People often tell me that being vegan is too expensive or they can’t fit it in their budget. Being vegan can be really expensive if you eat a lot of prepared foods but cooking from scratch makes vegan meals cheaper and healthier. I’ve recently been converted to dry beans. These are the reasons why.
1. Dry beans are cheaper. A 1 pound bag of beans costs about as much as 1 can of beans and makes 3-4 cans volume of beans. I pay $0.79-$2.79 for a 1 pound bag and $0.89-$3.19 for a can. Jeepers H Crackers, that’s ridiculous! You can’t even get chicken that cheap. Check out my before (above) and after (below) pictures of some soaked chickpeas.
2. It saves space. A bag of dried beans take up less room in your kitchen than the 3-4 cans of beans you might otherwise purchase. They’re also lighter to carry around and won’t hurt if you drop the bag on your foot or head from a high shelf. (I’m a klutz… don’t judge me.) This is a pound of beans beside a can of beans.
3. It also saves space in landfills and energy costs for transportation. The empty plastic bag from beans versus 3-4 BPA-plastic lined tin cans with paper labels means less energy allocated to transporting and recycling and less space in garbage dumps.
4. There’s WAY more variety in the dried beans section of my supermarket than the canned beans section. I like variety.
5. Dried beans don’t contain preservatives or salt. You can also control what you add to the beans. I use distilled water but only because I’m not sure if my municipality uses hexafluorosilicic acid (an industrial waste derived from the production of aluminum metal and phosphoric acid) to fluoridate local tap water. I’d rather not add diluted industrial waste to my food. Yeah, I’m weird like that.
6. Dried beans taste better and aren’t as mooshy as canned. I find I have to add canned beans last in chili recipes because they fall apart when you stir them. Dried beans are firm enough to stand up to vigorous mixing and haven’t lost their flavor to the liquid they’re canned in.
7. There’s also more control with cooking. If I’m only going to be cooking for a couple of people and still want to use 3 different kinds of beans, that’s all I’ll have to prepare. No opened tins with plastic over them in my fridge potentially waiting to spoil and be wasted. 1 cup of dried beans translates to about 1 can.
8. Dried beans are incredibly easy to prepare. There’s no can opener and no sharp edges on the lid or can for you, your little ones or your family pet (who inevitably will get into your garbage pail…) to cut themselves on. I set them in a bowl in my kitchen sink the night before. I see the bowl when I put my dishes from breakfast in the sink the next morning. I am then reminded to fill the bowl with water, cover it and go to work. When I get home, my beans are ready to start cooking. What I’m saying is. if you can put water into a bowl, you can use dried beans.
So you might be wondering what I’m going to do with that HUGE bowl of chickpeas. This post is really about hummus. All you need is the following:
1 cup of dry chickpeas, soaked OR 1 can of drained chickpeas (save some of the liquid from soaking or the can)
juice from 1 lemon
3-8 garlic cloves
1 heaping tbsp tahini (optional but recommended)
I’m adding a generous handful of fresh basil and sundried tomato… for fun. You can add anything: roasted red peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, cucumber and dill… whatever.
Put it all in your blender or food processor and blend until you like the texture. If you need more liquid, add some of the liquor from the soaking or from the can. Voila! Hummus. I sprinkle mine with some smoked paprika powder and ate it with my own sesame ginger carrot crackers. Yeah, I make my own crackers. Wanna learn how to make those too? Some day… some day.
I wish you could taste how delicious this hummus is. The spicy basil and garlic are amazing with the mellow sundried tomato on the backdrop of creamy chickpeas and tahini. Let me know what combo you dream up for hummus and tell me how you like it. I want to make MOAR!
This is Christie, signing off.
All your cons to using canned goods make so much sense. I tried making hummus once from dried chickpeas but it didn’t taste right…how long did you soak them and is that all you did before blending them?
I talked to my farmer cousin and he said that if you find the flavor of dried garbanzos too strong, soak them overnight and change the water in the morning for cooking that evening. He also said that white beans are a milder substitute. I hope that helps.
I can’t really remember what it was…it was like a stale taste (if that makes any sense)…I don’t think I soaked them either b/c the recipe I used told me to boil the heck out of them so I bet that was probably why they tasted different. I am going to try your way next time because I think it will be better.
I rinsed them, picked out some rocks (organic.. what can you do) and soaked them for 10 hours at room temperature, that’s it. They definitely have more flavor than the canned ones. Is that a plausible reason that they might not taste like you’re used to?
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I love hummous. Dried beans are so much tastier than canned beans! I usually soak my beans for 24 to 48 hours before cooking them. I have also gone zero-waste with my beans and buy them from the bulk bins at Whole Foods and put them in re-usable produce bags instead of plastic bags (and then store them in glass jars at home).