Ocho's German Beans - Mankato, MN
Ocho's German Beans - Mankato, MN

Contributed by Mankato musician and producer, Ocho.

My mom calls these Sweet and Sour Beans. She got the recipe from her mom, a German immigrant. I call them German Beans because they are a lot like German potato salad. Mom always has some at home, along with German potato salad.

I have changed the recipe slightly over the years, but the taste remains the same. These beans are so delicious as to be practically addictive. Also an ideal source of protein, vitamins and fiber. Virtually fat and sodium free, they are also heart-healthy.

The more kinds of beans you use, the more variety of nutrients you put in your body. Variety is key to a healthy diet. Mom uses canned beans. Dry ones are much fresher and have better flavor and texture.

These beans are so delicious as to be practically addictive.

German Beans

Serves the whole family a couple of times. These beans are good cold as well as hot, so save those leftovers.

Warning: if you don’t eat beans regularly, you will be farting after eating these. Gas can be reduced with over-the-counter products. If you don’t mix the beans with another protein, you will minimize gas. Staying hydrated also helps.


  • 2 lbs dried beans, variety. (Hilltop Hy-Vee has a good 9 bean mix)
  • 2 medium onions, white or yellow
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar (apple cider vinegar is good too)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar or equivalent sweetener (I use Stevia. Brown sugar is also amazing)
  • 1 t dry mustard (or 1 T wet mustard)
  • 1/4 cup sorghum (optional)


  • Cook the beans like it says on the package: rinse, soak in 12 cups water for 6-8 hours. Rinse.
  • Put in a large pot with the sorghum and 12 cups fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium simmer. Partially cover pot.
  • Stir occasionally. Cook time is maybe 45 minutes. Maybe an hour and a half. Just wait til all the beans are cooked all the way through. The sorghum will cook with the beans and will not overcook. Very hard to overcook this recipe. It’s much easier to under cook, so take your time.
  • While the beans are cooking, chop the onions julienne-style.
  • Mix the vinegar, sweetener and onions in a shallow pan with a lid. Cover. This will be your sauce. Steam the onions in the sweetened vinegar on medium heat until they are soft.
  • Taste the sauce. It will be zingy. Resist the urge to eat it all by itself. If you want it sweeter or more tart, add more sweetener or vinegar to your taste.
  • When everything is right, mix the sauce, mustard, and beans/sorghum.

Enjoy with a lager beer. Happy Holidays!