It used to be that when I thought of beans, I would think of old westerns, tin plates, and the solitary food that cowboys ate on the range. Who still eats beans? Isn’t that even the old joke- “Money’s getting so tight, we’ll be down to eating beans for dinner” ?
Well, I think beans are underrated. They may not be a trendy food, but they are SO nutritious. Beans are filled with iron, protein, vitamins and fiber. They are low in cholesterol (in fact they help lower cholesterol!), very low in fat, and very heart -healthy! (Check out the nutrition of Pinto beans, and black eyed peas for starters. Both are found in this recipe)
And let’s not forget, beans are also cheap!
Maybe good’ ol beans deserve another look!
This recipe, prepared in the slow cooker, begins with dry beans- nothing canned. This allows you to control the sodium and start with no preservatives. Added to the beans are onion, garlic, and peppers- which are also fresh and healthy choices. (Have you ever researched all the benefits of garlic? It’s truly an amazing food.)
These beans could be your main dish or side. I like to serve them along with brown rice or cornbread. Having beans for dinner is also a great option if you are looking for something meatless since beans tend to be very hearty and filling.
Feel free, too, to play around with your combination of beans. There are so many varieties.
I’ve included my favorite combo in this recipe.
- 2 cups dry beans- I used pinto, great white northern, and black eyed peas.
- 10 cups water
- 1 Tbs. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 4-5 garlic cloves, divided
- 1 whole large onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Green or Red Pepper
- additional salt and pepper for seasoning, if needed
Rinse the beans- discard any small stones or damaged beans.
Add these to the crock pot and pour in the water.
Season with the 1 T. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Remove skin from 2 cloves of garlic. Add them, whole, to the beans. Cut a large onion in half, and add that entire half to the beans. Save the other half of onion for later. Add the bay leaves. This onion and garlic and bay leaves are only for flavor- we’ll remove them from the beans before serving. Later we will add additional onion and garlic for serving with the beans.
Stir all of this together and Cover.
Allow the beans to cook on high for 5- 6 hours. Water level will decrease as it cooks, but should stay above the beans.
About 2 hours before serving- remove the lid and spoon out the onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Discard or add to compost.
Dice up the other half of the onion. Mince 2 or 3 cloves of garlic. Dice up a red or green pepper. (or use both!) Add all of this to the beans. Sprinkle in 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, to add a little touch of spiciness.
Replace cover and finish cooking.
Before serving, taste to see if you should add any more salt or pepper.
Use a slotted spoon to serve.
These beans will taste wonderful over brown rice, baked barley, alongside cornbread.
You May also like “Slow Cooker Baked Beans (made from scratch- nothing canned)“