Recipes using red kidney beans

Red kidney beans are a great source of protein (8.5 grams in a cup), dietary fibre, and a wide variety of essential micro-nutrients. They are fat free and make an ideal ingredient in a diabetic’s diet. So how do you get them into your stomach? … here are a few easy but delicious and nutritious recipes.

Red kidney beans come in three basic forms … fresh, dried and canned. In the supermarket you are unlikely to be able to find fresh beans but should not have problem in finding dried and canned beans.

Caution … raw kidney beans contain large amounts of phytohemagglutinin, a toxic protein that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. You can only get rid of this toxin by soaking the beans in water for at least 5 hours (or overnight, preferably) and throwing out the water, and then boiling the beans in fresh water for at least ten minutes at 1000C (2120F). Rest assured that properly prepared red kidney beans are safe to eat and very nutritious.

How to rehydrate red kidney beans

When you buy dried kidney beans, you have to rehydrate them before you can cook them. There are several ways you can rehydrate dried beans all of which are very easy to do but take a bit of time. The only equipment you need is a stockpot.

A stockpot is a wide pot with a flat bottom, straight sides, a wide opening to the full diameter of the pot, two handles on the sides, and a lid with a handle on top.

Dried kidney beans come from a farm so they are likely to need a good clean out before you start rehydrating them … lay them out on a flat surface such as a large tray and remove any foreign matter or shrivelled beans. Once you have finished cleaning them, they’ll be ready for soaking.

When soaking, use approximately 10 cups of water for 450 grams (1 pound) of dried kidney beans.

Slow soak … this method will take 8 hours or more but it is very thorough:

  • Put the beans into the stockpot with the water
  • Cover the pot
  • Place the pot in the refrigerator and leave it there overnight or longer (minimum of 8 hours)
  • Pour out the water and rinse the beans properly in fresh water

Flatulence-free slow soak … according to the Mayo Clinic this method will eliminate 90% of the indigestible fibres (alpha-galactosides) that cause flatulence when you eat red kidney beans:

  • Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
  • Put the beans into the boiling water
  • Bring to the boil again and boil for three more minutes
  • Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature overnight, ie a minimum of 8 hours
  • Pour out the water and rinse the beans thoroughly in fresh water

Both these methods take a lot of time to complete. Here are two quicker ways to rehydrate the beans.

Hot soak … this way will take about 3 hours:

  • Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
  • Put the beans into the boiling water
  • Bring to the boil again and then remove from the heat
  • Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours
  • Pour out the water and thoroughly rinse the beans in fresh water

Quick soak … this will take a bit over one hour overall

  • Bring the water in the stockpot to the boil
  • Put the beans to the boiling water
  • Bring to the boil again and boil for three more minutes
  • Cover the stockpot tightly and allow it to stand at room temperature for one hour
  • Pour out the water and thoroughly rinse the beans in fresh water

How to prepare canned red kidney beans

As stated in my previous article Why you should eat red kidney beans, you may use canned (tinned) beans which have already been cooked. The only drawback is that tinned beans have a much higher sodium content as salt is added as a preservative during canning.

You may be able find low sodium varieties. If not, you can drain and rinse the beans thoroughly using a colander under free-flowing cold water … this will get rid of up to 40% of the sodium content.

But note that draining and rinsing canned beans can remove other micro-nutrients, such as the water-soluble B vitamins or vitamin C. You can get around this by adding other healthy foods, such as carrots, onions, bell peppers and celery, to your meal to boost its nutritional value.

Recipes for meals with red kidney beans

Red kidney beans are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of prepared foods and meals, such as:

  • Soups and broths
  • Salads
  • Hummus
  • Burgers
  • Curries

Here are a few recipes I have tested myself. They are all highly nutritious and easy to do, though the last one is a trifle complex and requires a bit of work.

Red kidney bean broths and soups

Broth (aka bouillon) is a savoury liquid made of water in which bones, meat, or vegetables have been simmered. Soup is a broth to which other ingredients, vegetables, meat or fish, have been added.

