Buying dried organic beans and cooking them in a crock pot is a super cost efficient way to ensure that you’re meeting your need for overt proteins without spending a ton on fancy schmancy, overly processed and packaging heavy “fake meats”. Don’t get me wrong: Tofurky, Field Roast, and Gardien products all have their place in my heart, but they are really not suited to being a daily part of my life.
I make my beans in HUGE batches and then I cool them and store them in single portions in freezer bags and store them in my freezer for future use. This takes a little more effort than just opening a package, but if you plan well you will only have to do it once a month or so. I have a batch of great white beans in my crockpot right now, will be cooking a pot of black beans tomorrow, and one of chick peas the following day, because I had gotten out of the habit of cooking my own beans, and am just now swinging back into production.
I’m eating mainly really simple meals of cooked whole grains with steam fried veggies and beans these days as I’m cycling back to eating “mostly macrobiotic”. There are tons of amazing things you can do with a good sized stash of beans in your freezer. I use mine for things like hummus, re”fried” beans, chickpea cutlets, black bean burgers, bean-based salads, soups, stews, pasta dishes, bean balls, chili, and well, almost any meal you can imagine really.
This is the “recipe” I’ve been using for years, although I do add a piece of wakame to my soak water to speed up cooking a bit:
A Year of Slow Cooking: Cooking Dried Beans in the Slow Cooker. (source article)
-bag of black beans (or other beans. but remember that kidney beans have that freaky toxin –– see note below.)
—crockpot (4 quarts and up)
Pour the entire bag of dried beans into a colander and rinse under cold water. If you see any beans that have broken in half, or skin that floats to the surface, get rid of it. Also pick out any beans that look shriveled and gross.
Dump all the beans into your crockpot. Add enough water to cover all the beans and an additional 2 inches.
Cover. Do not turn on. Let the beans soak for at least 6 hours, or overnight. If you live in a very warm area, and the crockpot won’t be in a room that is climate-controlled, put the stoneware in the fridge. You don’t want bacteria to have the opportunity to grow.
In the morning, dump the water, and rinse your beans. The water will be bean-colored.
(NOTE: if you are using red or kidney beans, you need to boil your beans rapidly on the stove for at least 10 minutes to kill a possible toxin lurking in the beans. It’s better to be safe than sorry!)
Put the beans back into your crockpot and cover with enough fresh water to completely cover the beans with an extra 2-3 inches.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
The beans are done when they are bite-tender. Don’t worry if the water hasn’t all absorbed. You’re going to dump it, anyway.
Drain the beans.
When cool, put 1 2/3 cups of beans into storage containers or freezer bags (you’re adding this amount because you aren’t adding filler-liquid like the cans have). The beans will store nicely in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer for 6 months.
Use as you would canned beans in your favorite recipe.