What are cranberry beans?
Cranberry beans are delicious and an excellent nutrient-dense food. They’re a rich source of dietary fiber, protein and iron, and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Cranberry beans are low fat and sodium, and are cholesterol free.
Cranberry beans are perfect for salads, soups, pasta fagioli, casseroles, stews, rice and whole grain dishes, and bean spreads. Use as you would pinto beans in chili or for baked beans. A favorite Italian tradition is serving them at room temperature with olive oil, lemon juice and chopped fresh parsley as a part of an antipasto tray, paired with olives, cheese and Italian sausage. See the back of our package for two hearty, comforting recipes featuring Cranberry Beans‚ÄîPasta e Fagioli and Macedonian Baked Beans.
How do I prepare pinto beans?
Pinto beans are enjoyed world-over as a staple food, particularly where meat is unavailable. In the Americas, they are the main ingredient in refried beans, which is typically made with animal fat. A healthier, meat-free version can be made in a slow cooker with reduced salt and spices such as paprika and cumin to replicate the traditional ‘smoky’ flavour.
The beans can be used whole in vegetarian chilli and other Mexican fare, in soups and in hearty stews, and mashed in a variety of healthy dips.
To shorten the cooking time and aid digestion, first soak the dried beans for at least a few hours but ideally overnight. The addition of bicarbonate of soda to the water will speed up the process. Another method is to bring the beans to the boil then turn off the heat and leave uncovered in the pan of water for one to two hours.
Once soaked, rinse the beans under running water and bring to the boil in a partially-covered pot one part beans to three parts fresh, un-salted water, as salt will increase the cooking time. Simmer for an hour or until tender, skimming off any foam that appears on the surface.
Barbunya Pilaki; Borlotti (Cranberry) Beans Cooked with Vegetables
- Soak the dried borlotti (or cranberry) beans overnight or for at least 8 hours.
- Then drain the beans, rinse and transfer to a pot, filled with plenty of cold water.
- Bring the pot to the boil, partially cover the pot and simmer for about 30 – 35 minutes. Make sure the beans become tender, but not soft or mushy, they should still have a bite to them.
- Drain and rinse the cooked beans under cold water and set them aside.
- Heat the olive oil in the pot and stir in the onions, sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, until they start to soften.
- Add the carrots, combine well and sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes and sugar, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine well.
- Add the beans to the pot and give it a good mix. Then pour in the water, combine well.
- Bring the pot to the boil; then turn the heat to low, cover the pan partially.
- Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the beans are cooked (but not mushy). Check the seasoning and add a little more salt or ground black pepper if needed.
- Serve Barbunya Pilaki at room temperature or cold as part of a mezze spread or appetizer, garnished with chopped parsley and wedges of lemon by the side to squeeze over. If you choose to serve next to main courses, I suggest serving Barbunya Pilaki warm.