50 Recipes for Learning How to Love Beans

beans recipe

How much do you know about beans? I confess I'm still learning the good things about them because they aren’t always so popular.

Does this sound familiar? “Chili, no beans," “the Rice and Beans Budget,” and the song we learn long before we start music lessons: “Beans, beans, the musical fruit…”

Not so nice, huh? Quite negative even?

Growing up, my mom only cooked baked beans, lima beans, and the occasional red beans that only she herself would eat. Of course, I can’t blame my mom for not instilling the value of beans in us - my dad and I weren’t exactly willing learners.

(I remember the day I told my mother I cooked a small bean called lentils for the first time. Her eyes got wider than when she saw the price tag on my party gowns back in high school.)

But since learning about Full Plate Living, I’ve been on a “Bean Training Mission” as my husband calls it.

Now I know beans are fun. Beans are really good for you. And even though beans are a frugal food and you can afford to leave them out, why should you?

Incidentally, if you find beans to be too “musical,” read here.

So all that being said, here are 50 recipes to help you on your training mission to love (or at least appreciate) beans.

And since you’re likely to fall in love with one and want to run straight to your kitchen to make it right now, I’ve sorted them according to the type of bean you might have in your pantry.

White Bean Recipes (Cannellini, Great Northern, etc.)

White Bean Alfredo Sauce over whole grain pasta.

  1. 5-minute White Bean & Dill Spread Pack this for your lunch.
  2. Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap Skip the cheese. I guarantee you won’t miss it.
  3. Kale and Winter Fruit Smoothie
  4. Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes and White Beans So colorful for an outdoor meal.
  5. Risotto with White Beans and Butternut Squash This is a hit at our house!
  6. White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad
  7. White Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
  8. Zesty White Beans and Tomatoes Perfect as bruschetta.
  9. Middle Eastern Lebanese White Bean Soup
  10. Tomato Sauce with White Beans and Swiss Chard
  11. Quinoa and White Bean Burgers
  12. Apple Baked Beans Use apples instead of molasses for a sweet fiber Power Up.
  13. Tomato White Bean Soup
  14. White Bean and Tuna Salad We recommend water-packed tuna not oil-packed for this transition recipe.
  15. Cookie Dough Dip Use dates for this sugar-free dessert!
  16. Tuscan Farro Soup with White Beans, Tomatoes and Basil
  17. Creamy Broccoli-White Bean Soup
  18. White Bean Alfredo Sauce Remember your whole grain pasta!
  19. Butternut Squash and Bean Minestrone We ate this soup once a week last winter. But there’s no need for more than 2 Tablespoons olive oil.

Pinto and Black Bean Recipes

  1. Chocolate Berry Bean Smoothie
  2. Bean Balls, the Non-Meatball These are brilliant.
  3. Freezer-Friendly Bean Burritos Huge lunch hit at our house.
  4. Mexican Stuffed Peppers
  5. Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas We love these for making-ahead and sharing. No cheese necessary.
  6. Black Bean Salsa I like this for potlucks.
  7. Fat Free Refried Beans A good blender makes this up in no time
  8. Bean Dip
  9. Chili Baked Potato
  10. Skillet potatoes and beans I love this for getting beans into your breakfast.
  11. Black Bean Brownies Beans make brownies way more fudgy.
  12. Black Bean Burger These freeze well.
  13. Squash and Black Bean Stacked Tortilla This was super popular at our house!
  14. Quinoa, Chicken, Black Bean and Guacamole Roll

Garbanzo Bean and Chickpea Recipes

  1. Chipotle Chickpea Tacos
  2. Baked Falafel Children love making these.
  3. Chickpea Mock Tuna Salad My sister-in-law talked about her first taste of this for days.
  4. Roasted chickpeas in Four Flavors

Other Beans and Legumes

  1. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Topping
  2. Beluga Lentils with Mint
  3. Yellow Split Pea, Cauliflower and Rice Pilaf We never have enough of this in our house.
  4. Slow Cooker Lentils Swap the curry for Italian flavors and get a completely different meal.
  5. Split Pea Soup
  6. Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs Leftover lentils + 5-minute egg = breakfast!
  7. BBQ Lentils and Sweet Potatoes A twist on the traditional summer favorite, baked beans.
  8. Texas Caviar
  9. Lima Beans in Tomato, Olive, and Dill Sauce

Extra Credit (More than One Bean Variety)

  1. Three Bean Salad
  2. Bean Sloppy Joe’s Messy. And therefore popular with kids.
  3. Black & White Bean Quinoa Salad High in fiber and protein, but gluten free and sturdy.
  4. Black and White Bean Soup With Sweet Potatoes

OK, Class, let’s finish the song together.

“So let’s have beans for every meal!”


Are these recipes enough to inspire you? Which was your favorite?

Full Plate Living is a small-step approach with big health outcomes. It's provided as a free service of Ardmore Institute of Health.

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