Spill the Beans

Spill the Beans


I was asked a few weeks ago about cooking dried beans and how to make them taste delicious. I thought this was a perfect post idea for our volunteer students and here is what they came up with!


Beans are a huge staple in today’s society that provide a large amount of protein, fiber, vitamins and are low in fat. They are convenient to cook, inexpensive and add flavor to any dish! Many people have been wondering what the advantages and disadvantages canned beans have compared to dry beans. Take a look at what we have found!




  • Less expensive
  • Soaking beans unleashes their nutrients/health benefits
  • Less packaging waste
  • No BPA exposure from cans
  • Allows you to mix in more ingredients or seasoning


  • Requires more time
  • Must plan ahead




  • Quick and easy!
  • Most canned beans are comparable in nutrition to dried beans.


Con’s: :

  • More expensive
  • Some say canned beans are less nutritious (protein and nutrient wise)
  • Added preservatives/salt (yuck! Remember to always rinse your canned beans or look for ones with no salt added)
  • BPA exposure from some cans



Preparing dried beans can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple steps to prepare dried beans at your next meal!


  1. Rinse the beans thoroughly under cold water, removing any stones or debris.
  2. Immerse the beans in four times their volume of hot water (140 degrees fahrenheit).
  3. Cover beans and let soak for 4-8 hours.
  4. Either cook the beans in the water they soaked in (more nutrients) or drain the water, rinse the beans and add fresh water (less flatulence).
  5. Boil the water and beans (uncovered) for ten minutes.
  6. Reduce heat, cover, and let the beans simmer for 1-2 hours.
  7. Enjoy!

*Tip: cook beans in bulk and freeze the leftovers for future recipes!


Before we go we want to leave you with this great, fresh recipe! It is perfect for tailgating, a picnic or packed lunches! Will you use canned beans or dry beans?



Fiesta Bean Salad

Source: The Garden Grazer

15 oz. can garbanzo beans                                                     {For the dressing}
15 oz. can black beans                                                            1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 roma tomatoes                                                                    Juice from 1 lime
1/2 small red onion (less to taste)                                          1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup cilantro                                                                      3/4 tsp. cumin
1 avocado                                                                                1/4 tsp. salt

Optional: bell pepper, jalapeno, corn, etc.

1. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, add all ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
2. Rinse and drain beans. Add to a medium bowl.
3. Dice tomatoes, roughly chop cilantro, and finely dice red onion. Add to the beans.
4. Pour dressing over bean mixture and stir.
5. Peel and dice avocado. Add it to the salad and lightly toss to combine.
*Can serve immediately or chill for at least an hour. (If not serving immediately, you can add the avocado right before serving to prevent it from browning if you wish.)


We hope you enjoy!


The Columbia’s Cooking Team


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