I fell in love with a version of this dish when we travelled to Italy for a friend’s wedding many years ago. I was so impressed that the dish contained such a simple combination of ingredients, and yet the flavour was incredible. I have been experimenting with variations on this theme for quite a while now, and have finally arrived on an ingredient list and cooking method that I am really happy with. The directions below are for an Instant Pot, but you could prepare this recipe on a stove top also, cooking the beans for about an hour and a half, and then adjusting your temperature to medium-low for the second part of the recipe. Or use canned beans and skip directly to the second half of the recipe.
I will confess – I adore garlic, and this recipe contains a lot of it! That being said, I don’t find the flavour to be overwhelming; rather it blends together with the nutritional yeast, smoked sea salt and fresh herbs to create a lovely, full flavour. You are, of course, welcome to dial back on the amount of garlic you use, but I would suggest trying the recipe out as written first, to see how you like it.
In addition to being delicious, garlic has many health benefits. It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, and is highly beneficial for cardiovascular health and as a cancer fighter. I like to let my garlic sit for 10 minutes after chopping or crushing it, as this activates the allinaise compound that is beneficial for your health.
This dish works well paired with a rice pilaf and some Cheesy Roasted Broccoli. It also works well paired with Braised Red Cabbage and Celeriac Purée with Mixed Mushroom Gravy for the holidays. I have never been able to wrap my head around the whole Tofurky thing, and I would much prefer to prepare a bean dish instead!
Braised Navy Beans with Garlic and Sage
2 cups dried navy beans, soaked 6+ hours
1 piece kombu
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 head garlic, peeled and crushed
1 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp thinly sliced sage
2 Tbsp thinly sliced chives
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp smoked sea salt
1 tsp sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Finely sliced sage and chives, to garnish
Cover the navy beans with 6 cups water, kombu and a drizzle of olive oil and bring to high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick-release pressure and drain beans. If you don’t have time to soak your beans, you can pressure cook them for 25 minutes instead.
Warm your Instant Pot on saute. Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil in the pot and saute crushed garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add beans to the pot and stir to combine. Add water, nutritional yeast, sage, chives, bay leaf and salt. Set instant pot to saute on low and simmer for 30 mins. Serve immediately topped with an additional drizzle of olive oil, fresh cracked pepper, fresh sage, and chives.