Several years ago, I discovered using bean flour. It sounds rather strange, I know, but once you get used to using it, you will find many creative uses for it.
Making and Using Bean Flour
Bean flour can be obtained in many different ways. You can find it at a natural food store, order it from Amazon, order it from Azure Standard, or you can even mill your own. Of course, milling your own, is by far the most cost-effective way, if you already own a grain mill. My mill attachment is on a Champion and it is capable of milling beans, so this is what I use. I have also bought it from Azure Standard, as part of my monthly co-op order. Whether you are buying dried beans and grinding them or buying the flour already ground, it is a staple that I keep on hand.
I store my flour in the refrigerator, just to prolong the life of it and keep it fresh.
If you grind up a white type of bean (small navy or lima), you will get a white looking flour. This flour is excellent for thickening soups or making your own “cream” soups. I will be sharing a recipe next week with you on making a Chicken/Rice Crockpot Soup and using the bean flour as the thickener. It is excellent for this purpose. You can also make up any “cream” soup using the white bean flour. Here is the recipe:
- 2 cups stock (this can be chicken, vegetable, or beef stock)
- 1/3 cup white bean flour
Place stock in a saucepan and add in bean flour, mixing with a whisk. Simmer on low until thickened. Makes the equivalent of 2 cans of cream soup. This flour can be used right away or can be cooled and refrigerated and used in any recipe calling for “cream of” soup.
- If you use chicken stock, this will be comparable to Cream of Chicken Soup.
- If you are needing Cream of Mushroom, you can use beef stock and add in small pieces of mushrooms.
- For any other cream soup, like Cream of Celery, you can use vegetable or chicken stock and add in small pieces of diced celery.
It is very versatile and can be switched up according to your tastes and need.
Dried Pinto Bean Flour
Just recently I have also discovered using the dried pinto bean, also. These can be also ground into flour and used as instant refried beans. I found this recipe in the Country Beans cookbook. You can use the beans in a one to one ratio, but this will produce a thicker consistency. I use this recipe:
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup pinto bean flour
Bring water to a boil and whisk in bean flour. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring.
This recipe can be used in place of your “canned refried beans” that you buy in the store. You can use it for burritos, or taco dips (with taco seasoning) or wherever it calls for refried beans.
I have also used the pinto bean flour in making a taco dip. I used the recipe above and then I added in taco seasoning to taste. Spread the cooled bean/spice mixture onto a large platter. Add a layer of sour cream and a layer of salsa. Shred up lettuce and cheese to add on top. Serve with tortilla chips.
If you have questions about using bean flour, please let me know! I hope that you will be inspired to try these, as they are an excellent way to stretch your grocery dollars!
Recipes Using Bean Flour
For the second half of this blog post, we are exploring a few dishes you can make and use homemade bean flour as the thickener. These recipes had originally called for flour as the thickener, but the bean flour is easily substituted and provides a healthier alternative. (and gluten free!)
The bean flour that I used as a thickener is from white type beans (great northern or lima beans). There is no bean taste to adding in these as thickeners and it is never lumpy, but rather very smooth. These recipes are both made in the crockpot, but probably could be made on the stove top. I just generally like putting everything together first thing in the morning and then forgetting about it until supper time.
Crockpot Chicken Rice Soup
- 6 T. butter
- 3 T. diced onion
- 7 c. chicken broth
- 2 c. cooked diced chicken (or turkey)
- 1 c. brown rice or wild rice blend
- 2 c. diced carrots
- 1/3 c. white bean flour
Place in crock pot on low for 4 -6 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Turn to "keep warm" setting and add in:
1 c. milk (can add in more, depending on consistency that you like)
2 c. shredded cheese
Serve when cheese is melted.
Crockpot Cheeseburger Soup
- 1 lb. browned hamburger
- 3/4 c. diced onion
- 3/4 c. shredded carrots
- 3/4 c. diced celery
- 1 t. basil
- 1/4 t. parsley
- 4 T. butter
- 4 c. chicken broth
- 4 c. diced potatoes
- 1/4 c. white bean flour
- 1/4 t. pepper
Place in crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until all vegetables are tender.
Turn to "keep warm" setting and add in:
8 ounces shredded cheese
1 1/2 c. milk (can add in more, depending on the consistency you like)
Serve after cheese has melted. Can add in 1/4 c. sour cream right before serving.
I hope this provides you with some inspiration for using bean flours. They are an excellent substitute for flour used as a thickener in soups or gravies. If you have questions about using beans or the bean flour, please let us know.
Catch up on all the Rice N Beans articles that we’ve posted
Until next time, Julie
Julie is Merissa’s mom and she’s committed to living a frugal and simple lifestyle. Julie grows her own herbs in her garden and enjoys making things at home. You can now find her home remedies and ideas here at Little House Living.
This recipe about making bean flour was originally posted on Little House Living in January 2012 and has been updated as of January 2020.