Beans are cheap, healthy, and delicious: and there are so many ways to use them! Here are the best bean recipes for incorporating them in your everyday.
Got a can of beans but not sure how to use them? We’re here to help! There are so many ways to use beans to make a meal. They’re cheap, healthy, and delicious (when prepared correctly). Just like lentils and chickpeas, beans are legumes and a great way to infuse plant based protein and fiber into your diet.
How can I use a can of beans? So many ways! The recipes below feature black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and white beans in just about every way you could imagine:
- Soups & Stews
- Main Dish Salads & Side Salads
- Tacos & Wraps
- Dips & Salsas
- Pot Pies
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes & Squash
- Nachos & Loaded Fries
Is 45 recipes too many? Because when we went digging, we unearthed a treasure trove of bean recipes for you.
Note: Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are considered beans, but we have a separate list of recipes for those! Go to 25 Favorite Chickpea Recipes.
And now..our best bean recipes!
First up in our bean recipes: Classic Bean Soup! Kidney beans and navy beans float in a savory, smoky broth of fire roasted tomatoes that has just the right glossy texture. It uses canned beans, but it tastes like it’s been simmering all day. Each silky, smoky spoonful is a bit of heaven.
This quick Cuban black beans recipe uses canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! They taste just as good as restaurant style.
First up in our bean recipes: this healthy chili! Because why not use three types of beans at once? This one features black, pinto and kidney beans. Serve with homemade cornbread. (Another great chili? Our Best Vegetarian Chili.)
Forget burgers when you can have a black bean burger! This one is filled with spices and sweet potato, then topped with spicy mayo.
WOW is all we can say about this black bean enchiladas recipe! It's one of the most crowd-pleasing plant based recipes…ever. Tortillas are wrapped around a black bean and veggie filling oozing with flavor, and it’s all doused in a zesty homemade enchilada sauce. It tastes even better than it looks!
These tacos are filled with our 5 minute black beans, a quick taco filling idea that’s bursting with flavor in just a few minutes. Top it with all the best taco toppings: corn, avocado, pickled onions: and a sprinkling of feta cheese. If you have time, dollop with cilantro lime sauce.
One of the most classic bean recipes, bean salad is everyone's favorite for potlucks and picnics! This one features pinto and kidney beans and a tangy dressing.
Where are the beans hiding here? Our best Wild Rice Soup recipe uses white beans to add filling protein: they're also blended to help make the creamy base. This one's a fan favorite! (Another soup with added white beans: Potato Corn Chowder.)
This Spanish rice and beans is a pantry-staple sort of meal that works as a healthy vegan and vegetarian dinner or a hearty side! Flavored with salsa and adobo sauce, the Spanish rice is filled with tangy roasted red peppers, beans, and herby cilantro. You won't be able to stop eating it!
Black beans add protein to salsa, making it more filling! This black bean salsa recipe is similar to a pico de gallo, featuring fresh tomatoes, lime and cilantro. Perfect for dipping! (Add corn with this Black Bean and Corn Salsa.)
This healthy tortilla soup recipe that tastes so flavorful you’d think it’s been simmering all day! It's filled with black beans, corn, and adobo sauce, and topped with crunchy tortilla strips. (A similar soup recipe: Black Bean & Roasted Tomatillo Soup.)
This black bean salad is perfectly seasoned with cumin, garlic, and apple cider vinegar, and mixed with colored bell peppers and rice. It saves well and is perfect for making ahead.
Meet our new very favorite snack: crispy roasted black beans! You know crispy roasted chickpeas? These crunchy salty bits have become popular as a healthy snack. So why not try the same idea with black beans? Make up a big batch and you'll fall in love with this irresistible crunchy plant-based snack.
This Latin-style side dish features black beans, jumbled with rice and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. Cook your rice on the stovetop, or use the Instant Pot for a hands off method.
This pot pie has hearty white beans inside! The filling features a savory gravy with potatoes and carrots, with fried shallots and white beans mied in. It's topped in an impossibly flaky pastry crust. (Try it with butter: Cozy Vegetarian Pot Pie.)
Black beans are the perfect adder to quesadillas! This veggie quesadilla features black beans, sweet potato, spinach, and gooey cheese. (Add avocado with this Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado.)
