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How to Make Fermented Bean Paste

Amelia has served her family whole, cultured foods for over a decade, improving health by improving nutritional value and digestibility.

Fermented bean paste with chips

Fermented bean paste with chips

This recipe makes a delicious, healthful, probiotic alternative to refried beans or other dips. It is also very inexpensive. I made mine from organic beans and it cost less than 20 cents per quart. Almost all dips are made with additives such as sugar and worse, MSG. Here is a way to make a healthful, wholesome dip that is much easier to digest. Serve it as part of a layer dip with fresh salsa, sour cream, cheese, and chives.

After a stint with the ketogenic diet threw my digestive tract awry, this probiotic recipe played a large part in my recovery. Eating it with rice or organic corn chips provides your digestive tract with both a probiotic and a prebiotic.

This recipe is based on the recipe for Fermented Bean Paste from p. 103 of the cookbook Nourishing Traditions with some changes I have found helpful. Altogether, this recipe takes about five days and is done in three stages:

  1. Soaking the beans for 1-2 days.
  2. Cooking the beans until soft, about 1-2 hours.
  3. Mixing with seasoning and lacto-bacilli and allowing to ferment for 3 more days.

This seemed like a lot when I first started using Nourishing Traditions, but you will find that once you are accustomed to planning a couple days ahead, and culturing a variety of foods, the rhythm becomes much more natural.

What you needSeasoning options

dry beans--any kind




blender or food processor

cayenne pepper

beet kvass, whey, or a high quality probiotic

fresh hot pepper of your choice

course sea salt


Beans soaking.  Bubbles are a good sign.

Beans soaking. Bubbles are a good sign.

Stage 1: Soak the Beans

  1. Rinse 1 cup beans well to dissolve the oligosaccharides that cause gas. The more you rinse throughout the following steps the less gas you will experience.
  2. Cover beans with boiling water. This helps jumpstart the process of neutralizing phytic acid and hydrating the beans.
  3. Add apple cider vinegar, preferably raw, once the soaking water is cool enough to touch. Allow to soak for 1 or 2 days.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.

Stage 2: Cook the Beans

  1. After you have rinsed, use approximately twice as much water as beans and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, or until beans are soft.
  3. Rinse thoroughly.

Stage 3: Culture the Beans

In this step, we will need the following ingredients:


  • 3 ½ cups cooked beans
  • ½ large onion (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (about 1/8 tsp, optional)
  • ½ tsp cumin (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp course sea salt
  • 2-4 Tbsp whey or beet kvass, or a small amount of commercial probiotic
  • Enough water to reach desired consistency


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process in batches until desired consistency.
  2. Put paste in a clean glass jar and cover with an airtight lid.
  3. Keep it in a warm place for 3 days and transfer to the fridge.
Dosa with fermented bean paste made from garbanzo beans.  I would smear it all over the dosa, but for the sake of the picture I scooped it on like so.

Dosa with fermented bean paste made from garbanzo beans. I would smear it all over the dosa, but for the sake of the picture I scooped it on like so.

And You’re Done!

It should have a pleasantly sour flavor if it has fermented properly. Do not even try it if it smells rotten.

Now, what do you do with this effervescent bean paste? I love it plain with chips or in a layer dip. I spread it on bread or even on cheese. Try it in pitas or sandwiches. Use it instead of refried beans. It is best raw, so if you want it warm try not to heat it higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit if you wish to take advantage of its probiotic properties.

You can use any dried bean, so be creative. Try garbanzo beans for a hummus-type spread. Try changing the seasoning. The onion is not necessary, though the garlic seems to help fermentation dramatically.

Best Probiotic


Amelia Walker (author) from Idaho on July 03, 2017:

Glenis Rix, thank you for commenting. Yes, you can use almost any kind of bean. I have used white navy beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, and pinto beans. I wouldn't use lentils or smaller beans.

I was also anxious when I started fermenting foods, but Sally Fallon assures in her book Nourishing Traditions that if it is bad it will be so unpleasant that you will not want to eat it. It should be pleasantly sour.

A couple of things that make this recipe work really reliably are: 1. Use garlic by blending a whole garlic clove with each quart of beans.

2. Use a high-quality probiotic. My favorite is Garden of Life Ultimate Care. You can just open a capsule and pour some or all into the beans when you blend them. I use one capsule for up to three quarts, so even though it is expensive, it goes a long way. With this probiotic I usually culture the beans for just two to two-and-a-half days.

I hope it works out! I eat quite a lot of fermented bean paste everyday with eggs or just with chips and I think it makes a difference.

Glen Rix from UK on July 03, 2017:

I've read quite a lot recently about the health benefits of fermented foods and have been thinking about attempting to prepare some. So I found your recipe interesting. Can any type of beans be used? I'm a bit nervous about the possibility of cultivating harmful bacteria. Some websites recommend a fermenting kit but I don't want to spend on something that I might rarely use. Perhaps you can advise?

fredé on August 27, 2014:

when do you add the lactobacilli and in what amount?

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