We have been making a conscious effort to eat less meat lately; in part for health, in part for the environment, and primarily for budget. I have been serving vegetarian proteins for 2-3 meals a week and loving it. I feel really good eating this way and the kids love when I make beans, they eat them very well. My only issue is that canned beans can upset my stomach and I don’t love making space for all the cans. I prefer to cook my beans from a dry state, but this takes forever with the traditional method.
Enter, the Instant Pot. I cook these babies up in a couple hours and use them for so many different recipes.
3 cups beans
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons Vinegar
2 Bay leaves
1 Stick Butter
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin
2 Teaspoons Oregano
! Teaspoon Salt
First things first, the initial cooking of the beans.
Step 1– Pour beans into a colander and rinse well.
Step 2– Dump beans and Water into the pot with vinegar and bay leaves. Pressure cook for 1 hour on the manual setting.
- The purpose of the vinegar is to break the beans down slightly prior to consumption and reduce some of their more *ahem* musical properties. You know, the magic fruit and all that jazz. Whatever vinegar you have on hand will work to make them more digestible, I think Apple Cider Vinegar adds the best boost of flavor, but they will be rinsed so it is very subtle.
Step 3– Rinse beans well, turn Instant Pot to Saute setting and add butter to pot. Once the butter has mostly melted, add the beans and seasonings. Mix well and close lid to cook for an additional ten minutes on the manual setting.
- This style of beans is best for using as a meat replacement in tacos or casseroles. If you want a more traditional soupy bean for a side, follow all the steps above and add 1 1/2 cups of Vegetable or Chicken Stock to the cooking process in step 3.
- To do a one pot rice and beans side; saute all ingredients (including the chicken stock for 5 minutes, then add rice and water (1:1 ratio) and cook on the rice setting.
This was our dinner from a couple nights ago, I used the refried beans as the protein in these street tacos with purple cabbage, green onion, and a cilantro-lime aioli.
- To make the ciantro-lime aioli, I simply mixed mayonnaise with lime juice and minced cilantro. You could easily make the same dressing with plain yogurt or sour cream. We have a dairy sensitivity in the family so have mayonnaise on hand more often.
Here are a few other ideas to do with them:
- Pop them back in the instant pot with a can of Rotel tomatoes, some frozen corn, rice and water (1:1 ratio) and cook for 10 minutes.
- Or you could mix the beans, tomatoes, and corn together in a pan and cover with a cornbread topping.
- Bake at 375* for 40 minutes or until the top is golden.
My son is absolutely obsessed with cornbread, so this is his favorite. It might have something to do with the amount of honey I use in my recipe. Whatever works, right?
- 1 cup corn meal, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup honey.
- Mix all ingredients together and bake immediately.
- This time I did add some sour cream to the aioli and served a dollop right on top of the corn bread casserole.
There are many more ways to play with these beans; whether you use them as the main protein or saute them in with the hamburger to stretch a taco night further. Beans are so cost effective and the Instant Pot makes them very simple.