What to do with Dried Beans?

I recently bought a bag of dried beans on clearance at the grocery store.  I usually buy canned beans, but it was too good of a deal to pass up.  The problem was that I didn’t know how to prepare them! Years ago, I tried to cook dried beans and they ended up crunchy and undercooked.

I discovered a recipe to prepare dried beans using my slow cooker.  The slow cooker cooked the beans overnight! It was so easy. I froze the beans in containers so I have cooked beans ready to use whenever I need them.

Beans are a great way to add protein to meals and save money on groceries. Beans give you long-lasting energy and help you feel full for a long time.  Here are some of my family’s favorite ways to eat beans:

  1. We top salads with beans. Try black or pinto beans for a taco salad or navy or kidney beans for a Mediterranean salad.
  2. We make dips with beans.  Adding beans to dips makes a quick snack full of protein!  Our favorites are Hummus, Black Bean Salsa, and Cowboy Caviar.
  • We add beans to pasta dishes.  A quick dinner my family loves is a box of cooked whole wheat pasta, a jar of pesto (found in the grocery aisle near spaghetti sauce), and a few cups of garbanzo beans.  We mix it all together and it’s ready in 30 minutes.  We serve it with a garden salad or steamed green beans or broccoli.
  • We add black beans or pinto beans to eggs and wrap in a tortilla for a Southwest breakfast burrito!  Try this recipe for a fun weekend breakfast!
  • We make soups with beans.  Soups are a great way to use up a lot of beans.  We like Vegetarian Chili and Minestrone Soup.

Katie Sorrell is a Registered Dietitian who likes to try new recipes. She meal plans and shops at the grocery store on the weekend for the upcoming week.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Winter Black Bean Soup

A hot soup tastes just right in the cold winter months.  It is filling and warms me to the core.  Our Winter Black Bean Soup is simple to make with only few ingredients.   When you use the Mexican style tomatoes and spices you will get a little heat.  To add more heat add a chopped jalapeno pepper.  To cool it down use diced tomatoes and less chili powder.

You can also vary the thickness of the soup by adding a little water if you think it is too thick.  Or try cooling it a little longer without a lid to thicken it.

You can make this soup in 20 minutes if you use canned beans (be sure to rinse them to reduce the sodium).  If you want to save money and really love the sodium prepare dry black beans ahead of time.  Check our step by step instructions.   If your family eats lots of beans you can prepare them and freeze for soups, casseroles, etc.  Canned beans cost about twice as much dry beans.


I serve this soup with carrots and apple slices and milk.  I like to sprinkle a tablespoon of shredded cheese on mine, but nonfat yogurt tastes good with it too.

Winter Black Bean Soup


  • 3 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped (about ½ medium onion)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 can (14.5-ounce) Mexican-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice (optional)
  • Nonfat yogurt or lowfat sour cream and cilantro
  • for garnish (optional)


  1. Prepare beans as directed on inside back cover.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook. Stir until onion begins to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chili powder. Add cumin, if you like. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, beans, and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes covered.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lime or lemon juice, if you like.
  5. Garnish before serving.

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