Did she say bean water? Yes, bean water is how I refer to the leftover liquid after I’ve cooked beans in my slow cooker or pressure cooker. Every week, we do at least one pot of beans, to provide the staple ingredient (beans) for many meals for the family.
Dried beans, bought in bulk, are among the cheapest and most nutritious foods we can buy. Now, that weekly practice of ours has yielded several more meals that I had never thought of before — using the bean water to make wonderfully delicious dishes!
This week, our beans of choice were black beans, and thanks to this article, I saved the bean water and used it as the basis for a huge pot of Tarascan Bean and Tomato Soup. It’s a recipe I first started making in my 20s, because I wanted to find something to use up the bacon grease that I save.
The soup takes on the flavors of the bacon and it’s absolutely delicious and Whole30 compliant.
Bean water can also be saved for use as a base in vegetable stock and in soups like minestrone. Seems there’s a bit of a craze out there for bean water, especially chick pea water, which has the official name of “aquafaba.” Chick peas, or garbanzo beans, can yield a liquid that is a great replacement for egg whites and even meringues can be made from them. So, get creative, learn about aquafaba, don’t pour your bean water down the sink. Use it up to flavor your favorite meals.
I’m feeling so very proud that the Tarascan soup which I love has 3 ingredients in it that many people would normally toss: bacon fat, vegetable scrap broth, and bean water.
Here’s the recipe for it, which is based on one found in my favorite Mexican cookbook, The Cuisines of Mexico, by Diane Kennedy.
4 Cups Bean Water (pinto beans or black beans)
2 Tomatoes or 8 oz Canned Tomatoes
2 Cloves Garlic
Half an Onion
4 Tablespoons Bacon Grease
1 Cup Vegetable Broth (or Chicken or Pork Broth)
Cilantro for garnish
Salt and Pepper
Blend the tomatoes, garlic and onion in a blender or Vitamix until a soupy puree. Set Aside.
Place the bacon grease in a soup pot and put the heat on high to melt it. Add the tomato mixture and mix by hand as it cooks for about 5 minutes. Gradually add the bean water and bring the soup to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the broth and allow the soup to cook for another 10 minutes on low, until your soup reaches the thickness you’d like. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the soup and garnish with cilantro, paprika, shredded cheese or sour cream to taste.