The secret in creating delicious broths and soups is in the judicious choosing of ingredients. Kidney beans can add nutrition and flavour to any broth or soup. Just throw them in.

Here’s a slightly complex Red Kidney Bean & Vegetable soup, enough for four people:

What you’ll need to make red kidney bean and vegetable soup:

  • 1x tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1x yellow onion, chopped
  • 1x garlic clove, minced
  • 2x carrots, chopped
  • 2x teaspoons of sodium-free chili powder
  • 1x teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 4x cups of low-sodium low-fat chicken OR vegetable broth
  • 2x 425-gram (15 ounces) tins (cans) of low-sodium kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1x cup of frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1/4x teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1x 410-gram (14.5 ounce) tin (can) of low-sodium stewed tomatoes

You’ll also need a large stock pot.

How to make red kidney bean and vegetable soup

  1. Put the stewed tomatoes and one can of kidney beans in a blender or food processor
  2. Puree until smooth and set aside
  3. Heat the large pot over medium heat, and warm up the olive oil
  4. Add the chopped yellow onion, minced garlic and chopped carrots
  5. Cook, stirring as necessary, until tender (about 5 minutes)
  6. Add the chili powder and ground cumin and stir constantly for about one minute
  7. Add the chicken or vegetable broth, the second can of kidney beans, frozen whole kernel corn and the freshly ground black pepper, and bring the lot back up to the boil
  8. Add the pureed tomatoes and kidney beans (from steps 1]and 2) to the soup and bring the lot back up to the boil again
  9. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Cool and enjoy !

Note … you can tweak this recipe as you see fit and to taste by varying the ingredients, adding or reducing them.

Red kidney bean salads

Salads made with beans are very dense in macro- and micro-nutrients relative to the calories you get from eating them. Creating really tasty salads can range from quick and simple to highly complex.

Here’s a simple one that will take less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Red kidney bean quick salad

This high protein salad can be eaten as a main course, minor course or a side-dish. And it would be perfect in your lunchbox. It’s enough for two people.

What you’ll need for the salad:

  • 400g (14oz) of canned kidney beans
  • 200g (7oz) of sweet yellow corn
  • Half a cucumber
  • A good handful of fresh parsley
  • One spring onion
  • 100g of feta cheese

You’ll also need a large bowl.

How to make the kidney bean salad

  1. Defrost the corn if it was frozen and put it in the bowl
  2. Rinse and drain the kidney beans and add to the bowl
  3. Dice the cucumber into small pieces and add to the bowl
  4. Chop the parsley finely and add to the bowl
  5. Chop the onion into tiny pieces and add to the bowl
  6. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl well

The salad is now ready waiting for the dressing.

What you’ll need for the kidney bean salad dressing:

  • Half a lime
  • 2x tbsp of olive oil
  • 1x tsp of mustard powder
  • 1x tsp of cumin
  • 1/2x tsp of dried oregano
  • 1x tsp of honey
  • Pepper to taste

You’ll also need a small bowl.

How to make and add the dressing for the kidney bean salad

  1. Add all the ingredients into the small bowl one after the other
  2. Stir well until mixed thoroughly
  3. Check the dressing for taste and when satisfied:
  4. Add the dressing to the salad
  5. Stir it all together well
  6. Add the feta cheese by crumbling it over the salad
  7. Now give it a final good stir

That’s it … eat and enjoy

But note that if you keep it in the ‘fridge for a few hours it will taste even better as the salad absorbs the flavours of the dressing. It will taste even better the next day.

You will find hundreds, if not thousands, of really terrific recipes for salads on the internet.

Red kidney bean hummus

This classic of the Middle East is usually made with chickpeas. There are many ways in which you can vary the basic recipe. Using red kidney beans instead of chickpeas results in a very creamy hummus that tastes absolutely delicious. And it is a cinch to make.

