For a long time, I was not a big fan of beans. I didn’t like either cooking or eating them until I tried marinated with pesto giant Lima beans once. They were relatively expensive, so I decided to learn to make them at home. Eventually, I discovered a no-hustle way of cooking legumes in my Crock-Pot. Later, I’ve got an Instant Pot, and the process became even easier and faster. I keep strained beans in a covered container refrigerated for up to 4 days and use them for soups, salads, stir-fries, snacks, etc. Isn’t it convenient for a busy home cook? Dry Lima beans absorb a lot of water when cooking, so a cup of dry beans (~8 oz) becomes 3 cups of cooked beans.
Rinse dry beans. Place them in the slow cooker and add cold water. If you add salt to the cooking water, do it now, to taste.
Cover with a lid and cook on low for 6 hours. Taste one bean to check its doneness. If they are cooked to your taste, strain the cooking water. Keep both in covered containers, refrigerated, for up to 4 days. If the beans are not soft enough to your taste, turn the slow cooker off, but return the lid back and let them to gently continue cooking using the left over heat of the slow cooker. Check them in 2 hours.
Combine cooked beans with marinated vegetables (artichokes, assorted olives, marinated mild cherry peppers, grilled bell peppers, caramelized perl onions, etc.) to serve it as a salad. It is wonderful addition to many cheese and deli meats plates.
instructions for Instant Pot
Rinse 1 lb dry beans. Place them in the insert of Instant Pot and add cold water to the mark 7 cups. If you add salt to the cooking water, do it now, to taste.
Secure the lid and position the steam release handle to be sealed for pressure cooking. Select Manual key function and press Adjust button to choose 25 minutes for time cooking. Let the pressure be naturally released.
Remove the insert pot and let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours to let starches completely set. Strain and season or marinate the bean and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
From this basic recipe, you can go many ways with different beans and dressings. My inspiration for a very simple, easy, and quick cabbage and beans soup came from my Russian-speaking friend, who lives in Italy and writes with passion about regional Italian food. I was charmed by her recipes of soups served in a Savoy cabbage leaf. For my version, I used beans cooking water, sautéed leeks and cabbage, and cooked beans and green peas. Simply add 2 tbsp of your favorite pesto to hot beans and serve.