I didn’t grow up eating beans. The most I remember were baked beans that were served when we had hot dogs for dinner, the latter of which was an infrequent treat. Those beans were nasty and kind of creamed but they were non negotiable.
Many years back I started educating myself on nutrition and beans became a staple in my diet. Beans are filling, nutritious, fiber powerhouses. I love chickpeas/garbanzo beans above all others but also like black beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, white beans, and lentils. Some people don’t like beans because of the gas but one thing I read early on was that the more you eat beans the less that is a problem and it’s true (not just something they say to talk you into eating more beans).
The other day I saw a bean soup mix on sale for $2 so I bought two packs. Generally I don’t pay more than a dollar a pound for beans as one of their attributes is their low price. However, a mix of bean types is always priced higher. One time I made my own bean soup mix by combining a variety of beans I had on-hand but I assure you I got nowhere near 15.
The first thing I did/do is toss out the little chemical packet of flavoring that comes with the soup. Dry beans need to soak overnight so I put these in a big jar covered with water in the refrigerator so they’d be ready to cook the following day.
This winter I treated myself to a wonderful purchase, a deep stock pot. I love it! In it I sautéed a smallish chopped up onion in a little canola oil, stirring occasionally. After the onion had cooked, I filled the pot half way with water and added the now-drained beans. I don’t always add vegetables but I had some ready to use, so I added half a pound of fresh green beans cut in half, and a little over half a pound of sliced carrots, all of which I brought to a boil. If you don’t bother adding vegetables it’s still a healthy, filling soup.
I turned the pot down to a simmer and added fresh ground pepper and some fresh Rosemary from my herbs. (You can add whatever you like.) After about an hour I tasted the largest bean to make sure it was cooked as well as a green bean and carrot slice. Near the end of cooking I added a 28oz can of rinsed, diced tomatoes and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar. Vinegars are a great way to add flavor without salt or more fat (the only fat in this is the canola oil for sautéing; you can even saute with just water for no fat). I add the vinegar toward the end of cooking so the flavor doesn’t all cook off.