American three-bean salad/Photos by Laura Pazzaglia

The guest post on pressure cooking eggs was so popular, I’ve asked the blogger Laura Pazzaglia of for more posts. Here she comes through with an innovative way to cook three different types of beans, each requiring different cooking methods, simultaneously in a pressure cooker. There’s some whacky shit in here, like freezing the green beans. But it’s fascinating.  Take it away Laura!—MR

Beans x 3

by Laura Pazzaglia

Pressure cook beans with three different cooking times at the same time with perfect results for each using the three heat-zones:  boiling  on the bottom  (hottest),  steaming (hot), and protecting beans from direct contact with steam in a foil wrap (warm).

A pressure cooked bean salad.

HOW: With steamer basket, aluminum foil and approximate cooking times.  Beans in steamer basket must be pre-soaked.  Cooking time for steamed beans is about “twice”  the recommended  cooking time – so use a shorter cooking bean such as the borlotti or cranberry bean used here.


American Three-Bean Salad

  • 1 cup chickpeas, dry
  • 1 cup borlotti or cranberry beans, dry
  • 1.5 cups green beans, fresh
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 onion, core still attached, cut into two quarters (optional; this is MR’s authorial intrusion, feel free to disregard)


  • 2 celery stalks, chopped finely
  • 1 small red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 bunch parsley, minced
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper, ground to taste
  1. The night before making this, rinse the dried beans and soak them in plenty of water.  In the morning, change the soaking water.
  2. Wrap the fresh green beans in a aluminum foil and put them in the freezer.
  3. Add 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker, then add the drained chick peas, bay leaf, and garlic (and onion if using).  Add a trivet and the steamer basket on top, then drain the borlotti or cranberry beans and add them to the basket.  Lastly, use a second trivet to suspend the aluminum foil packet above the last set of beans. (MR note: not sure you need all those trivets, but Laura’s the expert here. Important that the beans in steamer basket are not in water so that they only steam.)
  4. Close and lock the pressure cooker and set it to high pressure.  Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, and the pressure button is solidly raised, lower the heat to medium and cook for 13-15 minutes.
  5. When time is up, release pressure using the Natural method—that is, move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes).  For electric pressure cookers, if the pressure has not come down in 10 minutes, release the rest of the pressure using the release valve.
  6. While the beans are cooking, begin the dressing: combine the minced onion, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside to macerate.
  7. Assemble the bean salad by opening the aluminum foil packet of green beans and place them in a strainer and rinse under cool water.  Once cool, cut the green beans into 1-inch pieces and place into a medium sized bowl.
  8. Pour the chickpeas and other beans in to the strainer and rinse under cold water to stop the beans from cooking more.  Once cooled and strained add them to the bowl with the green beans.
  9. Combine the minced parsley, celery, macerated onion, and olive oil and stir to combine. Pour over the beans and toss well. Season with salt and black pepper.
  10. You can serve this immediately or refrigerate for up to a day before serving. Let the beans return to room temperature for the best flavor.

Serves 6-8

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© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved