Knowing we have cooked beans handy has always been a source of comfort for me during busy times. Whether it’s serving them on their own with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and aleppo pepper or adding them to a pot of simmering soup, beans bulk up the simplest of meals and add the sort of creamy, rich texture you’re craving in the colder months.
Since buying an Instant Pot (no affiliation), it’s become my greatest ally for fixing up large batches of perfectly cooked beans – fast! Buying dried beans is more cost effective, saves space in our pantry and offers more variety to choose from when we’re shopping for beans, which it seems we always are lately. White beans pack 15g of protein for a 1 cup serving and contain a wealth of B vitamins, including B12. They also provide iron, potassium, zinc, and other essential minerals. Whenever I can’t seem to find time to cook a nutritionally dense meal, I reach for my jar of beans, caress them lovingly and breath a deep sigh of relief that they exist. It helps that my toddler also loves them, otherwise she’d live on blueberries and croutons.
This recipe is nothing fancy, but often it sustains us through the winter and fills our tummies with goodness when we’re too lazy to cook and don’t feel like ordering in. The coconut and herb sauce is one I make often – it’s tangy and savory and loaded up with whatever herbs and baby greens I happen to have on hand, and the fatty coconut milk helps to give it a luscious mouthfeel. We use it on grilled meats and salads, beans and grains, stirred into soups when serving or drizzled over pasta dishes to brighten them up. It’s versatile and comes together in a matter of minutes.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, feel free to use a can of beans (they won't have exactly the same texture as freshly cooked beans, but will work in a pinch!) or cook however you like your beans.This makes a large serving of beans so feel free to eat half now and save the rest for another meal, like this crostini.
- CREAMY WHITE BEANS
- 1 pound white/cannellini beans
- 8 cups water/low sodium stock
- 2 bay leaves/
- 2 smashed cloves garlic
- 2 tsp sea/kosher salt
- COCONUT HERB SAUCE
- 2 cups mixed herbs and baby greens
- ½ cup coconut milk (full fat)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp rice wine viegar
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper, to taste
- lemon wedges, to serve
- FOR THE BEANS
- Add ingredients to the instant pot (or other pressure cooker), place the lid on and turn the valve to seal. Cook for 35 minutes.
- I prefer to do a natural release of the steam, meaning I wait for the pressure to come down on it's own rather than turning the pressure valve to "venting" (quick-release). Feel free to do either, but BE CAREFUL when doing a quick release as the steam comes out fast and furious and you need to be sure it's pointing away from your skin/face.
- Strain beans, divide into 2 portions and save half for another use. Allow the half you're using now to cool to room temperature and toss with ¼ cup of the sauce. Add more if desired.
- For the other portion of beans, let them cool and then keep in the fridge for 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.
- FOR THE SAUCE
- Hand chop or pulse greens/herbs in a food processor until fine. Dump into a small bowl and add the coconut milk, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, lemon zest and vinegar.
- Use a microplane to grate the garlic into the sauce and stir everything together.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- I like to make this a few hours ahead of when I plan to eat so the sauce can sit and mingle, but it's still delicious right away.
- Toss the sauce with your cooled beans and serve with some garlic/olive oil rubbed grilled/broiled toast and a zingy squeeze of fresh lemon.