Bean-based Instant Pot recipes?
June 19, 2017 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I've tried to like beans, but they always took so long to make and with minimal taste payoff. However, I just got an Instant Pot and a lot of time this summer. Help me love beans! (Slow carb recipes especially welcome)
posted by facehugger to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
What beans are you using? I made a switch to Rancho Gordo beans a few years ago, and wow, does it make a difference to use nice beans. My typical instant pot bean method is sauté up some onion and peppers with a bit of garlic, throw in a lb of beans, and then cook slightly less than the recommended time in the pressure cooker (using a chart I grabbed online). Then I finish for about 20 minutes on the stove to reduce the bean broth a little and add flavor.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 12:47 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

As an Instant Pot bean convert, I don't really have a recipe so much as this admonishment: put flavor in your beans! I made red kidney beans yesterday, about a cup and a half dry, plus half a red onion chunked up in pieces, 4-5 smashed garlic cloves, a dried shiitake mushroom, two bay leaves, big shake each of red pepper flakes and cumin, a teaspoon of beef Better Than Bouillon, big pinch salt, and 2qts water. Bean button, let it natural release. They're so good, rich and flavorful and my red pepper shake was a little heavy-handed so they've got a little kick.

This is pretty much all I ever do - sometimes I throw in a few frozen chicken wings or a drumstick, which I usually use to make stock, instead of BTB. Sometimes I have pepper plants growing and I'll halve and throw one in. I do red beans, black, pinto, great northern, white beans. I don't find that chickpeas pick up as much flavor as other beans do, but I also think my usual store's dried chickpeas are usually kind of old.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:49 PM on June 19, 2017 [6 favorites]

Just sat down at the computer after starting an instant pot bean recipe. :-)

I put dried chickpeas into the instant pot, covered with a few inches of water, bunch of salt, and a splash of olive oil. Set the timer to 45 minutes. If I'm being fancy I add some garlic at this stage.

When it's done, I chop up a shallot and mush it with a spoon in a little bowl with some yummy vinegar (sherry or balsamic) and some olive oil. Let it sit for a few minutes as I'm grating a carrot or two. Then I mix the shallot, carrots, and warm chickpeas together and grate some black pepper on top. Delicious!
posted by wyzewoman at 12:51 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Do lentils count? I love this recipe for berbere stew, which I regularly make in my Instant Pot. Because I'm lazy, I buy this premade berbere spice mix.

I'd also highly recommend the book Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure, which has many terrific bean recipes. The instructions in the book are for the old-time pressure cookers, but I just figure out which ingredient takes the longest to cook, look that one up in the Instant Pot guide, and use that number.
posted by FencingGal at 12:55 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

We're vegetarian so beans are a way of life in our house. My top tip isn't a recipe but a hack: YOU CAN FREEZE COOKED BEANS!!! And they're just as good later! So we tend to make a big pot of just plain old Some Beans and freeze them until we want Some Beans. I actually find I don't like making the entire dish in the Instant Pot. Both pressure and slow cooking tend to make other vegetables mushy and flavorless. But we make all the beans way ahead of time and keep the freezer stocked.

Variations on a theme of Beans and Greens is big in our house. Over pasta. With some pesto or just garlic and olive oil. I also like to stew chickpeas with some canned tomato, red pepper flakes, garlic, and rosemary. I like to have those with some risotto. Our kid likes crunchy beans, just some coooked beans (chickpeas are traditional here, but you can totally do this with any kind) tossed with olive oil and salt and put in a 375 oven for a half hour or so.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:56 PM on June 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

I put dried black beans, a green pepper (halved and seeded), a whole large yellow onion (quartered, root end attached), 2 whole jalapeños, 2 bay leaves, 4-5 whole garlic cloves, 1/2 Tbs cumin and 1 Tbs salt (or to taste- I don't do lots of salt) and water to cover by 2 inches. Stir and add a dollop of olive oil to keep down the foam. Set the IP for 35 mins and quick release. Check for doneness as older beans need longer than newer beans and no two batches cook for the same length of time. Pull the additives from the pot and drain if desired. Add in a squeeze of orange juice or lime juice. Freeze half to enjoy later.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:33 PM on June 19, 2017

Good beans are noticeably better than bad beans, and while the fancy expensive Rancho Gordo beans are tasty *partly* because they seek out beans bred for taste, they also taste good because they're not more than a year old. If Rancho Gordo doesn't work for you -- $$! -- I would look for groceries that specialize in beany cuisines; Mexican or Indian groceries might have picky customers and rapid turnover. Also good spices, then.

