Should you use dried beans or cooked beans? There are many types of beans and pulses to buy, both cooked in a can and dried. But which are better value, and is there a difference?
As a general rule of thumb, when dried beans are cooked, they increase in weight by 2 1/2 times. So 100g dried beans becomes 250g cooked beans. Cost wise dried beans are cheaper than canned beans. For example, 500g dried kidney beans costs £1.10 and a 410g tin of kidney beans is 55p. If you multiply the 500g dried beans by 2 1/2, you get 1,250g for £1.10. Three tins of tinned beans will give you 1,230g for £1.65.
Dried beans do however need soaking, often overnight, so they are not ideal for a quick meal you want ready in 30 minutes. Use whichever suits your needs best. Italian Bean and Pasta Soup is a recipe where I do use dried beans, and generally I use tinned elsewhere.
Having said all that, I do always use dried lentils. They cook really quickly and do not need pre soaking, and are quite a handy ingredient to have in the kitchen. Lentil bolognaise is a really quick and easy alternative to meat bolognaise.