Black Beans – Slow Cooker Style

To soak or not to soak – that seems to be a big debate when it comes to cooking dried beans. Some information I read says; soaking dried beans prior to cooking removes some of the complex sugar that causes indigestion and it shortens the overall cooking time. Others say that when you toss out that soaking water you are throwing away important nutrients and flavor. I don’t know which theory is right. I will experiment with both methods and report the results.

First up I decided to go with the easy no soak method for cooking some dried black beans after reading on Smitten Kitchen that she had success by slow cooking her dried beans with out pre-soaking. My method was  a hybrid, as I often do, I took a little of this and a little of that from two recipes and combined them. I recently found a new to me blog  called Moms Kitchen Handbook and she had a post about Slow Cooker Black Beans although she did pre -soak her beans I went with her seasonings and used Smitten Kitchens no pre-soak method for slow cooking the black beans. Are you still with me? 🙂

This was so easy I don’t know why I didn’t try making my own black beans sooner. These slow cooked black beans have way more flavor than any canned beans you buy. It was super easy and economical too! A 1 pound bag of dried beans is just over a $1 and you end up with a crock pot full of beans! They can be put into freezer bags or freezer containers and frozen for future use. Use as is for a simple side dish with your favorite Mexican entree like Chicken Enchiladas , Easy Nachos, Creamy Chili Corn Soup,  add a little salsa, cilantro or low fat sour cream and you are good to go. Use them in the Brazilian Ham & Black Bean Soup or any recipe that calls for canned black beans. Easy -peasy! You have to try this cooking method!

Most of us eat black beans because they taste amazing and go well with so many other ingredients. But did you know the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society–recommend legumes as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health? You can read more about the health benefits of black beans at one of my favorite web sites for nutritional information The Worlds Healthiest Foods.

Not until I started looking for recipes here on the blog that contained black beans did I realize how many dishes I already make with a variety of beans. See for yourself by clicking on the recipe tab at the top of this page, on the recipe navigation page scroll down to ingredients and click on beans to view for yourself the tried and true favorite recipes my family eats on a regular basis. Use the print function to make hard copies for yourself. Happy Cooking!

Black Beans – Slow Cooker

  • 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed with cold water and any broken beans or pebbles tossed out
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt–or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper, minced, optional – ( I didn’t use it this time)
  • 6 1/2 cups water
  • Juice of one lemon or lime

Combine all ingredients except lemon or lime juice in slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 3-5 hours or until beans are tender. Mine took about 4 hours. Add lemon or lime juice and stir. Left over beans can be frozen in freezer bags or freezer safe containers for future use.

Servings Size: 1/2 cup

Nutritional Information

Per Serving: 135 Calories; 1g Fat (4.1% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 362mg Sodium (According to WW Complete Food Companion 1/2 cup black beans is 2 WWPPs. Using the nutritional information for this recipe the WWPPs calculate to 3 for 1/2 cup.)

Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Mom’s Kitchen Handbook

Nutmeg Notebook

Yesterday I had another oral surgery procedure to remove some extra gum tissue. After the numbing process the procedure took about 20 minutes (I had been told 10 minutes). They gave me an ice pack to go, which is pretty difficult to hold up to your mouth and drive at the same time – I had to wonder what other drivers thought as they drove past me! By the time I got home the pain and swelling had settled in. Armed with a bag of frozen peas for a form fitting ice pack and taking a generous dose of Motrin I was soon quite comfortable. Once again I can’t bite into anything –  I can chew just no taking bites of an apple, sandwich or eating anything sharp like nuts, chips and so forth. It is a good way to reduce calorie intake – I have to look for the silver lining in this right?

Dr Oz and A Smart Guide to Buying Supplements

The rest of the day was spent as a couch potato and I actually got to watch Dr Oz in real time. It was an awesome show about dietary supplements and which ones actually contain what the label says it does. A representative from Consumer Lab.com was on the show and if you use the link from the Dr Oz website you can get a reduced fee for a one year or two year subscription to their web site. I am not sure when this special price ends so if you are interested check it out right away.

They also had free access to a few of their independent unbiased lab findings for 24 hours after the show but that will be ending sometime today. I did get a one year subscription and was happy to find out that my fish oil does contain what it said it did! You can bet that I will be checking out all the other supplements that we use to see how they stack up against the claims on the bottles. It’s a great resource to use in order to be sure your dollars are being spent wisely and that you are actually getting what you are paying for. Paying more does not always equal better quality!

