10 Recipes That Start With a Bag of Beans
Dried beans are a mealtime hero. They require a little more time and effort than canned beans, but they’re so affordable and so long-lasting that they deserve an equal amount of praise (if not more). And honestly, they don’t take that much more effort than canned beans, especially if you’re cooking them in the slow cooker or pressure cooker; even if you’re cooking them in the oven or on the stovetop, you can quick-soak them in an hour.
Read More: 4 Essential Ways to Cook Dried Beans
So if you happen to have a bag of beans on hand, here are recipes that will turn them into a delicious, satisfying meal.
1. Slow Cooker Butter Bean Minestrone
If you can’t find dried butter beans for this brothy soup, any kind of dried white bean will work well, too. To make it heartier, boil up some short pasta like elbow macaroni or ditalini and stir it into the finished soup.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Butter Bean Minestrone
2. Lemon-Braised Chicken & Beans with Mint Pesto
This is a delicious way to turn a pot of beans into a full meal without having to dirty any other pots and pans. The chicken thighs are nestled right in the pot with the beans so they both soak lots of the lemony, garlicky broth as they cook.
Get the recipe: Lemon-Braised Chicken & Beans with Mint Pesto
3. Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta
Borlotti beans are also known as cranberry beans but dried white beans or even pinto beans can be used in their place. If you really want to cut corners, you can even swap the homemade tomato sauce with a jar of your favorite marinara.
Get the recipe: Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta
4. Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
This is the perfect recipe to make when you have a few half-empty bags of dried beans in your pantry. You can mix and match here and you’ll get great results every single time.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
5. Cuban Black Bean Soup
This classic soup gets its deep flavor from a ham bone or smoked ham hock. If you can’t find one or simply want to make this recipe vegetarian, skip it and swap in a few generous pinches of smoked paprika instead.
Get the recipe: Cuban Black Bean Soup
6. How to Make Traditional French Cassoulet
We aren’t going to lie: This French cassoulet is a project. However, if you’ve got the time and feel like tackling something that’s extremely rewarding, it’s well worth it.
Get the recipe: How to Make Traditional French Cassoulet
7. Slow Cooker Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e fagioli is one of the most comforting soups around and this slow cooker version is no different. Use any small dried pasta shape you have on hand — elbow macaroni, orzo, and even orecchiette works.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Pasta e Fagioli
8. Rancho Gordo’s Santa Maria-Style Pinquitos & Tri-Tip Steak
These unique pink-hued beans made by heirloom bean company Rancho Gordo truely make this grilled steak dinner stand out. However, regular old dried pintos or white beans would also work well.
Get the recipe: Rancho Gordo’s Santa Maria-Style Pinquitos & Tri-Tip Steak
9. 10-Hour Slow Cooker Chana Masala
If chana masala is one of your go-to orders at your local Indian restaurant, try this homemade version. You’ll find that letting the spiced chickpeas cook slowly all day results in something totally superior.
Get the recipe: 10-Hour Slow Cooker Chana Masala
10. How to Make Red Beans & Rice in an Electric Pressure Cooker
If you can’t find andouille sausage for this recipe, try kielbasa or even diced ham. Neither will be traditional but they’ll definitely still be very, very tasty.
Get the recipe: How to Make Red Beans & Rice in an Electric Pressure Cooker