Beautiful Beans: 15 Delicious Recipes with Beans

I find dried beans to be some of the most beautiful foods in the pantry. The red and white whorls of Good Mother Stallard, the creamy pale green of flageolet and Vallarta, and even the modestly speckled pinto bean all have unique, enticing beauty. Those individual characteristics fade in the cooking pot, but they are replaced by rich flavor. Here are 15 recipes (many vegetarian) that celebrate the humble dried bean — from polenta and borlotti with tomato sauce, to quick black beans with lime, and from pasta with greens and beans, to the best baked beans you'll ever eat, we think you'll like at least one of these.

Directions for cooking beans in the oven, on the stovetop, and in the slow cooker are included here too!

How To Cook Beans: The Basics

How to Cook Beans
How To Cook Beans: A Fast, Foolproof, No-Soak Method
How to Cook Beans in the Slow Cooker
Cooking Beans in a Clay Pot: A Review of La Chamba

15 Delicious Recipes with Beans

TOP ROW
• 1 Slow-Cooked Tomato and Herb White Beans - A review of a great recipe from Gourmet.
• 2 Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta - From the splendid Rancho Gordo cookbook.
• 3 Cauliflower, Fennel, and White Bean Winter Salad - A fresh, crunchy salad that's hearty enough for a meal.
• 4 Tomato and White Bean Panade - Tomatoes, beans, AND bread! Yum!
• 5 Rapini With Orecchiette And White Beans - Greens, beans, and pasta — a classic combo.

MIDDLE ROW
• 6 Florida Butter Beans with Caramelized Onions and Bacon - Another favorite from the Rancho Gordo book.
• 7 Gluten-Free Recipe: Braised White Beans - A lovely recipe from Shauna James Ahern's book.
• 8 Avocado-Lime Black Beans - A quick lunch recipe using canned beans.
• 9 No-Guilt Bean Dip - Creamy beans, low-fat dip.
• 10 Cuban Black Bean Soup - We love a bowl of good black bean soup.

BOTTOM ROW
• 11 Slow-Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas - A family favorite, made in the slow cooker.
• 12 Italian Marrow Beans with Tuna - One last recipe from the Rancho Gordo book. Fresh and fast.
• 13 Yam and Black Bean Burritos - Sweet potatoes and black beans make the best burritos!
• 14 Vegetarian Black Bean Espresso Chili - Don't forget chili!
• 15 Quick Southern-Style Baked Beans from Pioneer Woman - Probably the best baked bean recipe ever.

OK, your turn! What's your favorite way to use dried and canned beans? Do you have any especially creative recipes?

Better Beans: Reader Questions

Help! How Do I Properly Cook a Pot of Beans?
Perfectly Cooked Beans: Leave the Cover On or Off?
How Do I Cook Lupini Beans (Without It Taking 5 Days?)
Can I Freeze Cooked Beans?
How Do I Make Homestyle Mexican Pinto Beans?
How Can I Make Beans More Digestible?

(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)