I usually put half the non-acid veg into the IP with the dry beans, and they cook down into a savory but unspecific broth, and then the other half when the beans are done to have slightly different (and differentiable) flavors.
posted by clew at 1:39 PM on June 19, 2017

Also, if you aren't vegetarian, the truly classic peasant trick is a *little* meat or fat in with a big pot of beans. My family is one-meat-dish-a-week-ian, and we keep all the cooking fat and space it out over the week. Mmm, and we don't throw away that precious NPP (and death and cold chain and $ and and and.)
posted by clew at 1:40 PM on June 19, 2017

I've made and eaten a lot of beans. Six tips:

1) Put zaatar on them. Awesome. It's got an acidic flavor from the sumac berries, and the other ingredients are great also. Sesame seeds = nuttiness; herb = more flavor. This combo complexifies the flavor without weighing it down _or_ taking a lot more time. Just keep some in a shaker and add when desired.

2) Oil and vinegar (or a vinaigrette if you prefer). Add separately or together.

3) Salt. If you wonder why your cooking doesn't taste as good as other cooking, it's probably because you use less salt. Especially when you're first starting out cooking something new, don't put yourself at a competitive disadvantage by knowingly keeping the good-taste-substance out.

4) Use more than one kind of bean at a time. I was surprised how much this improved the overall experience. It's important to start the largest ones cooking first, then add the smaller ones (lentils, etc.) later, so that they finish cooking at about the same time.

5) **This is huge** If you grow your own beans and then cook them fresh, you will have an amazing experience. Fresh herbs are helpful too, but freshly grown beans from the garden that have never even been refrigerated is truly wonderful. I got some brown teppary beans from Rancho Gordo and grew them (they don't need much water and do well in hot climates). They were glorious.
posted by amtho at 1:51 PM on June 19, 2017

6) Put them into soup. Just find any soup recipe, then add beans. It improves both things, usually.
posted by amtho at 2:08 PM on June 19, 2017

I love, love, love this recipe for Instant Pot red beans and rice. It is so tasty. I make mine with black beans, too, and the chicken andouille sausage from Trader Joe's.
posted by heurtebise at 2:48 PM on June 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

amtho's suggestion of za'atar is a good one! I also like beans with epazote (from a Mexican grocery). It's supposed to take the gas out [citation needed] but I like the flavor too. While you're there look at all the varieties of dry beans!

But my favorite recent bean experience by far was the mixture of a pot of beans (pressure cooked probably 45 minutes or so), a bunch of bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, etc sauted in plenty of olive oil, and a LOT of methi (aka fenugreek) leaves. Sometimes our local Indian grocery has fresh leaves, but in this case we had dried. Into a largeish pot of beans and a full skillet's worth of veggies we put at least a cup of the dry methi leaves crunched up. Maybe more like two cups. It was so amazing.
posted by fritley at 4:41 PM on June 19, 2017

I'm also cooking beans in the Instant Pot right now! Beans you cook yourself are so much better than canned, which I find a bit undercooked. I generally separate cooking the beans from making an actual dish with them - it's hard to estimate how much water you need (it partly depends on how old your beans are), so it's hard to get your beans thoroughly cooked and have an appropriate amount of water left as sauce. I don't like the flavor of bean-cooking water, either. And beans take so long that anything else in there is going to be mush, and the flavors in vegetables are going to be dampened.

My go-to is cooking beans, and then making soup with them - this goes well with the tip to freeze beans, so it's easy to have a cup of several different kinds, all cooked the right amount of time. Saute some onions and carrots and celery in there, add beans and water/broth and tomatoes, and pressure cook for maybe 5 minutes to get everything hot and the flavors blended. I stir in greens and sometimes frozen veg (green beans, peas) afterward while the soup is still hot.

IMO, you can't taste garlic at all after pressure cooking, so you can skip it or cook it separately and add at the end. A lot of spices get washed out. I generally just flavor-correct at the end.
posted by momus_window at 7:39 PM on June 19, 2017

My favorite bean recipe:

Serious Eats has a few good instant pot recipes.

My other favorite, no beans though, is the pho:
posted by fumbducker at 9:43 PM on June 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am not a vegan (or vegetarian, for that matter), but I absolutely love making Vegan "Refried" Beans in my IP - which I use on nachos (of course) but also in burritos or, y'know, on a spoon.. Super easy, super good recipe: I use my immersion blender to half-puree it when it's finished, leaving just enough chunks to make me happy. It's by no means a pretty-looking recipe either way, but still super good.
posted by VioletU at 6:39 AM on June 20, 2017

I just thought of one other helpful practice: I've learned to always store and reheat cooked beans in some kind of liquid or sauce. This keeps them from drying out and becoming mealy.
posted by amtho at 10:47 AM on June 20, 2017

Also when you make your own beans with lots of aromatics, that bean liquor is flavor gold. Store your beans in it, and use some as part of your liquid component for broths, sauces, cooking liquid etc.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:10 AM on June 20, 2017

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