No big plans for this weekend – oh wait that isn’t entirely true – I am getting  a hair cut and plan on getting 3-4 inches cut off! I am super excited about going shorter and refreshing my look. Other than that I will be taking it easy, eating carefully and healing.

Enjoy the weekend!


Add Your Thoughts

Do you cook your own beans and if so do you pre -soak them or not?

Do you take dietary supplements? Where do you buy them?

I take a multi vitamin, calcium, fish oil and Vit D. I buy them at the drug store, vitamin store and Costco & Sam’s club.

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  1. Jan says:

    I get my vitamin supplements (multivit and D3) at Sunflower Market except for fish oil, which I buy online. I take a hefty dose and want the really pure stuff that doesn’t make me smell like a goldfish bowl. The most cost efficient way to get that (and have it be palatable) is one type of liquid that I have found. Right now I’m taking extra Vit C and zinc for healing.

    As for beans, they still are not on my plan although I will indulge with the rare pinto beans. When I cooked a pot at home, I always pre-soaked ’cause Mom told me so 😉

  2. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    HUGS to you on your mouth! I recall when I had my stuff done not too long ago & had cotton balls on both sides of my mouth & had an hour+++ drive home – not good so I understand!

    I watched that DR. Oz show too. Recorded it & watched it last night. Quite eye opening!

    Beans – honestly, as good as they are for you, not a fan AND my bod is not either.

  3. sarah@spinach and spice says:

    Call me crazy, but I really LOVE beans! My family just doesn’t understand haha. I usually just buy canned beans, but I’ve heard soaking and cooking them yourself makes such a difference! I’ll have to give these ones a try.. easy but look great!

  4. Biz says:

    Sorry about your surgery – that’s the worst when you can’t eat – but I agree, you gotta look at the silver lining, right?

    When I use dried beans I always soak them over night, or I’ll put them in water before I go to work and drain and use at night. You are right, dried beans have so much more flavor than canned ones.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  5. Ann says:

    I love love love black beans. They are so tasty. We recently discovered Bush’s black bean refried beans, fat free in a can. They are sooooooo much better than regular ones. I will definitely try it as I’ve never done black beans fresh. When I do pinto beans I soak overnight, but I have done them in the crockpot without soaking before.

    I do take supplements. I have a prescription iron with b12 and vit C that I take because I have a tendency to be anemic. I also take fish oil, which as you know, I get at costco usually although sometimes I take samples of the prescription stuff. I take a multivitamin and extra vit D.

  6. Marsial says:

    Hi Tami,

    I hope you’re feeling better now. I would probably have used mouth pain as an excuse to eat ice cream, which is why you are trimmer than me.

    I take a bunch of vitamins — a mature multi, B-12, fish oil, and D. I get a physical every year and do not have any vitamin deficiencies, but just take the few above since I curtail my calories — don’t want to be getting less than the daily recommendation in anything necessary for good health. I buy mine all over — I look for a good price, but I do read labels, and I read reviews about which ones are supposedly better.

    I love beans! For the longest time I just used all kinds of Bush beans, but lately I have been buying dry beans, soaking them overnight and then cooking them. Usually the beans absorb all of the liquid I use to soak them, so I can’t see how I would be losing anything nutritional.

  7. Diane Fit to the Finish says:

    I do soak my beans to avoid the sodium in canned beans. I rinse, soak, rinse and then cook! I hope I’m not losing too many nutrients.

  8. Amanda says:

    If I don’t have a pot of beans on over the weekend, it’s an unusual weekend indeed. Black beans are actually my favorite — I’ll have to try the no-presoak method! I’d love to be able to have them even if I forgot to put them on to soak the night before. Hmmm… a project for this weekend perhaps? And THIS time I will make sure I remember to put the leftovers into the freezer.

    Speaking of Smitten Kitchen, have you ever baked the Walnut Jam Cake on her site? The recipe is adapted from Gourmet.com, and is absolutely amazing. It’s my “go to” cake for taking over for desserts and for just when I need to bake something pretty. I used some lingonberry jam I found in our “gourmet” jam section this last time and it was phenomenal. I’ve also used black currant and strawberry.

    I like it just a little bit, as you can tell.

    I hope your gums feel better soon!

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