The best beans are homemade refried beans! The texture and flavor are WAY better than canned: they're buttery and creamy. Plus they’re healthier than canned too--and vegan!
Serving beans on toast makes them a meal! This simple, sophisticated recipe pairs white beans with garlic, broccoli rabe, and Parmesan cheese.
These enchiladas are a total crowd pleaser; they're one of our fan favorite best vegetarian dinner recipes! The filling features black beans, sweet potatoes, salsa verde and gooey cheese. (Or try this one: Vegetarian Skillet Enchiladas.)
Beans make a hearty filling for lettuce wraps! These zesty vegetarian wraps have a chipotle black bean filling, and are topped with tangy mango salsa and guacamole!
Another favorite bean recipe: nachos! Beans are the perfect filling topping: pinto beans are made into a quick refried bean topping for these grilled nachos. Or try a black bean topping in our Tater Tot Nachos or Mexican Fried Rice Nachos.
This black bean chili recipe features fresh mangos for a hint of sweetness! With a squeeze of lime and a hint of allspice, it's a unique spin on the standard. (Also try: Quinoa Vegan Chili.)
This Mexican pizza recipe features creamy refried pinto beans, Monterrey jack cheese, tomatoes, corn, and cilantro. The perfect dish for when you can’t decide between Italian and Mexican food!
Need a cozy soup recipe? This one features whole grain farro, white beans, and Brussels sprouts! It's bursting with flavor and colorful veggies to boost immunity. (Another soup with beans: try Hearty Sweet Potato Kale Soup.)
This refried bean dip is a healthy spin on the traditional cheese dip! It’s plant based (vegan), made with refried beans, spices, and a salsa fresca topping. Use canned refried beans or our easy Instant Pot Refried Beans.
These oven baked flautas are filled with a zesty refried bean and cheese filling! Similar to taquitos, they can be made with either flour or corn tortillas.
This vegetarian red beans and rice recipe is a tasty, budget-friendly meal with ingredients that are accessible in most supermarkets! Zesty and nutrient-dense, it’s full of red beans, legumes, and Cajun spices. (Also try Vegetarian Gumbo with Red Beans.)
You won’t believe the flavor in these Mexican sweet potatoes! They're topped with black bean salsa, corn, and creamy cilantro sauce. (Another take: our Loaded Sweet Potato Skins with pinto beans.)
Dal makhani is a traditional Indian dish made with black lentils, black beans, butter and cream. This version is full of flavor, and it's a little lighter than most by using milk instead of cream!
Here, black beans load up these fries making them into a healthy meal. These insanely delicious sweet potato wedges are topped with beans, salsa, cumin lime crema, and feta cheese.
This bean recipe is hiding white beans, which are pureed into the cheese sauce to make it creamy! Stuffing sweet potatoes with broccoli and the cheese sauce make for an easy weeknight dinner.
This Mexican cheese dip recipe is perfect for entertaining. The filling is blended pinto beans and spices, and it's poured into a skillet covered in gooey cheese. Serve with tortilla chips!
Here's how to make beans into a side dish in a flash! This refried black beans recipe is full of big flavor and takes only 15 minutes! Use them as a side, or part of our Homemade Sopes or Cauliflower Tacos with Yum Yum Sauce.
Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a tomato sauce that originates from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions. This one features white beans and feta, and works as a vegetarian brunch or dinner recipe!
Beans in a cookie recipe? Oh yes! These cookies made with black beans are a healthy dessert that tastes chocolate-y and satisfying.
Move over hummus! This garlic herb white bean dip is a delicious and healthy dip recipe that everyone will love. Serve with veggies or pita chips.
Here's a unique alternative to the classic bean salad recipe! This zesty Cajun salad is a grain salad with an unexpected spin: bulgur wheat, corn, and kidney beans are flavored with fresh oregano and Cajun seasoning.
This one is lovingly dubbed "pizza soup" for it's hearty Italian flavors! Ready in just 30 minutes, this Tuscan soup features white beans, kale, smoked paprika and fennel.
Delicata squash is becoming more popular for its quick cook time and sweet flavor (like a sweet potato!). Here it's stuffed with black beans and rice to make it a tasty main dish, and painted with a chipotle glaze.
