how to use beans canned and dried
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Wondering how to use beans when faced with a surplus in the pantry? From black beans to chickpeas and canned beans to dried, here are the best ways to use beans (without ever getting bored).

It’s likely your kitchen is all of a sudden stocked with a lot of beans. Maybe you’re embracing the plant-based movement? Or maybe it’s what experts advise to keep in stock during a pandemic? Maybe a little from column A, a little from column B? Either way, welcome to the club!

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping a Pantry Like a Pro

Why Beans? Why Now?

Resupply MissionThe Best Places to Restock Pantry Staples OnlineFor starters, they’re the Methuselah of pantry staples. Dried beans have a shelf life of up to two years and canned beans for up to five years, though many would argue you can safely consume them well beyond those ranges.

But perhaps more importantly, they have tremendous nutritional benefits being rich in both protein and antioxidants. The song you loved as a child was not lying—they are quite good for your heart. (We’ll gladly sidestep discussion on the latter part of that ditty.)

And due to their neutral flavor, they’re adaptable to endless recipes making them a longtime staple in culinary culture worldwide. So ditch the idea that they’re only good to have around in times of crisis.

Related Reading: How to Safely Shop for Groceries During the Coronavirus Pandemic

First Things First

how to cook beans

Claudia Totir / Moment / Getty Images

If you have dried beans, SOAK THEM, preferably overnight. Doing this majorly cuts down on cooking time and also helps prevent the skin from splitting. Check your packaging to verify soaking times (4-12 hours is the norm) and keep in mind too long a bath will negatively affect flavor and texture. Read more about how to cook dried beans (including an easy secret ingredient so they taste amazing).

If you have canned beans, RINSE THEM. The liquid is mostly harmless (if not helpful in some cases; see: aquafaba), but it contains sodium, if that’s a concern, and also has a slimy quality that you generally do not want to add to any dish.

Now that you know how to prep them, go forth and enjoy these recipes that cover a wide variety of beans that can be transformed into tasty dips, snacks, sides, and mains.

Garbanzo Beans (aka, Chickpeas)

Hummus

easy hummus recipe

Chowhound

Forget paying a premium for store-bought hummus. As long as you have a food processor, it’s much easier than you might think to make your own and you can ensure every ingredient is all-natural. The only hard part is choosing how to spice up your creamy, tahini-spiked dip. Cumin and/or paprika are popular add-ins. Try using za’atar, a blend that includes sumac and sesame seeds, for a twist. For added heat, a pinch of cayenne does the trick. Get our Easy Hummus recipe.

Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas

easy roasted chickpeas

Chowhound

You’re bored. You want a snack. Typically this ends with you eating something unhealthy in large, embarrassing quantities. Break that cycle and whip up these crunchy little morsels. Not only are they guilt-free, as they roast in the oven, your home will fill with the comforting scent of spices. Win, win, win. Get our Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas recipe.

Chickpea Curry


While this recipe doesn’t include all of the uncommon (in the U.S., anyway) ingredients within an authentic Indian chana masala, it’s the next best thing considering it’s much faster and easier to put on the table. It also makes brilliant use of other canned foods such as fire-roasted tomatoes and coconut milk. Feel free to substitute the fresh spinach with frozen (1 cup should do the trick). Get the Chickpea Curry recipe.

See more chickpea recipe ideas.

Black Beans

Cuban Black Beans

cuban black beans

Chowhound

These black beans with a Caribbean flair are big on flavor thanks to a veggie and spice combo plus a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for a little tang. You’re gonna need an 8-quart slow cooker for this hefty batch, but it’s easy enough to scale down if you’re working with a smaller one. Try pairing these babies with juicy, garlicky Cuban Pork. Get our Cuban Black Beans recipe.

Vegan Black Bean Chili

Instant Pot vegan black bean chili

Chowhound

If you’re on the fence about investing in an Instant Pot, here’s a great reason to do so.  Stovetop chili can takes hours to prepare but this pressure cooked pot of spicy, homey goodness is ready to go in only 90 minutes. It also happens to be entirely plant-based, so if you’re also on the fence about switching up your diet, start here and don’t look back. Get our Vegan Black Bean Chili recipe.

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Black Bean Breakfast Burritos

vegetarian black bean breakfast burritos

Chowhound

Can’t go out to Sunday brunch? No problemo, amigo. These burritos have you covered and are perfectly portioned for a family of three, or one very hungry couple. Consider Tomatillo Salsa for the ideal topper. Get our Black Bean Breakfast Burritos recipe.

