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Beans, Lentils & Peas

Created January 10, 2017
You’ll find a huge selection of legumes—dried beans and their cousins, peas and lentils—at grocery stores, food coops, natural food markets and specialty ethnic shops.

Want lots of vegetable protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals? You’ll get them with beans, lentils and peas. Even better, they’re fat-free and cholesterol-free!

How Much?

Legumes come dried, canned and frozen at the grocery. If you’re in a hurry, canned Progresso® Beans may be just the thing for your chili dish or casserole. Progresso® Beans include cannellini beans, chick peas, black beans, dark red kidney beans, red kidney beans and fava beans.

If you have time or you’re cooking for a crowd, dried beans, peas and lentils are the basis for inexpensive, tasty dishes. When it comes to cooking with dried beans, how much do you need?

Bean Amount and Equivalent

  • 8 ounces dried beans (1 cup uncooked) - 2-3 cups cooked beans
  • 1 pound dried beans (2 cups uncooked) - 4-6 cups cooked beans
  • 1 can (15-16 ounces) drained cooked beans - 1 ½-2 cups beans 

Soaking Dried Beans

Be sure to soak dried beans (but not lentils, black-eyed peas and split peas) before cooking to soften them and dissolve the sugars that cause intestinal discomfort. Before soaking beans, pick out any that are shriveled, small or damaged. Choose a pot that will hold three times the dry bean amount.

Use one of these two soaking methods:

  • Quick-Soak Method (about 1 hour): Place beans in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 1 hour before cooking. Drain, then cook in fresh, cold water.
  • Long-Soak Method (8 to 24 hours): Place beans in a large saucepan or bowl; add enough cold water to cover. Let stand 8 to 24 hours. Drain, then cook in fresh, cold water.

Cooking Dried Beans, Peas and Lentils

  • Before cooking with beans, peas and lentils, be sure to sort through them, discarding any impurities or shriveled, damaged pieces. Rinse in cold water and drain. Lentils and peas don’t require soaking or precooking.
  • Place 1 cup pre-soaked beans (or 1 cup of peas or lentils) in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Add enough cold water (about 3 to 4 cups) to cover. Heat to boiling. Boil uncovered 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer (do not boil or beans will burst). Stir occasionally, until tender.

See the Timetable for Cooking Dried Beans & Legumes for simmer time and approximate yields.