How to cook dried beans and what to make with them

Mar 13, 2020

See our Beans Recipe Collection for some ides of what to cook with many different types of beans.

We at The Splendid Table get asked a lot: "How do I cook dried beans such as navy beans or pinto beans?"

Here's the deal with all dried beans:

1. Rinse

Rinse the beans and discard any small pebbles or shriveled beans.

2. Soak

A few years ago, a pastry chef named Dominique Ansel shaped croissant dough into a ring, fried it until puffed, and became the creator of the Cronut, one of the world's most copied pastries. He also became a master maker of lines, as in hours-long lines outside his bakeries around the world, people waiting for cronuts, frozen s'mores they light on fire, and mugs of hot chocolate where the marshmallows literally open up and blossom like flowers before your eyes.

I first heard of Bryant Terry almost 20 years ago, when he started a program in New York City that taught underserved kids how to cook delicious and healthy meals after school, bring that food back home, and become the spark to empower their families to take control of their health and diets. He was brilliant and charismatic, and he’s since gone on to become the chef-in-residence of the Museum of the African Diaspora.

When I say the words "Cajun food," do you think: big, spicy, blackened, with people yelling "Bam!" in the kitchen? Well, Melissa Martin was raised on the bayou in Chauvin, Louisiana and the food she grew up with wasn't very much like what we see on TV. She has a restaurant in New Orleans where she serves the home cooking that takes her back to her mother's kitchen.

Saliha Mahmood Ahmed is a doctor in London, who turned her passion for cooking into a winning appearance on the British TV show Masterchef. Then, she turned her other passion, for culinary history, into Khazana, a cookbook of dishes inspired by the long-defunct Mughal empire. Yes, the empire that conquered Central Asia through north India, and built the Taj Mahal. But, what do we know about their food?

Ian McNulty

Because of the way New Orleans people watch restaurants so closely, because of  how we obsessive over them, it can seem like they have their own life spans. We see them arrive. Often, we're there when they say goodbye.
New Orleans has given us two striking examples in close succession: Dick & Jenny’s, the modern uptown bistro that just closed, and the Bon Ton Café, the downtown classic that closes this Friday.

Photo: Joe Yonan and Carl Mason at home with their pets.

Last year, our team spent a few days in St. Louis, where we met a lot of wonderful food lovers including Loryn and Edo Nalic, the very gracious couple who own a Bosnian restaurant called Balkan Treat Box. The restaurant started as a food truck serving up unique Bosnian dishes around the city. But before either the restaurant or the truck, there was a relationship, a story of love that crossed many oceans to bring Loryn and Edo together.

To Damira Inatullaeva and her Uzbek roots, cooking is not simply cooking, it is a way of socializing and sharing knowledge. So, we were excited when we were recently invited into her home to learn to make a very special dish. Damira is a retired cardiologist and her husband Sahib Aminov was a professor of Central Asian history at the University of Samarkand; they came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan seven years ago.

Photo: Michaele and John Weissman (left) and one of their many shared loaves of rye bread