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HappyHealthy Newsletter: Beans

Filed Under:
Publication Number: P3612
View as PDF: P3612.pdf

Beans are grown and used all over the world.

Inspired by different cultures, there are many recipes to try. Beans are a staple food that deserve a place in any pantry!


There are a few things to consider when selecting beans:

  • Dry or canned?

    When considering price, dried beans are usually cheaper than canned beans. Canned beans are ready to use while most dried beans require soaking before cooking.

  • What variety?

    Beans come in many varieties, such as black, red, pinto, kidney, navy, lentils, and black-eyed peas.

  • How will they be used?

    Some common uses for beans include:

    • Hummus (traditionally made with chickpeas, but just about any type of bean can be used).
    • Refried beans (traditionally made from pinto beans).
    • Beans and rice (red beans are commonly used for this).

When selecting canned beans, look for cans that are free from dents and say “low sodium” or “no salt added.” Make sure to check the nutrition facts label.


Rinsing is important with both canned and dried beans. After rinsing, dried beans must be soaked before cooking.

  • Overnight Soak:
    • Place beans in 3 cups of cold water per cup of beans.
    • Soak for 8–24 hours before cooking.
    • Drain liquid after soaking time is complete.
  • Quick Soak:
    • Place beans in 3 cups of cold water per cup of beans.
    • Bring water to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.
    • Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
    • Drain.
  • Cooking:
    • Dried lentils and split peas do not need to be soaked.
    • Rinse, then simmer for 20 minutes following package or recipe directions.
    • Drain soaked beans. Rinse, then add 1 cup of fresh water per cup of beans. Simmer for 2 hours following package or recipe directions.

Children can get involved with cooking beans by:

  • Helping rinse beans.
  • Measuring water for soaking.
  • Helping mash beans.
  • Adding herbs and spices.

3 Bean Chili


  • 2 14.5-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 15.5-ounce can low-sodium red kidney beans
  • 1 15.5-ounce can low-sodium black beans
  • 1 15.5-ounce can low-sodium pinto beans
  • 1 16-ounce package chopped frozen vegetable mix (onion, celery, bell pepper)
  • 1 package low-sodium chili seasoning


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
  2. Place a large pot on the stovetop burner.
  3. Add stewed tomatoes and tomatoes with green chiles to the pot.
  4. Drain and rinse kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans and add to pot. Set burner to low heat.
  5. Add the frozen vegetable mix and chili seasoning to the pot.
  6. Cover the pot and set the burner to medium heat for 45 minutes. Stir every 10–15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.
  8. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.

    NOTES: Can serve with instant brown rice. Recipe can be cooked in a slow cooker. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 2–3 hours or on low for 4–5 hours.

Learn More:

  • To learn more about cooking beans, visit HappyHealthy.MS and click on Tips and Videos.
    • Cook Dried Beans in a Slow Cooker

happy healthy

@happy healthyms

happy healthyms


Publication 3612 (POD-09-21)

By Daniel Hirst, Mississippi State University Extension Service.

This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Department: Nutrition Education
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