20 Ways to Turn Beans into a Cheap and Wholesome Meal

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

If you’re on the hunt for cheap yet wholesome protein, the answer is beans! It doesn’t matter if you choose to cook dried beans or opt for the convenience of cans — both are wallet-friendly options that can be transformed into hearty main dishes that satisfy just about any night of the week. We rounded up 20 of our favorite bean-centric recipes. Some are completely vegetarian, while others toss a little meat in the mix for flavor. Most are quick to prepare, including a recipe for black bean tacos that will truly only take you 10 minutes to whip up.

Recipes Featuring White Beans

Whether you call them white beans or cannellini beans, there’s no denying the versatility of this creamy variety.

Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Recipes Featuring Black Beans

Black beans are incredibly meaty given their petite size, which means they make for a great vegetarian filling for tacos and burritos. They love a hit of spice or heat, so these recipes often pack a big punch of flavor.

3-Bean Israeli Couscous Salad(Image credit: Christine Han)

Recipes Featuring Kidney Beans

Kidney beans aren’t just for chili — use them to make classic red beans and rice or a spicy Indian curry. We love how their starchy texture lends creaminess to every bite.

Zucchini-Chickpea Fritters with Red Onion Jam(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Recipes Featuring Chickpeas

Okay, so technically it’s a legume, but the mighty chickpea can do no wrong. Toss them into a dinner-worthy salad, simmer them in a soup, or shape them into crispy fritters!