Beans are the ultimate convenience food: Inexpensive, shelf-stable, filling, and flavorful, they’re ready when you are to whip up easy meals in a flash. Here are just a few things you can make with a single can. And don’t worry too much about the type of beans you use. They’re all interchangeable in the following recipes.
Note: Drain and rinse canned beans before using them to reduce sodium.
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Hummus is not just for chickpeas! After rinsing and draining your can of beans, blend with ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon tahini (optional), 1 clove minced garlic, and 2 to 3 tablespoons water.
2. Taco Filling
Fork-mash with ½ cup prepared salsa for a chunky taco filling.
3. Dip or Sandwich Spread
Blend with 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, oregano, or sage, and 1 to 2 tablespoons water or citrus juice.
Warm with 1 cups frozen corn, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, ½ cup chopped green onions, and a little water.
5. Grain Salad
Fold into 2 cups cooked grains along with tossed salad fixings and your favorite dressing.
6. Refried Beans
Mash with ½ cup water in a skillet. Stir in another ½ cup water, 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons chili powder. Simmer, stir, and mash 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a spreadable consistency.
7. Pasta e Fagioli
Toss with whole grain pasta shells and marinara sauce.
8. Light Lunch Salad
Toss with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ cup finely chopped onion, and ¼ cup finely chopped parsley, basil, or cilantro, and serve over greens.
9. Greek-Style Beans
Simmer with ½ cup crushed tomatoes, 1 minced clove garlic and ½ teaspoon dried oregano 5 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve with bread or rice.
Fold into 2 cups pancake batter with 1 small grated onion and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, then cook like small pancakes and serve with salsa, guacamole, or pasta sauce.
Simmer 1 cup canned beans with 1½ cups water, ½ cup chopped onion, 1 clove minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons ground cumin, covered, 10 minutes. Blend until smooth. Serve garnished with remaining ½ cup beans.
12. Cider Baked Beans
Combine drained beans with 1 cup unsweetened apple cider 1 quartered onion, 1 tsp. mustard, and 1 tsp. tomato paste in an ovenproof baking dish. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350˚F or until sauce has thickened.
13. Cream Sauce
Blend white beans with enough water or vegetable broth to obtain a saucy, creamy consistency, then use in place of cream and cream sauces in casseroles and pasta dishes.
14. Beans and Greens
Steam 1 lb. dark, leafy greens, 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic and a good pinch red pepper flakes with 2 cups water or vegetable broth until tender. Stir in beans, and cook until heated through.
15. Meat Substitute
Got a favorite meat-based recipe you’d like to rework for a whole-foods, plant-based diet? Check out How to Use Beans as a Meat Substitute in Any Recipe.