No Recipe Required

You don’t always need a recipe to make a great tasting, satisfying, and healthy meal. Sometimes the best meals are created when simple ingredients are put together without specific amounts or instructions. This allows you to be creative and use what you have on hand. And when you include simply delicious, naturally nutritious beans, you’ll delight your taste buds, wallet, and even your waistline.

Here are some simple tips and tricks to make “no recipe required” meals and snacks.

Add drained, rinsed pinto or black beans to your favorite egg bake, quiche, or frittata. These dishes are simple combinations of eggs, vegetables, cheese, and meat. Buy a pre-made pastry crust for the quiche for a fancy but fast breakfast or brunch!

Tortas, traditional Mexican sandwiches, are made with large, oblong, crusty white rolls. The rolls are cut in half and the top half is covered with pureed black beans. The fillings are diverse and can include meats, vegetables, and cheeses. They can be eaten cold or warm, as pressed sandwiches (think Italian paninis). You can make a breakfast torta by cutting your roll in half, spreading the top half with pureed black beans, and loading the bottom with scrambled eggs and chorizo. You could also add avocado or guacamole, a fried egg, and a few slices of ripe tomato. The creative interpretations are endless for this classic, craveable Mexican sandwich.

Add drained, rinsed canned beans to your favorite smoothie to boost the protein and fiber content. Black beans work well in berry-based smoothies, and any white bean (navy, white kidney, cannellini, Great Northern) can be added to other fruit and vegetable smoothies.

Grab a container of bean dip at your local grocery store and combine with your favorite raw vegetables or whole grain crackers for a convenient, nutrient-rich snack.

When it comes to salads, almost anything goes. They are an excellent way to use up whatever ingredients you have on hand, and they can help ensure you get your vegetable servings each day. Add a can of your favorite beans to any vegetable, grain, or pasta salad. Adding beans to salads gives you flavor, texture, and nutrition!

Whether you’re trying to pack protein into a broth-based soup or increase the amount of chili you make, beans fit the bill. Soups are also a great catch-all when you can’t decide what to make for dinner. Cook broth, cut vegetables, pasta, herbs and spices, and cooked beans together to make a simple minestrone soup. Bean broth, or the leftover liquid from cooking dry beans, can also be used in soups to add a robust earthy flavor and silky texture.

Beans make a great addition to almost any sandwich or wrap. Mash or puree your favorite bean with a little mayonnaise to use as a creamy spread on your sandwich, or toss whole beans in your wrap for extra protein and fiber. Want it spicy? Add some Sriracha sauce to your bean spread for extra heat and flavor.

When enjoying your favorite Mexican food, don’t forget the beans! Whether served as a simple side, or enjoyed in your favorite Mexican dish, beans are a natural fit to add flavor and nutrition. Beans are also a great meat substitute for any vegetarian or vegan eaters.

Beans and rice are staple foods in many cultures around the world. Add your favorite combination of seasonings, sauces, proteins, and vegetables to make it your own. If you want to boost the fiber content, use brown rice or whole grains like quinoa or barley.

Beans are a simply delicious, naturally nutritious food and a great addition to any meal – recipe or not! Add them to your favorite dishes to make great tasting, satisfying, healthy, and cost-effective meals.