Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vegetarian Cowboy Beans-From Scratch-In the Slow Cooker

Earlier this week I confessed to having three cases of Hershey Bars in my food storage. (Although the supplies are shrinking fast since I discovered those cookie bars below. Send reinforcements!) It's not my fault, really. I have a gigantic extended family, and when we meet up we like to go up into the mountains and eat truckloads of smores. So I have to be equally prepared for such merriment as I would be for say an earthquake or a flood or a tornado. (If anything like the aforementioned ever happens, you're all invited to come on over and play Uno and eat Hershey Bars with me. ) But I really do have serious food storage that isn't made by Hershey, like beans, pasta, rice, and canned tomatoes, etc. Instead of just letting it sit there and age, we make a point of using it up and buying more. I've been throwing dried beans into the crock pot lately, without even fussing with a pre soak. If there's ever really a crisis, I'll have to go build a teepee and a bonfire or something, but until then, I'm plugging in my slow cooker and letting the electric current make my dinner. These cowboy beans are a close cousin to chili, except for the obvious exclusion of meat and the lighter hand on the spices and heat. They're absolutely just as hearty and delicious, especially with a handful of melted cheese and a wedge of sweet cornbread on the side. Best of all, they're so easy to make and particulary light on the old pocket book. Buy some extra beans to store in your cupboard next to the Hershey Bars, and you'll be all set for whatever comes your way.
Money Saving Tips:
Dried beans won't cost you much more than a $1 a pound-a fabulous bargain for the amount of high fiber nutrition you'll be getting. If you don't have diced tomatoes, use 2 cups of salsa, or a couple of cans of tomato sauce. Vegetarian Cowboy Beans in the Slow Cooker
Estimated Cost: $5.00
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, very finely mined
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, peeled and chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 small minced jalapeno
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cups dried pinto beans
2 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups water
Pour oil into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker; stir, and cook on high for four to six hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve beans with shredded cheese and corn bread if desired.
Next Up:
TWD: Chocolate-Glazed Single Layer Cake


Anonymous said...

Looks Great!! Thanks so much for posting!!

VeggieGirl said...

Haha, no worries about the chocolate stash ;-)

LOOOVELY beans!!

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

I can't wait to try them! :)

Ali said...

More food storage recipes please! Can't get enough practical recipes to use now while rotating my food storage.

Catherine said...

These look delicious and I can't wait to try them. I'm all about the crockpot. Thanks for sharing!

Michal said...

yummy. these look great, and since my kids all love pinto beans, it is a protein source we can all agree on. we'll be trying these on a rainy day--but not until my new oven goes in so that i can have it with the cornbread.:)

Dawn said...

for the longest time your blog was not loading, finally it's up! I guess blogger been freaky like that.
anyway, I just wanted to say that as I child I ate a lot of baked bean sandwiches. for whatever reason I craved them, a lot. ha ha

Mary said...

What a great use for the crock pot.

Emily said...

I just made your old Cowboy Beans recipe last night -- they're great! Now I'll have to give these a try.

One question, though, because I'm paranoid. Do the beans soften even with the tomatoes in the mixture? I tried to make black bean soup once and even after several hours in the crockpot the beans were hard as rocks. My home-ec teacher mom said it was because of the tomatoes in the recipe.

Allie said...

Yumm! I love crock pot recipes thanks for sharing!

Prudy said...

Great question. They do soften, they just take a bit longer. The beans in this recipe won't be mushy; they'll hold their form and still have a teensy bit of bite. You can always put the tomatoes in at the end if you are worried or if you like your beans super soft. I like to cook the tomatoes in with the beans so that they have lots of time to break down into the sauce. Good luck!

MK and Co. said...

That sounds delicious especially alongside a piece of that delicious cornbread recipe you posted a few months ago. I know my family will loves these. Thanks!

Cathy said...

Prudy, I've been excited about this one ever since you told us that it was "next up." And it is everything that I imagined it would be -- easy, delicious-looking, and made from ingredients I already have on hand. I know what's for dinner tomorrow night!

