Pressure Cooker Beans: Cannellini and Mint Bean Salad – Lesson 4 – Quick-soaking Beans
Minty, zingy and nutritious. This bean salad can be ready in less than 20 minutes from dry beans using the most useful and least known method to prepare them- you get the benefits of overnight soaking without the wait!
You can prepare dry beans in the pressure cooker three different ways, each with benefits and drawbacks:
- Soaking or long-soak – The traditional, and my most recommended method to prepare beans for cooking, removes most of the indigestible sugars (which can cause gas), re-hydrates the beans evenly so they are as plump and beautiful as they were when they were fresh. However, this method needs you to plan ahead – anywhere from 4-12 hours depending on the bean!
- Quick-soak, speed-soak, or twice-cooking - A happy medium between long and no-soak methods. It also removes the indigestible sugars and only requires, at most, an additional 10 minutes prior to beginning your bean recipe. However, the faster re-hydration of the beans may cause the skins to crack or separate rendering them slightly less attractive than their long-soaked counterparts.
- No-soak – The fastest and easiest way to cook beans on the planet! You just rinse the beans and begin the recipe by throwing the beans in with the other ingredients. However, this method does not remove the indigestible sugars and the quick re-hydration could cause the beans to break apart and split rendering them highly unattractive. Also, I have never gotten even results using this method. Some beans are perfectly cooked, while some a crunchy and some have melted into a creamy mass. Only use this method for bean soups or spreads, though I do not recommend it at all!
Some bean varieties like lentils and split-peas can cook quickly on their own, have a low concentration of indigestible sugars, and do not need soaking prior to cooking (see my Cooking Time Chart).
Quick-soaking is a method of re-hydrating beans quickly by briefly pre-cooking them. Once you have quick-soaked them, you can follow recipe directions, and cooking times for soaked, or pre-soaked, beans. Here’s how to do it:
- Give the beans a quick rinse in a colander, by swishing them around and running water through them – this is a great time to remove any broken beans or debris.
- Put the beans in the pressure cooker. For each cup of rinsed beans, add four of water and 1 teaspoon of salt -this will help keep the skins intact.
- Bring the contents to a boil without the pressure cooking lid.
- Then, quickly close and lock the pressure cooker lid and bring the heat to high, if it’s not already there. When the pan has reached pressure, turn down the heat and count 2 minutes cooking time under pressure.
- Open the pressure cooker using the quick-release method, by running cold water on the top without obstructing the valves. For electric pressure cookers, release pressure very slowly through the valve in short spurts – should foam begin to exit the valve stop spurting and wait 30 seconds before you begin releasing pressure.
- Drain and rinse the beans under cold running water, again.
- Proceed with recipe that requires pre-soaked beans.
I will provide more details for the long and no-soak methods in a future article dedicated solely to cooking beans in the pressure cooker.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|6 L or larger||none||6 min.||High(2)||Natural|
- 1 cup Cannellini Beans, dry
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Garlic clove, smashed
- 1 Bay Laurel Leaf
- 1 sprig Fresh Mint, or 1tsp. dry
- 1 dash of White Wine Vinegar
- 1 generous swirl of Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Rinse the dried beans, and then place them in the pressure cooker with 4 cups (1lt) of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Make sure that the beans and water do not exceed the half of the total capacity of the pressure cooker. Some pressure cookers have this clearly marked (read more about pressure cooker capacity).
- Before putting on the lid, turn the heat to the maximum and bring the contents to a boil.
- Then, close and lock your pressure cooker lid.
- When the cooker reaches pressure, which should happen quickly, (with the model I'm using, the pressure cooker has reached pressure when the indicator lifts to display two red lines), turn the heat down to minimum and count 2 minutes cooking time under pressure.
- When time is up, turn off the heat and remove the pressure cooker from the burner. Open it with the quick-release method -bring the pressure cooker to your sink, and run cold water over the top (without getting any on the indicator or valves) until you see the indicator go back to it's "no pressure" position. For electric pressure cookers, release pressure very slowly through the valve.
- Strain the beans and rinse well under cold water. Give the pressure cooker interior a quick rinse, also.
- Put the beans, four cups or 1 lt. of fresh water back into the pressure cooker. Then add the smashed garlic and Bay leaf.
- Close and lock your pressure cooker lid. Turn the heat to the maximum. When the pressure cooker reaches pressure, turn the heat down to minimum. Count 6-8 minutes cooking time under pressure.
- When time is up, turn off the heat and move the pressure cooker to another burner to cool. Open it using the Natural Release method - which means don't do anything and just wait for the pressure in the cooker to come down naturally and for the indicator go back to it's "no pressure" position (about 10 minutes).
- Open the pressure cooker and give the beans a final rinse and strain.
- Taste before dressing with additional salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves before serving.
Now that you can quickly soak beans, you can try..