Why Canned Beans Reign Supreme Over Their Dried Counterparts

The range of canned beans available at the supermarket is enormous. From red kidney, chickpea, and black-eyed to pinto, cannellini, navy, and more, there's a canned bean for every meal, mood, and moment. And the truth is, these tinned bean varieties are often better than their dried counterparts in a myriad of ways.

Dried beans require a long soak, preferably overnight, to make them easier to digest and reduce cooking times. The cooking process is lengthy and can take more than a few hours, depending on the type of bean you're using. Indeed, according to BBC Good Food, dried kidney beans need to be boiled on high in fresh water for at least 20 minutes before use or they can be poisonous.

Canned beans on the other hand are ultra-convenient because they don't require soaking or cooking beforehand, which is an absolute boon if you don't meal-prep in advance of dinner and need to save time. Open a can of cooked garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) and you're mere moments away from enjoying homemade hummus, a mid-week veggie curry, or vegan sandwich filling. Choose dried ones on the other hand, and you won't be eating any of those magic meals until tomorrow at the very earliest.

What are the other advantages of canned beans?

As canned beans don't need a soaking you can add them to stews, soups, casseroles, and tacos to bulk up your meals in minutes. Got some unexpected guests? Add more black beans to your Tuesday night chili, toss chickpeas into your tarka daal, or pile extra refried beans onto your burrito bowls. Beans are high in satiating protein too, which will keep everyone fuller for longer. In fact, a single cup of kidney beans has 15 grams of protein. So, what's the upshot? Much like Tom Cruise, canned beans are always pumped and ready for action.

As mentioned earlier, tins of beans are also useful for those cooks who like to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to dinnertime. Having cans of beans in the pantry means you can use your culinary imagination to make something new every night with little pre-planning. They're extremely versatile and can even be added to sweet treats, like brownies, to pump up the protein intake.

Aren't dried beans cheaper than canned varieties?

Although it's true that dried beans are cheaper than canned beans, you will need to spend time and money on cooking them on the stovetop. So, it may work out better to use canned beans overall, depending on how often you use them as a core ingredient in your cooking repertoire. They also have a long shelf life, so stocking up is a great idea to guarantee you're never left with a growling stomach when you're running low on fresh ingredients.

Finally, canned chickpeas provide you with another fantastic ingredient known as aquafaba. This is the name for the liquid in the can that's perfect for making vegan chocolate mousse and meringue. Aquafaba can also be used to make nougat, fudge, marshmallow fluff, and buttercream, so don't discard it. Set it aside in the fridge for later and use it to make a post-bean dessert course.