I’ve been slow on posting this truly banger of a beans recipe since it requires a bit of, I don’t know..finesse, I guess. Since you use the brine from cooking the beans to make the velvety sauce, you need to have a more or less precise amount of water left after cooking them (which is based on your specific beans). While I greatly suggest using kidney beans for this recipe, small red beans will also work (and are considerably easier to source). I don’t suggest using light red beans or pinto; though one would imagine they could be used interchangeably, it just doesn’t work out.
The finessing involved is called for when sauteing the beans in the final step. You want to make sure there is enough sauce (especially if you’re making these in bulk to be reheated..which, yes, I really suggest you do), but not too much. For your first time making this recipe I would just suggest you do it with plenty of time to spare, as in don’t have the rest of your dinner ready when your beans *should* be done because you might need to reduce the brine down for up to 20 minutes longer than expected. Once you get to know your beans it’s like clockwork. Another difficulty this recipe poses to fellow vegans is that I use homemade cultured cashew butter (recipe found here) and can’t imagine it’d be anywhere near as good with any of the affordable store bought butter alternatives (like Smart/Earth Balance, etc), not to mention they are absolutely terrible for you. I make a 4x batch of the cultured cashew butter once every ~3-4 months and it’s the equivalent to nearly $100 worth of store bought. I highly, highly recommend that recipe.
This recipe is specifically for an instant pot, and man that little dream machine puts out for this one. If you don’t have an instant pot and want to try this recipe, let me know and I will do some recipe testing for a stove top version. This recipe is important to me. I know the world would be a better place if people ate more beans. They’d be happier because they feel better and are less reliant on a health care system that doesn’t give a fuck about health or prevention and only about extortion. This recipe literally changed the way I eat and the way I look forward to food. I now eat this 5 nights a week, maybe more, and am satisfied in a way that was unimaginable before. I don’t crave random shit, I don’t put any effort into cooking really (especially not compared to what I used to do), and now I just sincerely look forward to eating the same thing almost every night. I can’t over estimate it when I say beans are incredibly good for you. They are the most important dietary predictor in elderly survival. And not only are beans good for us dumb, heartbroken humans, legumes are nitrogen-fixing and therefore good for the soil and plants that surround them.
If you’ve seen my stories on Instagram in the last year you’ve definitely seen a variation of this plate before haha. Alongside these beans you can usually find: rice, sauteed kale topped with hemp seed parm, some variation of macaroni and cheese with chickpea pasta (will be posting the recipe for the one pictured here very soon), fire roasted tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms or a pile of sweet potatoes. The version pictured here checks off 13/24 of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen or about 64% of my nutrient needs for the day so it’s no surprise my body tells my brain to make and eat this meal so frequently.
Instant Pot Smokey Beans
makes about 8 servings
1 pound dry kidney beans (or small red beans)
5-6 cups water (I find the smaller beans use more water)
kosher (or smoked) salt
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1.5 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp smoked paprika (or more to taste)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar or maple
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp cultured cashew butter (or butter/oil of choice) (lately we’ve gone oil/butter free and use 2 tbsp tapioca starch instead)
In saute mode on the instant pot, add the diced onion and garlic with a splash of water and cook for a few minutes. Add the water, beans, salt, liquid smoke, soy sauce and spices. Pressure cook for 50 minutes, then manually release the pressure. Hit saute and program it for 15 minutes, then stir in the sugar and apple cider vinegar. At the end of the 15 minutes, if the cooking liquids have turned into a nice, thickened sauce then add your butter. If it’s still a bit watery, saute to reduce it further until thickened.
Since we try to eat as little unnecessary oil as possible, when reheating we add a few splashes of water to the hot skillet, then the beans.