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Warm Weather Bean and Pasta Salad

As the temperatures rise, fuss-free dishes like this pasta and bean salad are just right for supper on the deck or patio. Make it in the morning to allow the flavors to develop – and so that you don’t need to think about supper until it’s time to eat.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked
  • 3 15-ounce cans of any beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups frozen or canned corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (start with ¼ tsp)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, beans, and corn.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the salad dressing, mayonnaise, and red pepper flakes until well mixed.
    Stir into the pasta salad.
  3. Add salt,  pepper, and additional red pepper to taste.
An image depicting baked beans with garnish

Jazz Up Canned Baked Beans

When you don’t have time to cook from scratch, canned baked beans are a welcome convenience. Give them a little extra pizazz and your own creative homemade twist with any of the following additions.

  • Adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers
  • Sautéed onions and a dash of dry mustard
  • Honey and Dijon mustard
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • Peach preserves
  • Splash of bourbon
  • Miso paste
An image depicting white bean oatmeal topped with fresh fruit

White Bean Oatmeal

If you’re trying to incorporate beans into your diet more often, don’t overlook breakfast options. With their creamy texture and neutral flavor, white beans are a perfect addition to oatmeal and a valuable way to give morning meals a protein boost. This recipe is adapted from The Simple Bean: A Bean Toolkit for Older Adults.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked white beans, rinsed, drained, and mashed
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 ½ tbsp maple syrup or any liquid sweetener
  • Dash of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat over medium heat until it begins to simmer.
  2. Reduce heat and cook uncovered for about 7 minutes.
  3. Serve with blueberries, chopped walnuts, or any favorite oatmeal toppings.
Family cooking together

Pantry Items to Pair with Beans

If you’re cooking from a well-stocked pantry, you may be eating more beans than ever. To keep meal preparation simple and varied, make sure your pantry is also stocked with these shelf-stable ingredients that enhance bean dishes.
  • Canned tomatoes and tomato sauce: Simmer canned or cooked beans in any type of tomato sauce for a dish packed with nutrition and Mediterranean flavor
  • Frozen vegetables. Add frozen spinach, kale, or collards to beans along with a can of diced tomatoes for a satisfying soup.
  • Onions and garlic: Sautéed in a little oil, onions, and garlic add fast flavor to beans.
  • Aged cheeses. Mix shredded cheese with breadcrumbs as a topping for any baked bean recipe.
  • Don’t forget favorite condiments like soy sauce, hot sauce, canned peppers, salsa, and balsamic vinegar to build fast flavor into a pot of beans.
Red Beans In Wooden Bowl And Spoon

Dry Beans for a Healthy Immune System

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutrient shortfalls in the world. When people get too little iron, they’re at an increased risk for infection. Dry beans are among the best sources of this mineral and pairing them with vitamin C-rich foods can increase iron absorption dramatically.

Even if you’re limiting trips to the grocery store right now, you may have plenty of vitamin C-rich ingredients on hand. Cook beans with frozen spinach and canned tomatoes to create a satisfying soup that is packed with iron and vitamin C. Simmer baked beans with chunks of canned pineapple for a savory-sweet dish to serve over rice. Keep frozen green or red peppers on hand to sauté with onions and stir into cooked beans for flavor and plenty of vitamin C.

While there is no magic potion or pill that can boost your immunity, a balanced diet that meets nutrient needs can keep the immune system functioning well.

The front page of a new newsletter

All About Beans

The first edition of a new weekly activity newsletter features beans as the hero ingredient for pantry-based, kitchen science, fun food facts, exercises, and step-by-step cooking skills to practice and master. Discover the newsletter here.

An image of black beans and rice

Black Beans and Rice

This black beans and rice recipe couldn’t be easier, and chances are you have all the ingredients on hand. It comes together in about 20 minutes.

Ingredients 

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil for about 4 minutes. Add the rice and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the broth. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes until the rice is tender. Stir in spices and the black beans. Cover and cook over low heat until heated through.
An image depicting a woman buying dried beans

Dry Beans in the Emergency Pantry

As consumers across the country shelter in place against the coronavirus, it’s not surprising that packages of dry beans have been flying off grocery store shelves. Dry beans are an essential part of any well-stocked pantry, especially one that feeds families through an emergency.

