It seems like almost everyone talks about using healthy crock pot meals (coming soon) to simplify their cooking and make their life easier. However, if you’ve ever tried to make crock pot beans, you might have been disappointed. Sometimes, they don’t seem to cook properly. Other times, they turn into a mushy mess.
We’ll help you learn how to cook beans in the crock pot in a variety of ways. Crock Pot beans are perfect for meal planning! Beans are an affordable way to serve a crowd, and they freeze well for future meals.
CROCK POT BEAN BENEFITS
Beans pack in a great health punch without impacting your wallet too much. They’re high in the following nutrients, according to North Dakota State University:
- B vitamins
Beans are a starchy vegetable that delivers plenty of carbohydrates. That means that they can fuel you for the day. Because they’re high in fiber, they take longer to digest and won’t lead to a carb crash later. They balance blood sugar, which is a concern for some people when eating carbohydrates.
Beans can also benefit you in other ways. They lower your cancer risk. This is due in large part to the antioxidants and fiber that they contain. The American Heart Association claims that eating beans may improve your cholesterol levels.
Cooking Beans From Scratch
Do Mexican-style black or pinto beans come to mind when you think of the legume? There are many other bean options that go well with different spices and flavors. Garbanzo, kidney, white, navy, lima and calico beans can be used. Black-eyed peas are another bean that’s great for crock pot bean meals.
Lentils are also legumes, but they require different cooking methods than traditional beans. We have a recipe for a delicious crock pot lentil soup.
Don’t miss my two delicious Crock Pot Chili recipes with a special tip for how to reduce gas from beans!
Buying beans in a can is easy and convenient. However, canned beans have more sodium than dried beans. Our busy lifestyles often turn us off from cooking beans from scratch, though. Dried beans may require soaking or pre-cooking, which takes extra time.
Making crock pot beans might be the solution. Cooking them over low temperature for a longer period of time allows you to forego the step of soaking them. You don’t have to spend a lot of time hovering over the stove either. Making beans in a slow cooker lets you set it and forget it.
Cooking beans from scratch also allows you to control the other ingredients that go into them. As long as you don’t dump in the salt, you’ll consume less sodium compared with eating canned beans. You can also adjust the amount of fat that you add to them.
How to Reduce Gas From Beans
Many people shy away from eating beans because of one negative side effect: gas.
Care2 shares several surprising ways to avoid gas from beans. Eating fruit or sugar along with beans can compound the bloating. Combining beans with other sources of protein makes your stomach work harder to digest them, which can produce gas.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of getting gas from beans is to soak them with baking soda. According to NutritionFacts.org, the baking soda reduces raffinose, a starch in the legumes that humans have trouble digesting. Add about 1/16 teaspoon per quart of soaking water, and leave the beans in the liquid for about eight hours before cooking them. Even just soaking the beans without the baking soda can help you with flatulence as long as you toss the soaking water.
If you’re using canned beans, you don’t have to soak them. You should rinse them with water to get rid of the excess salt.
Adding ginger to your dishes can also help reduce the annoying inflation that may occur in your gut when you eat beans. The Global Healing Center says that ginger is one of the best remedies for gas.
Here’s the thing, though: experts say that the reports of flatulence from beans may be exaggerated. Passing gas is natural when you eat the recommended amount of fiber. If you’re just starting to eat beans, your body will probably even itself out, and you should notice a reduction in gas after a week or two.
Healthy Crock Pot Bean Recipes
If you don’t eat legumes frequently, you might want to start by soaking the beans before you eat them. However, most people say that cooking the legumes in a crockpot eliminates the need for soaking. The longer cooking time will soften your beans.
If you want to avoid mushy beans, add salt as you begin to cook them. This will keep the membranes intact and prevent the veggie from breaking open and expelling its insides.
All slow cookers are different. Start checking your beans after about five hours, and continue to taste test them every 30 minutes or so until they’re done.
Potluck Party Chicken Bean Chili
The Spruce shares a go-to recipe for your next potluck or party. It’s light and healthy so that you can entertain without the guilt factor.
Potluck Party Chicken Bean Chili Recipe
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper,
- 2 cloves minced garlic (or substitute 1 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 15-ounce can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes, diced
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cups corn kernels
- 1 heaping tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Put them into the slow cooker with the other ingredients.
- Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Slow-Cooker Pinto Beans
Paula Deen shows us how to make pinto beans from scratch in this Food Network recipe. You can replace the pintos with any type of dried bean to change the flavor.
Comforting Slow-Cooker Pinto Beans
- 1 pound dried pinto beans
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ pound ham steak
- 4 cups water
- 1 chopped onion
- Salt, black pepper and garlic powder to taste
- After washing and sorting the beans, soak them overnight in cold water.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Add them to the slow cooker with the other ingredients except for the ham.
- Cut the ham into chunks, and brown it in a separate skillet.
- Add the meat and drippings to the slow cooker.
- Cook on high until the beans are tender, at least 5 hours.
Brazilian-Style Black Beans
This recipe from Café Johnsonia incorporates plenty of aromatics to make the dish delicious.
Brazilian-Style Black Beans
- 1 pound dried black beans, sorted and rinsed
- 6 cup water
- 1 diced onion
- 2-3 garlic cloves, whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon salt
- rosemary, sage, thyme, carrots, celery Optional
- You don’t need to pre-soak the beans. Just put them into the crock pot with the other ingredients.
- Cook on high for at least 3 hours or on low for at least 5 hours.
- If the water evaporates, add more to prevent the beans from burning.
Crockpot Bean Benefits + Recipes: Conclusions
Cooking a big batch of beans can be a lifesaver when it comes to meal planning. You can also get more meal-planning hacks and a template here. When you follow our 6 steps to make meal planning a no-brainer, you’ll never have to scrounge or hit up the drive-thru again.