Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Creamy Navy Beans with Baby Bok Choy, Waterless Potatoes (No Added Fat)

I have never cooked with navy beans and decided to give them a try tonight. I had dried beans and should have soaked them overnight, but the pressure cooker is quite forgiving and can generally cook beans even if they haven't been presoaked by just adding a few minutes of cooking time.

  • 1 cup Navy beans
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/8 t turmeric
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • (Optional) 2 small 1" squares of kombu
  • (Optional) 1/8 cup grape juice
  • Water (boiling or not) to just cover dried navy beans (approx. 1/8 or 1/4 cup)
  • Medium baby bok choy, cut into 3/8" pieces going up the stems (widest part of stems halved) and leaves
  • Small shallot cut into 1/4" cubes
  • 1T miso
  • 2T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2t fresh squeezed lime juice


  1. I poured at least 3 cups of boiling water over the beans and let them soak, covered. Ideally, I should have soaked the beans overnight, but 1 1/2 hours was what I afforded today.
  2. I drained and rinsed the beans, then added the cumin, turmeric, and bouillon cube. My Dad doesn't eat garlic, but some garlic would have been good and would have come out tasting mild. I chose not to add any onion as the onion would not have much flavor left after being pressure cooked for long.
  3. I have some good organic grape juice open and thought it would be interesting to try adding a bit to see what kind of nuanced grape flavor might come through - really, wine would have been better. I added the grape juice and then enough water to just cover the beans.
  4. Navy beans take 25-30 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot if they haven't been soaked and 20-25 minutes if they have been; I set the pressure cooker to 25 minutes and cooked on high pressure in my Instant Pot.
  5. I let the pot sit for a while and then slowly let out remaining pressure so I could open it. The beans were tasty and well cooked but not yet mushy - yay!
  6. I added the bok choy, shallot, miso, nutritional yeast, oregano, and lime juice, then mixed. We didn't have gas problems (too many beans at once can give one gas), but it's a good idea to include ginger when eating beans, but I simply forgot - a bit of ginger would have been good now, as well as some when the beans had cooked. The dish was ready to be served!
I also made a waterless dish by cooking potatoes, cut into 3/4" pieces, 1/2" chunks of onion, and 3/8" slices of carrot in a small Saladmaster stock pan for about 20m. I served with a bit of lavender salt. Hemp seed-topped locally grown tomato slices completed the meal.


My wife and I loved the main course! I was surprised at how creamy and tasty the beans were. I was happy with the level of spice and flavor that I had added. My daughter ate up her whole serving and said that she liked the beans, and my Dad seemed to enjoy them, too. I was okay with the potato, but my wife would have preferred more flavor, such as turmeric and maybe garam masala.

Ideas for the future

The nutritional yeast was a really nice inclusion with the beans, especially with their creamy consistency. I lucked out and added just the right amount - more and it would have been too much. I should explore using nutritional yeast with other bean dishes. I couldn't taste the contribution of the grape juice at all, so can skip it (or wine) in similar dishes in the future.

A little garlic would be good with the beans. Kale or other leafy greens cooked for just a minute or two under pressure would be welcome in the main course. I wonder if a bit of marinara or diced tomato would make for a nice addition to the beans, perhaps serving the result as a cold salad. I should explore more potato dishes with additional flavors added.

I had no idea that navy beans were so creamy and tasty - I still prefer cranberry beans, but should make navy beans a staple as well in my house! I'll bet the cooked navy beans would be good to form into patties and sautéed.

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