Simple beans are just the thing for those days when life is anything but…

This easy aduki beans recipe is adapted from Ree Drummond’s first cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl. Ree’s recipe features pinto beans. Those would certainly be the more standard sort to use in this dish, but I’m not a standard sort of person (plus I had no pinto beans on hand), so I used what I did have: aduki beans.

Aduki beans (aka adzuki beans) are small red beans that are most typically used in Japanese cooking. They are often featured in sweet recipes such as red bean paste. Aduki beans also make an appearance in macrobiotic cooking.

I like aduki beans because they do not require soaking and because they don’t take all that long to cook compared to other bean varieties. If you can’t find them, though, feel free to use pinto or another type of beans instead.

If you’ve never cooked dried beans before and you are accustomed to just opening up a can when you want beans, here are some facts that might make you want to rethink that strategy:

-Canned beans are very high in salt
-Canned beans are pressure cooked, which may cause excessive gas in some individuals
-Cans can be a source of heavy metals, which can leach into the beans and then get into your body
-Cans are a form of packaging that can be avoided if you buy in bulk

Plus, I mean it when I say this recipe is simple…

Recipe for Simple Seasoned Aduki Beans

Yield: Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 95 minutes

Total Time: 100 minutes

Ingredients:

*4 cups dried aduki beans (you can buy them here, or use pinto or another type of beans)
*4 slices organic uncured bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces- optional; bacon lends a nice smoky saltiness but you can leave out for vegetarian beans
*filtered water
*1 teaspoon course sea salt or to taste
*1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
*1 teaspoon garlic powder or to taste
*1 teaspoon chili powder or to taste

Directions:

1. If not using aduki beans, it's best to soak your beans overnight in a large pot covered with water. After they have soaked, drain them and rinse several times. If you are using the aduki beans, just go ahead and rinse them.

2. Place rinsed beans and bacon in a large pot on the stove. Pour water over the beans to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

3. Skim any foam that might rise to the top while cooking, and add additional water (or stock), if there does not seem to be enough liquid.

4. Cook until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours (or as long as 3 hours for pinto and other beans).

5. Add the sea salt (don't add too much if you've used stock) and pepper, plus the seasonings I mentioned (or others that you like) to taste. You can serve these in whole wheat or corn tortillas with the toppings of your choice: think grated raw cheese, fresh salsa, guacamole, organic sour cream, etc. Or have some in a bowl with a side of cornbread (I made a pretty good gluten-free one that you can see in the top picture). Fresh chopped tomato, cucumber, red pepper, and sliced avocado are also wonderful additions.

6. My favorite healthy way to eat these, though, is this: chop some collard greens very fine, add some olive oil and fresh lime juice, and mix with the beans, veggies, and salsa. Top with some green onions and minced cilantro- yum yum yum!

This bean recipe is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging.

WHB was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen and it is currently managed by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything.
Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds is the host this week!