These foods are among the most economical sources of nutrition. One pound of dry beans provides as much as 1,500 calories and 100 grams of protein for less than $2.00. While canned beans cost a little more, it makes sense to keep a good supply on hand for fast meal preparation.

To keep dry beans fresh for as long as possible, store them away from light and keep them sealed in plastic bags or jars. When properly stored, few foods rival beans as a shelf-stable choice. One study found that canned beans that had been sitting in pantries for as long as 30 years were still acceptable to most people who tasted them, at least for emergency meals. For optimal flavor and nutrition, aim to use canned beans within two to three years and dry beans within a year of purchase. After a year, dry beans can harden and take longer to cook. If you have beans that have been sitting in your pantry for more than a year you can still use them. Adding a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water is one way to speed their preparation and produce softer beans.

An image for the Black Bean Burger recipe

Build Your Own Bean Burger

Create your own delicious, homemade bean burger with whatever ingredients you have on hand.  Switching out spices and other ingredients presents endless options for your creations.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (plus more for sautéing the burgers)
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry ingredients like panko, breadcrumbs, or quick oats.
  • 1 egg
    • For a vegan recipe, use a flax egg by whisking together 1 tablespoon ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons water. Let sit for 10 minutes until it becomes viscous.
  • Seasoning: Start with 1 teaspoon of curry powder, Mexican seasoning, Italian seasoning, Cajun spice mix, or whatever flavors you want for your burger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Hot sauce, soy sauce, curry paste

To make the burgers:

  1. Heat the oil and sauté the onions until just translucent.
    Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  2. Place the sautéed onions and garlic in a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients except the egg. Pulse until everything is well-mixed (but don’t mix long enough to create a paté)
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  4. Add the egg and give the food processor a few more pulses to combine the egg with the rest of the ingredients.
  5. If the mix is too dry, add a little broth or water. If it’s too wet, mix in more dry ingredients.
  6. Form into patties and sauté until browned on both sides.
An image for the White Bean Colcannon recipe

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With White Bean Colcannon

Colcannon – sometimes referred to as Irish mashed potatoes – is a comforting and delicious blend of potatoes, cooked kale, onions, milk, and butter. Adding cooked white beans to traditional colcannon turns it into a fiber- and protein-packed meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups chopped kale (or substitute cabbage if you prefer)
  • 1/2  cup minced green onions (green and white parts)
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the pot and sauté the kale and onions until the kale is wilted.
    Add the cooked potatoes, beans, and milk, then mash everything together with a potato masher.  Add salt to taste.
  3. Serve hot with additional butter.
An image depicting the chicken salad chapala recipe!

Beans for National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month – March – is a good time to be mindful of building more nutritious meals. Canned beans are a perfect choice, providing a convenient and fast way to add more fiber, protein, potassium, and iron to menus.

There is a plethora of ways to add beans to your favorite meals. You can:

  • Add beans to any salad, turning it into a main meal
  • Stir beans into canned tomato soup
  • Add beans to prepared pasta sauce and enjoy over spaghetti or rice
  • Mix beans into macaroni and cheese
  • Top a baked potato with beans and salsa
  • Add beans to any curry recipe
An image depicting umami-rich ingredients with beans

Add Fast Flavor to Beans with Umami Rich Ingredients

Sometimes referred to as the fifth taste – in addition to sweet, sour, bitter, and salty – the flavor or essence of umami was discovered in Japan around 100 years ago. The word is derived from the Japanese term for “deliciousness.” Small amounts of umami-rich ingredients can go a long way in enhancing the flavor of the simplest dishes.

Adding these foods to bean dishes is an easy way to create a savory meal with just a handful of ingredients. Try incorporating any of the following into cooked or canned beans for a dish that is packed with flavor:

  • Shredded aged cheese
  • Caramelized onions
  • Sun-dried tomatoes rehydrated or packed in oil
  • A few tablespoons of tomato paste
  • Miso broth
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Grilled or roasted sweet peppers
An image depicting sprouted black beans

Sprouting Black Beans for Soup

Sprouting beans is a fun way to add a little extra nutrition to menus. Sprouting can make protein more digestible, improve absorption of minerals like zinc and iron, and may increase healthful phytochemicals in beans.

A little caution is warranted, though. Consumed raw, sprouted grains, seeds, and beans are a potential source of foodborne illness. Sprouted beans should always be cooked before consuming. You can use sprouted beans in any bean recipe like black bean soup.