Black Bean Brownies


Yes, really. Black beans give these gluten-free, vegan brownies a fudgy texture and you won’t taste anything but chocolate (with subtle hints of cinnamon and chili powder for a Mexican-inspired spin). Even if you don’t prioritize healthy desserts, you’ll love that you can whip these up anytime, even if you run out of your usual eggs and flour. Get our Gluten-Free, Vegan Black Bean Brownie recipe.

See more black bean recipe ideas.

Pinto Beans

Warm Cheesy Bean Dip

Warm Cheesy Bean Dip

Chowhound

Get it while it’s hot! You’ll be the hit of your quarantine gathering (no more than 10 people, please) with this classic and comforting crowd pleaser. If you have any left over (how would that even be possible?), it’s a more-than-welcome addition to any breakfast burrito (see above). Get our Warm Cheesy Bean Dip recipe.

Mexican Pinto Beans


There are a scant 10 ingredients in this one pot wonder. Of course, the pintos are the headliners but the standout co-star is chipotle in adobo. Just one pepper is needed to add spicy and smoky oomph to this satisfying side. Get the Mexican Pinto Beans recipe.

See more pinto bean recipe ideas.

Kidney Beans

Vegetarian Chili

vegetarian chili

Chowhound

Where’s the beef? Who cares! Not only does this chili take much less time to cook than its meaty counterpart, it’s healthier for you and you don’t have to sacrifice on flavor. Plus, you’ll still have plenty of leftovers to spare you from cooking the next day. Make it an all-kidney affair or bring black beans into the mix for some variety. Get our Vegetarian Chili recipe.

See more kidney bean recipe ideas.

Navy Beans

Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Home Bone Soup


Navy beans! Navy beans! Navy beans! Set sail for Lunch Lady Land with this nostalgic favorite that’s especially ideal for those who are watching their grocery budget. Ham hocks make a great addition— they’re a very inexpensive cut of meat, and when cured, pack a huge punch of salty, smokey porkiness. Go old school and work with dried beans (of course, giving yourself the proper lead time to soak them).You can toss in chopped carrots and/or celery for an appetizing dash of color, but the soup tastes delicious either way. Get the Nana’s Epic Navy Bean Home Bone Soup recipe.

Easy Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Slow Cooker Baked Beans and Hot Dogs

Chowhound

This campfire favorite translates perfectly to your home kitchen. Sweet and savory, serve alongside some dogs or burgers for a festive cook-in. Get our Easy Slow Cooker Baked Beans recipe.

Cannellini Beans

Braised White Beans With Chard

braised whtie beans (easy weekight dinners you can make from pantry staples)

Chowhound

Chard provides some crunch and a welcome bitterness to this winter favorite. Though not quite a full-fledged soup, it’s brothy so a bowl is certainly required. Don’t forget crusty bread to sop up each and every drop. Get our Braised White Beans With Chard recipe.

White Bean Parmesan Soup


Need a quick and easy meal that will last you a long time? This 10 minute soup definitely fits the bill. If you’re looking to take advantage of some of those frozen veggies that are taking up valuable freezer space, now’s the time to use them. Get the White Bean Parmesan Soup recipe.

See more cannellini bean recipe ideas.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-Eyed Pea Vegan Burgers

best vegetarian grilled mains for veggie BBQ

Chowhound

Veggie burger options may be a dime a dozen, but finding patties that actually taste good is a whole other story. Here’s a recipe that definitely definitely delivers, highlighted by a satisfying combination of black-eyed peas (which, for the record, are actually legumes) and cremini mushrooms. Together they offer a rich depth of flavor and a nice consistency. The burgers are easy to freeze so go ahead and prepare a large batch. Get our Black Eyed-Pea Vegan Burgers recipe.

Chicken and Black-Eyed Pea Chili

Secret Ingredient Chicken and Black-Eyed Pea Chili with Jalapeño Brine

David Loftus

When it comes to chili beans, black-eyed peas tend to be an afterthought. But this easy and healthy chicken-based version from Julie Turshen proves they should be elevated from Taboo to Fergie status. Don’t forget the secret ingredient: jarred jalapeño brine, which adds a welcome hit of acid to the pot. Get the Chicken and Black-Eyed Pea Chili recipe.

Related Video: How to Properly Store Leftover Canned Beans


Header image by Chowhound

David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.
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