No Thanks
Let

Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

What's For Dinner: Beans

Beans are money in the bank for the weeknight cook. Simmer a big batch and you'll have the main ingredient for three quick, delicious dinners.

Bean Basics

To make all three of these recipes, start with 1 1/2 pounds (3 1/2 cups) dried pinto, kidney, or cranberry beans, which yield about 8 1/2 cups cooked beans plus 8 cups liquid. Then follow these simple steps.

Soak

Cover beans with 4 inches of water, and refrigerate overnight. (Or quick-soak them: Boil them 1 minute, then let them sit off heat, covered, for 1 hour.) There is no need to drain off the soaking liquid.

Flavor

Add aromatics such as carrots, celery, garlic, onions, and sprigs of sage to the pot. If your crisper is bare, a few garlic cloves and a bay leaf will suffice.

Simmer

Add more water, if necessary, to cover by 3 inches; pour in a splash of olive oil. Bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until almost tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Add 4 teaspoons coarse salt, and cook until beans are very tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes more.

Store

Let beans cool in their liquid, then remove aromatics. Refrigerate in liquid up to 5 days, or freeze up to 6 months.

Get a Head Start

Tonight's beans will taste even better tomorrow. They become more flavorful as they sit in their cooking liquid in the refrigerator.

Tip

Imbue beans with Mexican flavor by adding cumin seeds, a cinnamon stick, and dried whole chiles before simmering them.

Tip

You can also simmer beans in a slow cooker after soaking them and adding aromatics.

Recipes

Bean-and-Fish Tacos
Indian-Spiced Bean-and-Tomato Soup
Beans on Toast with Crisp Bacon and Eggs