18 Delicious Recipes with Dried Beans

updated Sep 29, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

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 18 recipes (many vegetarian) that celebrate the humble dried bean. From polenta and borlotti with tomato sauce to the best baked beans you’ll ever eat, we think you’ll like at least one of these.

Dried Beans Recipes

1 / 18
Cuban Black Bean Soup

When I was a kid, my family lived in Miami had a Cuban neighbor: Mrs. Garcia. I don’t know where she is now, but she gave my mother her recipe for black bean soup, which I still use to this day. It has ruined me for all other black bean soups — nothing I’ve had in Cuban restaurants has ever matched up to this.

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2 / 18
Slow Cooker Butter Bean Minestrone
Chef Hugh Acheson shares his Southern-influenced take on a minestrone. It's filled with creamy butter beans and prepared in the slow cooker.
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3 / 18
White Bean & Bacon Soup

Here’s the story of one of those soups: a white bean and bacon bowl, powered up by ham hock and red pepper, and with a little bit of everything that makes a soup good: creamy, brothy, chunky, rich with savory white beans and ham. It’s the perfect winter soup, all in one pot.

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4 / 18
Slow Cooker Pasta e Fagioli

This slow cooker recipe makes you fall in love with the bean and pasta Italians know best.

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5 / 18
Legume (Noodle) Soup

The soup is directly inspired by a Persian soup called ash-e reshteh.

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6 / 18
Slow-Cooker White Beans in Parmesan Broth

This white bean soup makes its own broth with some help from a Parmesan rind as it cooks in the slow cooker. It’s an easy dish for a busy weekday and manages to be satisfying without being too heavy or rich.

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7 / 18
Spanish Bean Soup (Potaje de Garbanzos)

This Spanish bean soup is not just any soup. Rather, it is a soup sent straight from the soup gods.

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8 / 18
White Bean & Chicken Sausage Stew

This soup is one of those magical recipes with just a few ingredients, and all the usual suspects — carrot, onion, beans, chicken broth — that nevertheless turns out to have such a deep, wonderful flavor you don’t mind that it makes enough to feed you for a week. And a Dutch oven is really the best vessel for it, because this soup is cooked just a little differently.

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9 / 18
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Chili is a thick, hearty one-pot meal best cooked low and slow, so put away the Dutch oven and plug in the slow cooker for this vegetarian number.
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10 / 18
Lemon Braised Chicken & Beans with Mint Pesto
A recipe for slow-cooked white beans and chicken thighs in a lemon and herb broth, which can be prepared in the oven or slow cooker.
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11 / 18
Black Beans and Plantains Breakfast Bowl
A pot cumin-spiced black beans becomes the perfect canvas for a vegetarian breakfast with sweet, fried plantains, and runny fried eggs.
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12 / 18
Slow-Cooker Chana Masala
Use your slow cooker to make this spiced tomato and chickpea stew.
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13 / 18
Red Beans & Rice in an Electric Pressure Cooker

Originally an ingenious, low-maintenance way to feed a house on pre-machine laundry day, “red beans and rice” worked its way into classic status through the region’s home, restaurant, and lunchroom menus.

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14 / 18
Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Dried field peas can be had for a song, keep indefinitely on the pantry shelf, and need only a little attention to get them started on the road to a satisfying low-and-slow meal. Add the fact that its flavor deepens overnight, and you have every reason to put this dish into your repertoire.

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15 / 18
Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta

Borlotti beans are also known as cranberry beans. In some places you can find these fresh, still in their mottled magenta pods. They are beautiful, cheap, and worth buying.

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16 / 18
Alice Waters' Chickpea and Broccoli Rabe Soup

If using canned beans omit the chickpea liquid and use 4 cups of chicken stock or broth.

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17 / 18
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

Can make two days ahead. Store in refrigerator. Freeze leftovers.

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18 / 18
Baked Beans with Pineapple and Bacon

A family recipe is important, even if we don’t remember all the parts, because each attempt at its re-creation keeps us connected to the people who helped shape us. It happens each time we do that intimate, life-sustaining cooking and eating thing, especially when we do it from a place of memory.

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