Adzuki beans (aka aduki beans) are small red beans that are most typically used in Japanese cooking. They are often featured in sweet recipes such as red bean paste. Adzuki beans also make an appearance in macrobiotic cooking.I like aduki beans because they do not require soaking and because they don’t take all that long to cook compared to other bean varieties. If you can’t find them, though, feel free to use pinto or another type of beans instead. This recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond. - WinnieAb
Test Kitchen Notes
Most beans need strong aromatics and bold spices to make them palatable. Not so with adzukis. This recipe uses them to best advantage, by showcasing their lovely flavor. The beans, while cooking, create their own sauce that’s mildly seasoned with bacon. WinnieAb suggests that you then add garlic powder and chili powder, but says you can use other spices, if you prefer. I added a touch of toasted cumin and one black cardamom pod instead, shortly before the beans were done cooking. Delicious!! Thank you, WinnieAb, for my new go-to “basic bean” recipe! - AntoniaJames —AntoniaJames
4 cups dried aduki beans (or pinto or another type of beans)
4 slices preservative-free bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces- optional; bacon lends a nice smoky saltiness but you can leave out for vegetarian beans
If not using aduki beans, it's best to soak your beans overnight in a large pot covered with water. After they have soaked, drain them and rinse several times. If you are using the aduki beans, just go ahead and rinse them.
Place rinsed beans and bacon in a large pot on the stove. Pour water over the beans to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Skim any foam that might rise to the top while cooking, and add additional water (or stock), if there does not seem to be enough liquid.
Cook until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours (or as long as 3 hours for pinto and other beans).
5. Add the sea salt (don't add too much if you've used stock) and pepper, plus the seasonings I mentioned (or others that you like) to taste. You can serve these in whole wheat or corn tortillas with the toppings of your choice: think grated raw cheese, fresh salsa, guacamole, organic sour cream, etc. Or have some in a bowl with a side of cornbread. Fresh chopped tomato, cucumber, red pepper, and sliced avocado are also wonderful additions.
My favorite healthy way to eat these, though, is this: chop some collard greens very fine, add some olive oil and fresh lime juice, and mix with the beans, veggies, and salsa. Top with some green onions and minced cilantro.
I grew up in a restaurant family (my parents owned the now closed Quilted Giraffe in NYC) and I've always loved to cook.
My interest in the connection between food and health led me to pursue a graduate degree in naturopathic medicine. I don't practice medicine anymore; I have a blog called Healthy Green Kitchen that I started in May of 2009 and I wrote a book called One Simple Change that will be published in January, 2014.
I live in upstate New York with my family and many pets.