Today’s recipe is simple and delicious! I’ve been hoarding Rancho Gordo heirloom beans from being in their bean club the past year. There are instructions on how to cook them in your slow cooker or Instant Pot, but you could certainly cook them stove-top as well.
What are heirloom beans? Like heirloom tomatoes they are varieties that have fallen out of favor because they weren’t as easy to grow or didn’t ship well. That’s how we got those flavorless tomatoes we see in the grocery all year round. (Yuck!)
The beans, like their tomato cousins, tend to be more flavorful and fun to cook with and cost more per pound as well.
I used some San Franciscano beans from my bean stash. Here’s what Rancho Gordo has to say about these heirloom beans in particular:
“Pinto flavor with a denser texture, these heirlooms from Mexico have hints of coffee and chocolate. San Franciscano beans produce a dark, rich bean broth. Suggestions: Refried beans, soups, pot beans, chili, casseroles”
I cook mine with various chile powders and some Mexican Oregano, but honestly they would be good plain or with a variety of other spice combinations. If you’re interested in the difference between Mexican oregano and Mediterranean oregano read this article.
I served mine over steamed rice, but they would be at home in a burrito, over quinoa, or even just in a bowl. I topped mine with my famous cauliflower queso, salsa, and a little chopped cilantro.
If you don’t happen to have fancy heirloom beans hanging out in your pantry, you can still make these. The cooking method and spices work just as good on plain ole’ black or pinto beans.
Plus if you’re on a tight budget heirlooms can be expensive. My favorite thing to do is ask for them for presents, and a hint for the bean club will keep you in fancy beans for a whole year!
But if you do have some fancy beans that you’ve been saving, get them out and make them for dinner! Don’t forget to look through The Great Vegan Bean Book if you have it. It’s a whole book of innovative bean recipes that I wrote that has soy-free, gluten-free, and oil-free options for most of the recipes.
Heirloom Bean: San Franciscano Beans Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
- 1 pound San Fransisco Beans (or black beans or other heirloom)
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano (or regular if that’s what you have)
- 1 teaspoon chilie powder (like New Mexican or other mild chilie)
- 1 teaspoon jalapeño powder
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon guajillo chile powder (or ancho)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon tomato powder (or 2 teaspoons tomato paste)
- salt, to taste (optional)
Add all the first cook ingredients to your 4 to 5 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours, or until the beans are soft.
Before serving stir in the tomato powder and salt if using.
Add all the first cook ingredients to your 3 or 6 quart Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, carefully release the pressure manually. Then check the beans to see if they are done. If they are still hard cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the beans are soft.