Canned beans are the perfect pantry-staple for so many reasons. They’ve got a long shelf-life, are high in protein and fiber, and are an essential ingredient for most stews, soups, and curries. But when used alone or simply as a filler, a can of beans can start to taste a little bland. Which is why we’ve created the definitive resource for cooking (and baking!) with canned beans of just about every variety— from black beans and pinto to garbanzo and cannellini. Each recipe is full of flavor and perfect for cooks of every skill-level. So grab your can opener and let’s get cooking!
1. 3-Can Chili
Need dinner in a hurry? You can do it! Or rather, you can with just 3 cans. This delicious chili recipe gets dinner on the table fast so you can wrap up your important conference call, focus on finishing that puzzle, or finally finish the page-turning mystery you started two years ago.
Why You’ll Love It: With a prep time of just 5 minutes and a cook time of 15, this truly is the ultimate last-minute dinner for busy weekdays or weekends where you’d rather relax than cook. But don’t worry, you won’t sacrifice taste for convenience. The trick is using pre-seasoned variations of your favorite canned staples to bring in the flavor and keep everyone coming back for seconds.
Pro-tip: Customize your Chili with your favorite toppings, aka whatever you currently have on hand. We love adding cilantro, shredded pepper jack, sour cream, diced avocados, green onions, or a handful of thinly sliced jalapeños for an extra kick.
2. Mexican Eggs with Chorizo and Beans
Wait, you don’t already consider beans a classic breakfast food? We’re about to change your mind. If you’ve stocked up on pinto beans and aren’t quite sure what to do with them, we highly suggest adding them to your morning rotation with this simple-but-satisfying recipe perfect for at-home brunches or a protein-fueled variation on breakfast for dinner.
Why You’ll Love It: It’s a perfect recipe for both beginners and experienced home cooks, which means everyone can enjoy a restaurant-style meal in under 30 minutes. That’s less time than you spend waiting for a table at your favorite brunch spot!
Pro-tip: No chorizo on hand? No problem! You can sub in just about any type sausage, or use ground turkey spiced with paprika for a low-fat alternative.
3. Black Bean Burger
Take back the black bean veggie burger with this flavor-infused recipe that even the most ardent meat-lovers will love.
Why You’ll Love It: The addition of feta and bbq sauce guarantee a burger with both great texture and flavor, avoiding a common problem with most meat-substitution recipes.
Pro-tip: Double the recipe and freeze the extra patties individually for a quick lunch or dinner. Your future self is already thanking you.
4. Slow Cooker BBQ Beans with Pork
We always appreciate a recipe that pulls double-duty as either a hearty side or tasty dinner. Our BBQ Beans with Pork go great alongside your backyard BBQ offerings, but can also be served on its own as an easy weeknight dinner alongside a loaf of your favorite bread.
Why You’ll Love It: The slower cooker does all the work, so dinner practically makes itself! Just prepare and assemble the ingredients in between your morning WFH meetings, set the slow cooker on low, and come back in a few hours to a meal ready to serve.
Pro-tip: Use up your leftovers by swapping out the pork ribs with whatever meat you’ve got in the fridge. Just shred, season with your favorite pork or BBQ seasoning, and add. Want to include more veggies? Sauté some bell peppers, poblanos, or jalapeños alongside the onions.
5. Butter Chickpea Curry
You found cans of chickpeas on sale at the grocery store and thought, “why not?” But now you’re not sure what to make with your new pantry staple after adding a few handfuls to your salads and soups. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, and we’d like to congratulate you on trusting your chickpea instincts because dinner is going to be delicious. Get ready to add this Butter Chickpea Curry to your go-to recipe rotation.
Why You’ll Love It: Tastes just like your favorite Indian takeout, but is budget-friendly and made in your very own kitchen. (We still encourage everyone to continue supporting their local eateries, but this is a great meal for nights when you want to enjoy cooking at home.)
Pro-Tip: Using your slow cooker a lot more lately? Consider grabbing a pack of heat-resistant slow cooker liners for an easy and quick clean-up.
6. Garlic Shrimp and White Beans
Recipe reviews refer to this meal as “comfort food to the max,” and say things like “I will most definitely be making this dish again” and “have made it multiple times now.” So we figured it was a must-have for our list. Make sure to serve alongside the recommended grilled bread, the recipe says it’s “optional,” but carbs are never optional when it comes to comfort food.
Why You’ll Love It: It’s another recipe that looks and tastes gourmet but is simple enough for beginners to master and enjoy. We know there’s a good cook in every kitchen, and this recipe is guaranteed to build up your cooking confidence.
Pro-Tip: Skip the canned tomato paste and try the tube version instead, your tomato paste will stay fresh longer and you’ll only use what you need!
7. Black Bean Brownies—No Flour Needed!
Don’t close the window! We’ve tried this recipe, and we promise the results are delicious. The black beans add to the rich and fudgy flavor of these brownies, and we promise that no one will know they’re the “healthy” version of your favorite treat. Good for you while tasting great? That’s all we want out of a can of black beans.
Why You’ll Love It: No flour needed for this dessert, so if flour is one of the items in short supply in your area, this is a great way to keep baking at home!
Pro-Tip: This recipe also calls for ½ cup quick oats, which I our opinion, makes it a perfectly acceptable breakfast option. Enjoy!
We hope you find ways to enjoy cooking at home with the resources you’ve gathered in your kitchens and pantries. Now is the perfect time to get creative, learn new skills, and keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy with great meals from your very own kitchen. Stay tuned for more resources and tips for delicious at-home dining, and happy cooking!