Marjie said...

I learned from hubby's mom: always have a canned ham. It works for unexpected company, or for extended power outages! And you should see my non-perishable storage!

Maria said...

Another reason to get out my slow cooker!

Aggie said...

Love this! Am bookmarking so I can cook up a batch soon! I just ran out of your original cowboy beans from the freezer! ;)

Anonymous said...

I bought a bag of Kidney Beans last week and threw them in the crockpot. When I bought them I was irritated that a CAN of beans is $1. now. I bought the bag, threw it in the crockpot with some water, salt & pepper and got AT LEAST 5 cans worth of beans out of there... the best part... they were fabulous!


wosnes said...

I've been making beans of all kinds in the slow cooker following this method:

I add tomato products and salt during the last two hours of cooking.

If beans remain hard, it can also be because they are old. Old beans just won't soften.

Adrienne said...

Ahhh stored pinto beans. My friend is taking care of her mother-in-law's house while they are on a Church assigment in Brazil. She was cleaning out the billions of kitchen cupboards and crannies and found a bag of pinto beans that had all rotted into a mushy black pulp. Rotate Rotate Rotate!

I wonder how well this recipe freezes...

Prudy said...

Thanks for the good reminder to keep cooking up our food storage! Yikes! What a thing to find in the cupboard!

Bill Bird said...


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to pass along some important information about red kidney beans in your slow-cooker/crockpot. Please research on your own.


Red Kidney Bean Poisoning is an illness caused by a toxic agent, Phytohaemagglutnin (Kidney Bean Lectin). This toxic agent is found in many species of beans, but it is in highest concentration in red kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The unit of toxin measure is the hemagglutinating unit (hau). Raw kidney beans contain from 20,000 to 70,000 hau, while fully cooked beans contain from 200 to 400 hau. White kidney beans, another variety of Phaseolus vulgaris, contain about one-third the amount of toxin as the red variety; broad beans (Vicia faba) contain 5 to 10% the amount that red kidney beans contain.

As few as 4 or 5 beans can bring on symptoms. Onset of symptoms varies from between 1 to 3 hours. Onset is usually marked by extreme nausea, followed by vomiting, which may be very severe. Diarrhea develops somewhat later (from one to a few hours), and some persons report abdominal pain. Some persons have been hospitalized, but recovery is usually rapid (3 - 4 h after onset of symptoms) and spontaneous.

The syndrome is usually caused by the ingestion of raw, soaked kidney beans, either alone or in salads or casseroles. As few as four or five raw beans can trigger symptoms.

Several outbreaks have been associated with "slow cookers" or crock pots, or in casseroles which had not reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy the glycoprotein lectin. It has been shown that heating to 80 degrees C. may potentiate the toxicity five-fold, so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw. In studies of casseroles cooked in slow cookers, internal temperatures often did not exceed 75 degrees C..

All persons, regardless of age or gender, appear to be equally susceptible; the severity is related only to the dose ingested.

No major outbreaks have occurred in the U.S. Outbreaks in the U.K. are far more common, and may be attributed to greater use of dried kidney beans in the U.K., or better physician awareness and reporting.

Prudy said...

YIKES! Remind me to avoid kidney beans. Thanks for the info!

FlipFlop Mom said...

You make me WANT to like beans!!

kazari said...

This looks yummy! I'm always interested in vegetarian bean recipes. thanks for sharing.

Liz said...

I prepared this for dinner yesterday and it is such a great meal! It is quick and easy to assemble, and it cooks away while you're at work. You can't beat that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

They're cooking. My wife absolutely loves the aroma from this dish. And we usually dont like crock pot beans unless they have salty pork. But we recently adopted healthy alternatives. This smells like a good one. Can't wait to serve it.

Anonymous said...

The aroma was wonderful. But I let it cook on high for a few hours and then on low for several more hours. It was "okay" but something was truly missing as far as flavor. I left the corck pot on for the rest of the day and by the next afternoon the beans were darkened. WOW. The flavor showed up. Cook these for 2 days and they will really give you some flavor.

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