What you’ll need for the red bean hummus:

  • 1x can (400g/14oz) of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1x clove garlic
  • 2x tsp olive oil
  • 1x tsp water
  • 1/2x tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt 
  • Perhaps some black pepper to taste

You also need a food processor or blender.

How to make the red kidney bean hummus

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in the food processor until smooth
  2. Pour into a bowl
  3. Cover and store it in the ‘fridge for a few hours before eating it

Note … it will keep well in the ‘fridge up to a week.

Red kidney bean burgers

These red kidney bean burgers are highly nutritious … full of protein (about 7%) and dietary fibre (another 7%) and with minimal sugar, they are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and fat-free, making them perfect for diabetics.

And best of all, these burgers are really easy to make.

What you’ll need for the red kidney bean burgers:

  • 1x can (400g/14oz) of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2x tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1x tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1x tsp garlic powder
  • 1x tsp onion powder
  • 1/3x cup gluten-free quick oats

How to make the red kidney bean burgers

  1. Preheat your oven to 200oC (400oF)
  2. Spray a baking tray with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper, and put it aside
  3. Mash beans thoroughly in mixing bowl until there are no whole beans left
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until they are well mixed
  5. Divide mixture into 4 parts of approximately equal size and roll them into balls, first making sure your hands are clean
  6. Place the burger balls on the baking sheet, and flatten them with the palm of your hand
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, and then turn to bake on the other side for another 10 minutes


Red kidney bean curry

Curry, that great favourite of the English palate, originated in India and is a triumph of the art of Indian cuisine.

Eating red kidney beans is a great way to get protein into your diet and for that purpose, this curry is ideal. It is a delightfully creamy comfort dish and is suitable for vegans and diabetics. You can vary the spices to suit your taste buds and you surely will once you have made this curry a few times. This recipe is quite thick; if you prefer a more liquid curry, just add more water.

Note … the red kidney beans soak up all the spices if the curry is kept in a ‘fridge over night for consumption the next day. This recipe makes enough for two people.

What you’ll need for the red kidney bean curry:

  • 1x cup of dried kidney Beans
  • 1x onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2x chopped green chili
  • 2x tsp canola oil
  • 1x tsp cumin seeds
  • 1x bay leaf
  • 1/2x cinnamon stick
  • 1/2x tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2x tsp minced ginger
  • 1x tsp coriander powder
  • 1x tsp curry powder (garam masala)
  • 1 tsp paprika or red chili powder
  • 1/2x tsp turmeric
  • 1x cup tomato puree
  • 4x cups water (or more for a thinner curry)
  • fresh coriander as garnish

You will also need a pressure cooker with a good whistle on it.

Note … you can use canned red kidney beans and skip the first step below.

How to make the red kidney bean curry

There’s a bit of work involved in making this curry compared to the other recipes in this article … but the effort is worth it.

  1. Soak the dried kidney beans in a stockpot with enough water overnight (minimum 6 hours) … skip this step if you are using canned red kidney beans (thoroughly cleaned)
  2. Put the beans into a pressure cooker along with 3 cups of water
  3. Stir and cook on high for 2-3 whistles
  4. Set the heat to medium and cook for another 10-15 minutes until soft
  5. Discard the water in which the beans were cooked
  6. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat, and add cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick to the hot oil
  7. Sauté for a minute or so
  8. Add the finely chopped onions and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until translucent
  9. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the rough smell goes away
  10. Now add the green chilli, tomato puree and mix well
  11. Cook for 10 minutes, or until tomato puree is cooked properly
  12. Now add the coriander powder, red chilli powder and curry powder and mix well
  13. Cook for 2 minutes
  14. Then add the prepared kidney beans and mix all together
  15. Add 1.5 cups of water (or more) to the curry
  16. Cover the pan and cook the kidney beans curry for 10 minutes on medium-low heat
  17. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately with rice or Indian roti

Bonne Appetit !!!

Author: Paul Kennedy

Paul D Kennedy is a qualified accountant and an international business consultant who used his skills as a researcher to uncover the mysteries of type 2 diabetes and gain control over his health and wellbeing.

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