carrot and other aromatics and do your best to tie together with kitchen twine. A spring of rosemary or thyme would not be remiss here.

Pick over beans and remove any shrunken or discolored or unhappy-looking beans. Rinse in colander.

Add all to pot with 7 c water. Cook at high pressure for 32 minutes or so. (I did 25 minutes, not done and then 9 more). Let pressure reduce naturally (I think that means: let sit undisturbed and off for 10 minutes.) Then release pressure, and take a look at your beautiful beans!! Aren’t you proud?! Delighted? I was! And still am. I froze some in a freezer bag. I scooped some into a freezer container with liquid — the liquid is delicious and I can use for soup. I have stored the freshly cooked beans in a now small bowl in the refrigerator and separately all that delicious cooking water. Best cooking water ever! I’m told to save for soup. Perhaps. Or perhaps use for cooking water for farro. More likely it will sit in the refrigerator for one week and then I will discard.
*And probably near the best I have ever eaten!

Photo of beans in Instant Pot, prior to cooking:


Inspiration: Garlicky Beans with broccoli rabe recipe in Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant

Greens and beans

This is a classic Italian dish, and I believe is “classic” because it is so very delicious. The ingredients are interchangeable as long as there is plenty o’ garlic, greens and those thar beans!

Here is a pleasant summer variation, close to standard:


new or older onion, sliced in half-moons or quarters

garlic cloves, rough minced

chicken or vegetable stock

parmesan cheese

cannelini beans


Cut up onion and garlic. Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Rinse broccolini and add to sauté pan with S&P. Turn up heat and add stock. IMG_6042

Turn in stock, cover and cook on medium for about 5 minutes until just under crisp tender. Add beans to warm through about 3 minutes. IMG_6043

Serve with drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil, and grated parmesan.