Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans (soaked, gluten-free, vegan)
These Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans are easy, tasty, gluten-free, and vegan and made with soaked beans (Weston A. Price style) for best digestion! They’re a perfect pantry staple side dish for Mexican dishes or vegan/vegetarian dishes!
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I’ve wanted to put my Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans recipe on the blog for for-e-ver!
So, why haven’t I already?
- I got a bad (old) batch of black beans that never cooked properly. I cooked through all 5 pounds of those beans, and every time, the end result was tough, undercooked beans — no matter how long I cooked them!
- Bean recipes just aren’t glorious. There, I said it.
With what’s been going on in our world so far in 2020, bean recipes have gone from the vegan/vegetarian crowd to being pretty universal. Even paleo and keto people are splurging for beans because they’re so darn cheap, convenient, and shelf-stable.
Our family loves Tex-Mex food… and cilantro, lime, and black beans are Tex-Mex staples!
3 Reasons to Choose Dry Black Beans Over Canned Beans
I encourage you to switch from canned beans to dried beans for a few reasons:
First, dried beans are so. much. cheaper. If you’re paying upwards of $2 for a 15-ounce can of organic black beans, you can buy over a pound of organic dried beans for that same amount. And, one pound of dried beans is going to make WAY more than comes in a can!
Second, you can prepare dried beans for best digestion: through soaking or sprouting. I guarantee you canned beans aren’t soaked or sprouted before they’re canned.
Beans are seeds, right? You can plant a dried bean in the ground, and theoretically, it’ll sprout and grow into a new bean plant that produces more beans.
All seeds contain a protective compound known as phytic acid. Phytic acid is good for the seed because it protects it until the seed is ready to sprout and grow into a new plant. But, phytic acid is NOT so good for us humans. (Read more about phytic acid in beans here.)
In fact, not only can our bodies not digest phytic acid, phytic acid also binds to the minerals in our food, like iron, phosphorus, and magnesium, and prevents us from absorbing them.
But, all that is remedied by giving your beans a good, long soak. (Or sprouting them, which I explain how to do here.)
The third reason why dried beans are better?
Less waste. Every empty can goes in the garbage. Tin cans aren’t recyclable, unfortunately.
On the other hand, dried beans can be purchased in bulk and stored in reusable containers, reducing trash and waste!
Why & How to Soak Black Beans
I guarantee you that your great-grandmother cooked dried beans, and when she did, she thought ahead and soaked them for a day or two before cooking.
Why? Because our ancestors knew that soaked beans were easier to digest (ie. less gas and bloating) and soaked beans cook faster and better. If you thought you couldn’t tolerate beans, I can almost guarantee it’s because you were eating canned or unsoaked beans.
So, here’s how you soak black beans:
Place the desired amount of black beans in a large glass bowl.
Cover the beans with water and add enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Yep, the water needs to cover the beans and then go up the bowl another 2 inches to allow the beans to swell, which they do.
Then, cover the bowl or put a lid on it and set it aside on your counter or other room temperature location.
The water gets to work breaking down phytic acid. The longer the beans soak, the more acidic the soaking water becomes, and the more phytic acid is neutralized.
After 24 hours, little white bubbles/foam will begin to form on the surface of the soaking water. This is a great sign!
I always soak my dried black beans for a minimum of 24 hours, but usually 36 to 48 hours.
Ever since I started soaking my beans for a longer amount of time, our family has not had the gas, bloating, and digestive issues caused by eating beans!
How to Cook Black Beans in the Instant Pot
Once soaked, pour the black beans and soaking water into a colander and drain. Rinse the beans with cool water until the water runs clear.
Next, add the soaked beans to your Instant Pot. Once again, add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. The beans will swell a little more during cooking, so this extra water is necessary.
Press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and adjust the time to 9 minutes on high pressure.
When the Instant Pot beeps, let it naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Then, if there is any remaining pressure, release it manually after 10 minutes.
Have you noticed that we haven’t made Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans yet? 😉
I add the cilantro and lime AFTER cooking for best flavor.
So, once the beans are cooked and the pressure is released, then we add the good stuff that transforms them from plain black beans to Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans!
Soaked Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans
Your beans are cooked, now it’s time to add the good stuff!
To the cooked black beans, add 1/3 cup packed chopped cilantro, the juice of 2 limes (add the zest too, if you like it extra lime-y!), some salt (to taste), cumin, and garlic powder.
These Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans are a quick and easy side dish for all your Tex-Mex meals, like tacos and enchiladas.
Serve them with Mexican Rice, make them into bean burritos, add them to a taco salad!
We love making Tex-Mex bowls with crispy potatoes, taco meat, dairy-free queso, and these Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans.
Recipe FAQs & Subs
Can I add the cilantro, lime, and seasonings before cooking the beans?
Add things like fresh cilantro and fresh lime juice AFTER pressure cooking because 9 minutes under pressure is WAY too long for a delicate fresh herb like cilantro and turns lime juice bitter.
Can I use dried cilantro?
Ew, no. 😛 Dried cilantro isn’t even on the same planet as fresh cilantro. If you can’t find fresh cilantro, leave it out. The lime, cumin, garlic, and salt will still make tasty Instant Pot Black Beans!
Can I freeze these beans?
Absolutely! Portion them into quart-size zip-top bags, squeeze out as much air as possible, and label with the contents and date. They’ll be fine in the freezer for a couple of months.
My beans didn’t cook properly/are still hard after cooking… what’s up?
Ah, welcome to the frustration that is trying to cook old beans. This exact thing happened to me over and over until I realized that I must’ve bought old beans. Old beans just don’t cook properly.
The soaking water looks like it has a little bit of mold on it. What should I do?
Are you sure it’s mold and not the white bubbles/foam? If it’s green or blue and fuzzy, it’s mold. Use a spoon to scrape it off the top. You’re still going to drain the soaking water, rinse the beans really well, and pressure cook them — so there’s no chance of mold in your finished beans.
I heard that you’re supposed to add apple cider vinegar, whey, or baking soda to soak beans.
I’ve tried all of those to get a “better soak”, and they caused my beans to stay hard no matter how long I cooked them. I use plain water and rely on the bubbles to tell me that the phytic acid is being neutralized. I’ve been soaking my beans like this for YEARS — and they’ve never caused my family gas or bloating!
Here’s the recipe!
Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans (soaked, gluten-free, vegan)
These Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Black Beans are easy, tasty, gluten-free, and vegan and made with soaked beans (Weston A. Price style) for best digestion! They're a perfect pantry staple side dish for Mexican dishes or vegan/vegetarian dishes!
- 2cupsdried black beans + water to cover the beans by 2 inchessoak beans for 24-48 hours, drain, rinse, then cook
- watershould cover the soaked beans in the Instant Pot by 2 inches
- 1-1/2teaspoonsaltto taste
- 1teaspoongarlic powder
- 1/3cupfresh cilantrofinely chopped
After the beans have soaked and have been drained and rinsed, add them to the stainless steel insert of your Instant Pot.
Add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot, checking the seal and closing the vent.
Press the "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" button and adjust the time to 9 minutes on high pressure. When it beeps, allow the pot to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure.
Add the salt, garlic powder, cumin, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. If extra lime flavor is desired, add lime zest as well. Stir to combine.
Serve and enjoy!
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