Navy beans, also known as pea beans, are one legume that even infrequent bean eaters have experience with. They're the traditional bean used in baked beans and in the classic French dish cassoulet. Navy beans are not only an inexpensive source of protein, they are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including riboflavin, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and choline. Navy beans are even healthier when you cook or prepare the dried beans at home because canned beans contain a high amount of sodium that home-cooked navy beans lack.
Place 1 pound of navy beans in a colander and rinse under cold running water, discarding any debris, stones and discolored or broken beans.
Place the beans in the stockpot and cover with 5 cups of cold water. Put the pot's lid in place and allow the beans to soak 12 hours or overnight.
Drain the beans. Return them to the pot and add 4 quarts of cold water. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Bring the water to a boil. Skim off any dark-colored scum or foam that accumulates on the top of the water with a large spoon. Cover the pot loosely with the lid and turn the heat to low so that the beans are at a gentle simmer.
Cook until the beans are tender, from one to two hours. Stir occasionally during the cooking time to prevent the beans from sticking to the pot's bottom. Drain the beans. Use them immediately, or store them in their cooking liquid for up to three days in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer.
Things You'll Need
1 pound dried navy beans
Deep stockpot with tight-fitting lid
5 cups and 4 quarts water, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
If you're pressed for time, you can skip the overnight soak and instead quick-soak the beans. Rinse the beans, place them in a saucepan and cover them with 1 inch of water. Boil for two minutes, then cover the pan, remove from heat and allow to sit, undisturbed, for one hour. Drain the beans and continue cooking following the normal procedure.
Beans can cause digestive problems for many eaters. You can decrease the discomfort of eating beans by using a commercially available enzyme product or always soaking the beans overnight before cooking.
Try cooking the beans with herbs or flavorings such as sprigs of rosemary, garlic cloves or chili peppers.
- How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food; Mark Bittman
- The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook; The Editors at America's Test Ktichen
- The Splendid Table: How to Cook Dried Beans
- Organic Facts: Nutritional Value of Navy Beans and Lima Beans
- PCC Natural Markets: Navy Beans
- Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer et al.