Steps for Sprouting Beans:

  • Rinse 1/2 cup dried black beans, remove any stones or other debris, and place in a clean quart-size jar.
  • Add enough fresh water to fill the jar three-quarters of the way to the top. Cover with a mesh lid or cloth, secured with a rubber band, to allow airflow.
  • Soak for 24 hours at room temperature.
  • Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly. Repeat rinsing and draining 3-4 times per day until sprout tails appear. (Short sprouts are sufficient to see health benefits.)
  • Cook beans with sprouts as you normally would, but be prepared to check tenderness regularly. Sprouted beans may cook in half as much time as non-sprouted beans.
An image depicting beans soaking in water

Hot Soak Method Speeds Bean Preparation

If you forgot to soak your beans the night before you plan to cook them, the hot soak method can come to the rescue. Cover the beans with water, bring to a boil and boil for three minutes. Remove them from the heat and let them soak in the hot water for an hour. Then drain, rinse, add fresh water and cook. It’s okay to let the beans soak longer if you don’t have time to cook them right away but be sure to put them in the refrigerator after they’ve soaked for an hour.

Click here for more information about soaking beans.

 

An image of buffalo beans with football themed snacks

Buffalo Beans for Super Bowl Sunday

This rich and extra-spicy dip requires just minutes of hands-on preparation. It’s perfect for your Super Bowl Sunday party.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Process the cream cheese and hot sauce in a food processor until combined. Scrape into a bowl and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar cheese and the blue cheese dressing.
  3. Mash the beans slightly and stir into the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
  4. Place the dip in a casserole dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Let cool slightly and serve with pita chips or raw vegetables.
    Note: Garnish with green onions if desired.
An image depicting girls playing with beans

Teaching Children About Beans

Helping children become familiar with beans can improve healthy food habits, according to an article published in the School Nutrition Magazine.

Social studies classes offer a fun way to introduce children to the culinary aspects of beans by encouraging them to research traditional global dishes and by having students share their own family traditions using beans. In high school art classes, students can explore beans through botanical drawings. Germinating beans in wet paper towels is an easy science project for young children.

For more on bringing beans into the classroom see the School Nutrition Magazine November 2019 issue.

An image depicting folks exercising

Beans Support Aerobic Exercise

If your New Year resolution includes a commitment to more aerobic exercise, take a tip from the Tarahumaras, a group indigenous to the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of Mexico. Considered among the most skilled long-distance trail runners in the world, they’ve been the subject of books, magazine articles, and scientific studies. Remarkably, the diet that sustains their extraordinary fitness is built around beans, especially pinto beans. Corn, chili peppers, squash, and greens also play important roles in their menu.

So, before you hit the track or the gym, load up on a healthy bean-based meal like these tostadas.

Tostadas

Ingredients

  • 12 tostada shells (the crisp kind)
  • 2 15-ounce cans refried beans
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • 2 avocados peeled, pitted and chopped, or about 1 cup guacamole
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Optional: 8 ounces grated Monterrey Jack or cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Heat the refried beans in a frying pan over medium heat until hot.
  2. Prepare the tostadas by spreading a large spoonful of beans over each one and then sprinkling on the toppings.
An image for the bean quesadilla recipe

 “Cheese-y” Quesadillas Made with White Beans

White beans stand-in for cheese in these fiber- and nutrient-rich quesadillas – that also happen to be toddler-friendly. This recipe gets its cheese-like flavor from nutritional yeast and miso.

Look for nutritional yeast in the bulk section of supermarkets or substitute a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese. You’ll find miso among the Asian condiments in the store, or you can use 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce instead.

Source:  https://www.delishknowledge.com/cheesy-vegan-quesadilla/

Roasted Pinto Beans for Parties

Crunchy and easy-to-make, roasted pinto beans make a great snack for a New Year’s Eve party. This recipe has a spicy, peppery kick, but you can use any seasonings you like.

And, if you have any leftovers, roasted pinto beans also make a good addition to salads.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together all ingredients.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until crunchy.
An image for the bean tamale recipe

Bean Tamales for Christmas Eve

Tamales are a Christmas Eve tradition in some parts of Mexico. With a savory dough made from Masa Harina (a type of cornflour) and meat or beans filling, tamales are wrapped in corn husks — sometimes banana leaves — then steamed.

