The short and sweet answer is – toss them in water and simmer until tender. Cooking dried black beans is really that simple. But there are a few things you can do to amp up the flavor of black beans when you cook them. Here’s how I cook dried black beans.
But canned beans are so convenient.
Are they though? I struggle to open cans. Maybe because I’m left handed. Anyway, cooking your own beans has its advantages, it:
Lets you control the flavors. Canned beans have a lot of salt. Cooking beans yourself lets you infuse them with garlic, onion, peppers, heat, etc.
Is Cheaper. Dried beans are about 40% cheaper per serving than canned beans. (For this and other comparisons, see this post about saving money on groceries.)
Has the potential to be less wasteful. Maybe you only need half a can of beans. That sets you up to waste the other half if you don’t plan well. If you can get dried beans in the bulk section, you can avoid packaging to prevent waste that way too.
Black beans are synonymous with flavor packed spicy dishes. They can handle as much flavor as you’re willing to saturate them with. Besides salt, I have never over seasoned beans.
You can adjust flavors however you like when you cook dried black beans. If you’re vegetarian, skip the tomato bouillon that’s chicken based. Perhaps add some enchilada sauce or salsa instead. Add more jalapenos if you want more heat, especially if you leave the membranes in. Drop in some chunks of onion if those are your thing.
I regularly skip peppers and garlic out of sheer laziness. It takes under a minute to get beans and seasonings into water. Slicing up peppers and peeling garlic takes a couple more minutes. If I’m not already slicing peppers or peeling garlic as part of my meal preparation, I don’t usually do it just for the beans. However if you’re willing to take a few extra minutes, it is SO worth it.