This pan-grilled polenta is perfectly crispy! Serve it with rosemary-infused white beans and tomatoes for a delicious Italian main dish.
This flavorful and easy Mexican quinoa recipe is inspired by Mexican flavors, featuring black beans, corn, tomatoes, and fajita seasoning. It's easy to whip up and perfect for lunches.
Here's a simple way to prepare black beans using cilantro, garlic, and the liquid from the bean can! Serve it alongside a tofu scramble recipe to make a plant based breakfast idea.
Why not make beans into a meatless sloppy Joe recipe? These fast and easy vegan Sloppy Joes are tangy, sweet, and savory all at once! The filling features pinto beans and kidney beans. Serve with a tangy slaw.
Here black beans form the filling of these colorful pinwheels! These Mexican pinwheels are a quick and easy lunch recipe, they’re vibrant and full of healthy veggies spiced with cumin and chili powder. Dip in salsa for the win!
Beans in a pasta recipe? White beans help to add protein in this vegetarian rigatoni! This simple pasta is also filled with nutritious greens, lemon, and a bit of Parmesan cheese. (Another pasta with white beans: Gemelli Pasta Recipe with Tomatoes.)
Try these Vegetarian Faijtas! These are so full flavored and satisfying, they please everyone around the table: even the meat lovers! This fajita recipe stars our favorite fajita veggies, blackened in the oven and finished on the stove, with pinto beans cooked in a flavorful fajita sauce.
This hearty ribollita recipe is a delicious white bean Tuscan vegetable stew, loaded with veggies and thickened with bread. It's a cozy vegan and vegetarian dinner idea.
Here's a Mediterranean spin on nachos using white beans instead of black! Topped with fresh veggies and a creamy cilantro sauce, these Greek nachos are zesty and 100% plant based.
And last but certainly not least: a fusion take on everyone's favorite pasta! This Mexican lasagna is the ultimate healthy dinner recipe: layered with lasagna noodles, corn, and black beans, it’s full of zesty flavor.
How to cook dried beans
Is it better to use canned beans or dried beans? It doesn’t matter: you can use either in all of these recipes! The advantage to cooking dried beans at home is that they have a little firmer texture and enhanced flavor. But we often use canned beans in our recipes since they’re so quick and easy. You can find lots of brands that offer BPA free cans or cardboard cartons these days.
The best way we’ve found to cook dried beans is in an Instant Pot! It cooks SO fast: it only takes 1 hour. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can use our stovetop or Dutch oven methods.
- Method 1: Instant Pot Black Beans
- Method 2: How to Cook Black Beans on the Stove
- Method 3: How to Cook Dried Beans in a Dutch Oven
Best Bean Recipes: Easy Black Beans & More!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
This easy black beans recipe uses canned beans as a shortcut: but they’re full of big flavor! Here’s how to make Cuban-style black beans and rice.
- 1 ½ cups minced sweet yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/4 jalapeño pepper
- 2 tablespoons salted butter (substitute additional olive oil for vegan)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans (or 3 cups cooked black beans)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- Fresh cilantro, for a garnish
- 1 cup dry white or brown long grain rice, to serve*
- Start the rice, using our Instant Pot Rice method or How to Cook Rice on the Stove.
- Mince the onion and mince the pepper (chop them into a small dice). Mince the garlic.
- Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño pepper and mince it.
- Use a strainer to drain the black beans over a glass measuring cup, reserving the can liquid. (No need to rinse.)
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once melted, add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and lightly browned. Add the beans, cumin, oregano, and kosher salt and stir to combine. Add ½ cup of the liquid from the black beans. Simmer 15 minutes until beans are tender.
- Chop the cilantro for the garnish. Serve the black beans warm with rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Cuban Inspired
Keywords: Bean Recipes
I am interested in making your sweet potato black bean enchiladas. I am trying to find low calorie meatless main dishes that both by husband and I might enjoy. However, I am a little confused about the calorie count and the number of servings mentioned in your recipe. The recipe says it serves 6, but calls for 8 tortillas or 10 tortillas. How many enchiladas does each person get in order to have each serving at 467 calories since 6 does not divide evenly into either 8 or 10.
Sorry about that! Adjusted the amount to 8 so that you can just measure per tortilla.