Tamales can be made and cooked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days to reheat for a Christmas Eve supper that is both easy and special.

Use any type of bean you have on hand for this recipe, including canned refried beans to speed up the process.

Ingredients

Wrapping:

  • 16 dried corn husks

Filling:

  •  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can (drained) cooked black, kidney, or pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup water

Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups of cornflour Masa Harina
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Directions

  1. Rinse corn husks, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let them soak for at least two hours.
  2. Sauté the onion in the two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until tender.
    Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, beans, and 1/4 cup of water. Cook for several minutes until the beans are heated through. If using whole beans, partially bend them with an immersion blender or food processor.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the Masa Harina, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the 3/4 cup vegetable oil.
    Heat the broth and add to the mixture. Stir to combine.
  4. Lay a corn husk on a clean work surface with the edges curling up. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the dough on the corn husk. Top with 2 tablespoons of the beans.
    Fold one side of the husk to the center and then the other. Finally, fold the end toward the center of the tamale.
    Continue with the rest of the tamales.
  5. Place a steamer basket in a large pot over about an inch of water. Add the tamales and bring the water to a boil.
    Reduce heat to medium-high and steam until the tamales are firm, about 50 minutes.
An image depicting Beans in a jar

Give the Gift of Homemade Bean Soup

Homemade bean soup mix in a jar is a thoughtful gift for a busy hostess or anyone on your holiday list who has little time to cook. The key to making it special is to create different layers of colorful beans in an attractive jar and to provide a seasoning mix that is packed with flavor.

This recipe makes four 1-quart mason jars.

Instructions (Makes 4)

>> You’ll need one pound each of five different beans. Black, navy, pinto, cranberry, and kidney beans are all good choices.

>> For the seasoning mix, stir together:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dehydrated onions
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Divide the mixture into four pieces of parchment paper or small plastic bags. To each, add 2 bay leaves and a cube of vegetable bouillon. If using parchment paper, fold it into a packet and seal securely.

>> Layer the beans into four different 1-quart jars, leaving enough space at the top for the seasoning mix before adding the lid.

To make the soup:

  1. Rinse beans then place in a pot and add water to cover by 1 inch.
  2. Do a quick soak of the beans by bringing to a boil, removing from heat and letting them soak in the hot water for an hour.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans. Add them back to the pot with the seasoning mix, one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
An image for Red Bean Dip recipe

Curried Red Kidney Bean Dip

This delicious dip is given a boost with kidney beans and curry.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste or 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until the onions are tender.
  2. Stir in the curry paste, tomato paste, cinnamon, and beans. Cook over moderate heat until heated throughout.
  3. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Remove from heat.
  4. Mash with a potato masher for a chunky dip or use a food processor for a smooth dip.
an image for White Bean Gravy recipe

White Bean Gravy with Sage and Thyme

With less fat and plenty of fiber, white bean gravy is a rich, savory, and nutritious option for your Thanksgiving table.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 ½ teaspoons dried)
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (more as needed for consistency)
  • ½ cup white flour
  • 1 15-ounce can navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

White Bean Gravy

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion until tender.
    -> Add the garlic, thyme. and sage. Saute another two minutes.
  2. While onions are cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Stir the bean puree into the onions and bring to a low boil.
  4. Reduce heat and cook until thickened. Add more vegetable broth if a thinner consistency is desired.
An image for the Cream soup with beans recipe

Give Cream-Style Soups a Protein Boost with Beans

Cream-style soups are a favorite for warm, soothing meals on cold winter nights. The addition of a cup or two of cooked beans can stretch canned or homemade soup into a complete, protein-rich meal in just minutes. Stir a can of drained rinsed white beans into tomato soup. Or try pinto beans added to cream of celery soup.

An image for the Broccoli and Cranberry Bean Salad with Yogurt Dressing recipe

Broccoli and Cranberry Bean Salad with Yogurt Dressing

The flavors of this salad improve when it sits in the refrigerator overnight, making it a perfect vegetarian side dish to prepare in advance for Thanksgiving dinner.

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked cranberry beans (or substitute pinto beans)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • 3/4 cup halved grapes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 5 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all salad ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  2. Stir together the yogurt dressing ingredients.
  3. Pour dressing over the salad.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Adapted from The Wimpy Vegetarian