Recipe A Day #23: Easy Marinated White Bean Casserole

This easy, healthy and hilariously cheap recipe costs less than 40c (!!) a serving. The deeper I get into this 30 day trial of trying new recipes, the more I can clearly see: there's literally an unlimited supply of recipes out there that can simply make you laugh out loud at how good and cheap they are.

Also, we've got a bonus protip in today's post on how to do a conversion of dried beans to canned beans, as well as the reverse: how to convert an amount of canned beans to an equivalent amount of dried beans. Read on to see.

Easy Marinated White Bean Casserole

2 cups dried white beans
Water, for soaking, and then more water for cooking the beans
2 bay leaves

¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup vinegar
4-5 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, optional
salt and plenty of black pepper, to taste

1) Cook the dried beans: soak overnight in a large pot in plenty of water, drain, then add new water and bring to a boil. Simmer with bay leaves for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours, until beans are done and just beginning to break up. Drain beans, remove bay leaves, and place beans into a casserole dish.

2) Meanwhile, combine all the other ingredients into a marinade. Pour over beans, combine well, and then refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Can be served warmed or cold.

Serves 8-10.

Recipe Notes:
1) Canned beans vs dried: The most obvious time-saving recipe adaptation here would be to use canned beans in lieu of dried. Feel free! But there is a texture difference between dried and canned beans and honestly, I think I'd prefer doing this recipe "the hard way" and using dried. But feel free to try it either way.

2) Dried beans to canned beans conversion: Okay, which brings us to our next point: How do you know how many canned beans to use to equate to, say, 1 cup of dried beans?

It's easy: 1 cup of dried beans yields about 3 cups beans once cooked. This equates to two standard 14.5 ounce cans of canned beans. Therefore, our formula for conversion looks like this:

1 14.5-ounce can of beans = ½ cup dried beans = 1.5 cups cooked beans.
2 14.5-ounce cans of beans = 1 cup dried beans = 3 cups cooked beans.

Thus, to make today’s recipe, you would use four 14.5-ounce cans of beans in place of two cups of dried beans. Simple!

3) Spicing variations: Feel free to make a spicy version (add an extra 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon of Tabasco or other hot sauce, depending on your masochism), or to play with other spice combinations. In place of the spicing mix above of basil/oregano/tarragon you could substitute a teaspoon each of thyme and black pepper, or for the daring, an electric yellow, middle eastern version: 1 teaspoon cumin, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon turmeric.

4) Cost per serving:

2 cups beans: 1.49
oil: 50c
vinegar: 10c
spices: 20c
garlic: 15c
parsley: 50c

Total: About $2.94, or less than 40c per serving.

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Marcia said...

This looks delicious! At least 1/3 of the cost there is the olive oil!

Daniel said...

Nah, more like 1/5. ;) Funny: I was wondering if there might be a way to get that specific ingredient cost down--perhaps by substituting a lower-cost oil?--but maybe with a 40c per serving cost I can let it slide this time.