Flavor Combinations: Beans, Herbs, and Spices

updated May 12, 2022
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With all the bean talk this month, we started thinking about which herbs and spices go well with specific varieties of beans. In general, most beans go well with herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, and thyme. You usually can’t go wrong with garlic and onions, either. Specific kinds of beans, like fava beans or mung beans, have other affinities with particular herbs and spices.

This is not to say that other combinations won’t work. As always, we advocate intuitive experimentation in the kitchen – follow your own taste buds! But if you need some inspiration, or want to try something different, here are some common pairings to get you started. Tell us about any of your favorites in the comments.

Aduki Beans: coriander, cumin, ginger

Black Beans: bay leaf, chile peppers, cilantro, coriander, cumin, epazote, garlic, ginger, oregano, parsley, savory, thyme

Black-Eyed Peas: bay leaf, cayenne, chile peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric

Cannellini Beans: parsley, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme

Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): cardamom, cilantro, coriander, cumin, fennel, garlic, ginger, mint, paprika, parsley, rosemary

Fava Beans: basil, cilantro, cumin, fennel, garlic, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme

Flageolet Beans: parsley, savory, thyme

Kidney Beans: bay leaf, cumin, fennel, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, thyme

Lentils: bay leaf, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry, ginger, mint, parsley, oregano, thyme, turmeric

Lima Beans: cilantro, mint, parsley, sage

Mung Beans: cilantro, coriander, cumin, ginger

Navy Beans: basil, bay leaf, garlic, parsley, savory, thyme

Pinto Beans: chile peppers, cilantro, cumin, oregano, parsley, savory

Related: How to Cook Beans

(Image: Emily Ho)