So you overdid it on the canned bean purchases. Whoops. The world is not ending at quite the rate you’d anticipated, and now you have more cans of beans than you know what to do with. I see you. I know you’re out there. When all of this started to happen, I saw the canned beans flying off the shelves. I also saw stores running promos on them, knowing that they would sell like hot cakes. Hey, beans are a good thing to keep around. They are loaded with fiber and protein. They can help with glucose metabolism, making them a good ally for diabetics. If you have diabetes or are helping a partner manage it, keep this food around. They’re also good for your heart! If you were going to dine a lot on something during the apocalypse, these would be a good way to go (other than all the gas you’d be producing, that would bother your apocalypse mate).
But…it’s not the apocalypse. Things are bouncing back. Store shelves are being restocked. A vaccine is being worked on. It’s certainly not the time to return to all of our normal activities, but you may find that you bought too many cans of this food. What are you going to do with it all now? You may have bought so many, that you actually risk not eating them before their expiration date which is…about five years away.
Fortunately, there are a lot of unexpected ways to use beans. They aren’t just for nachos and chili. They work with a big variety of cuisines and flavor profiles. They can be mashed, purred, blended, fried, boiled—you name it. So you don’t need to throw out your surplus. Here are healthy recipes to make with canned beans.
Put kidney beans in soup
Kidney beans taste delicious in all sorts of soup, from spicy broth soups with rice, to minestrone soup, to sausage and kale soup. If you have an all-veggie soup that’s needing a little protein boost, dump your can of kidney beans in it. And, naturally, it’s a staple of any good chili recipe.
Pinto beans, chorizo, and eggs
This is a delicious way to spice up breakfast. Make a scramble with eggs, chorizo, and pinto beans. That’s a meal full of protein and fiber that should keep you going for hours. Toss some salsa and avocado on top, and consider pairing it with some tortillas.
White bean dip
If you’re tired of hummus, white beans make a delicious dip when blended up in a similar fashion as hummus—add some garlic salt, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and paprika. Have this with pita chips for a satisfying snack. You can also blend two forms of beans in here if you’d like to add chickpeas.
Take your whole pinto beans, refried beans, black beans, or even kidney beans and make a classic seven-layer dip. You can make a healthy one using whole beans, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, sliced olives, green onions, low-sodium salsa or pico de gallo, and chia seed tortilla chips for added fiber.
A tostada pizza
If you’re tired of regular tomato sauce pizza, try making a tostada pizza. Instead of putting tomato sauce on the dough, mash up black beans, and smother this onto the dough. Top it with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole. Only bake the dough/bean/chicken combo, and add the cold items last.
Mashed on toast
Most beans taste great mashed on toast. Simple black beans mashed on toast with some avocado and hot sauce make one zesty snack. Mash up white beans, fresh garlic, and rosemary for a lighter recipe, or you can try this fancier recipe that uses heirloom beans and tons of veggies.
If you’re staring down a lot of cans of chili, you don’t need to eat them plain. A macaroni and cheese chili casserole will do the body and soul good. It’s just what it sounds like, and this simple recipe uses many ingredients you likely already have at home, like cheese and ground beef.
Roasted chickpeas are a super easy snack to make that are nutritious and delicious. Chickpeas sort of “crack” like popcorn kernels when roasted, adding a nice texture, and become really crispy. Seasoned with a little paprika, curry powder, and lemon juice, they’re bursting with flavor.
A bean salad
If you have a can of white beans, kidney beans, and string beans, then you have a salad! With some cilantro, chopped red onions, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, this salad is a light and vibrant summer side dish.
A layered quesadilla
I’ll admit that Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza inspired this one. Fry three or four large flour tortillas. Between each layer put mashed pinto or black beans, your favorite salsa, and tons of cheese. Add salsa and a layer of cheese on top and bake. Garnish with sour cream and green onions.
Sausage and beans
This hearty dish will do the body good on a cold night. Boil white rice, mix it up with tomato paste. Cook your favorite sausage. Chop it into smaller pieces. Add it to the rice with kidney or pinto beans. You can also blend in sautéed carrots and mushrooms for a wholesome meal.
White beans and sole
White beans and white fish go very well together. If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, instead of putting your sole or cod filet over mashed potatoes, put it over mashed white beans. Pair with your favorite sautéed vegetables.
Garbanzo and potato curry
This is a flavorful way to make use of garbanzo beans that’s easy to make. It also makes use of another food you may have stockpiled—rice! And it helps you use some potatoes, which is a great perishable item to stock up on during quarantine. This recipe is easy to follow and affordable.
Once you eat cornbread pie, you may never want to eat anything else again, so you’ve been warned. This recipe actually comes from one of America’s sweethearts, Reese Witherspoon, and relies on plenty of kitchen staples like milk, cheese, and chicken broth.
Grilled bean burgers
If you’re tired of south-of-the-border recipes with black beans, try making some grilled bean burgers. This simple recipe uses quick oats for added fiber and to hold the patties together, and lots of condiments you likely already have, like ketchup and soy sauce.