10 best recipes using a tin of beans

Understanding Spices

Do you have a tin of beans that’s been hiding away in the back of your pantry for… who knows how long? Well, it’s time to make good use of it. Beans are a cheap, quick and easy way to add more protein, fibre and iron into your diet. Some of the most popular bean varieties are kidney beans, butter beans, black beans, black eyed peas, pinto beans and cannellini beans. We’ve rounded up some of the best recipes which use a tin of beans — expect everything from soups and stews to salads and dips.

1.  Spanish rice and beans

This recipe for Spanish rice and beans from Dishing Out Health is a great way to use up those pantry staples. This vegetarian, gluten-free meal is packed with plant based protein. Better still, it comes together in one pot, making it perfect for weeknights. Onion and garlic form the base of this dish, with rice, kidney beans, canned tomatoes and olives delivering some serious flavour. Of course, no Spanish dish would be complete without spices — this recipe calls for paprika, chilli powder, oregano and cayenne pepper.

2.  One-pot braised chicken with kale and white beans

We love chicken thighs, and this recipe for braised chicken with kale and white beans from The Modern Proper is the perfect way to cook them. Juicy thighs with crispy skin are slowly braised alongside kale and creamy white beans. Finished with salty capers and fresh tarragon, this dish is easy to make, yet looks fancy enough to impress your dinner guests. Winner winner chicken dinner.

3.  Mediterranean white bean soup

If you’re looking for a quick and healthy soup, this recipe for Mediterranean white bean soup from Feel Good Foodie does the trick. You won’t need to add any dairy as white beans are naturally creamy, making the soup extra rich. You can use any white beans, including cannellini beans. The recipe calls for onions, carrots and celery, with the option of spinach or other greens like kale or collard greens. In keeping with the Mediterranean flavours, thyme and oregano are the best herbs to add to the soup.

4.  Creamy black bean curry

It’s curry night and this recipe for creamy black bean curry by The Fiery Vegetarian is a delicious and easy dish to whip up. Onions, garlic, tomatoes and black beans form the base of this curry, and you can always add your favourite veg if you like. Spinach, sweet potato or peppers would work really well and add some extra nutrition. This recipe doesn’t skimp on the spices either — you’ll need some garam masala, ground coriander, ground turmeric, cumin seeds and some cayenne pepper if you like it spicy.

5.  Sweet onion black bean dip

Chips and dips are essential at any gathering, and this recipe for sweet onion black bean dip from Inspired Taste is a crowd pleaser. This dip is the perfect marriage of sweet onions and creamy and mild black beans. The onions are caramelised until they’re wilted down and sweet before blending them together with the beans, sour cream and spices. Garlic powder, ground cumin, chilli powder and cayenne pepper add a deep and spicy element to the dip, with a spritz of fresh lime giving it that zing.

6.  Turkish white bean salad (Piyaz)

No one likes a boring salad. Adding beans to your salad can give it more flavour, more nutrition and keeps you feeling full for longer. This recipe for Turkish white bean salad from Unicorns In The Kitchen is a delicious and healthy side dish that pairs well with other Mediterranean dishes. This is a super easy recipe, and all you’ll need are white beans (preferably cannellini beans), tomatoes, red onions and parsley. The dressing is tangy and flavoursome, and you’ll only need olive oil, lemon juice, sumac and aleppo peppers.

7.  Slow cooker three bean stew with cocoa

Chocolate and beans? In a stew? You heard right — this recipe for three bean stew with cocoa from Savory Spin is a brilliant excuse to have chocolate for dinner. This slow cooker stew combines three kinds of beans (black beans, mung beans and garbanzo beans) with tomatoes, onion, garlic, garam masala and unsweetened cocoa to make a smooth, rich, creamy and savoury dish. For an extra indulgent touch, you can even add some cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese before baking it and enjoying it as a dip.

8.  Cajun style vegan red beans and rice

This traditional Louisiana style dish would be made with sausages, but this vegan version of Cajun style vegan red beans and rice from Emilie Eats is a great meat-free alternative. This hearty meal is full of fibre, whole grains and protein, and is perfect for cooler evenings. Red kidney beans, onion, garlic, pepper and celery form the base of the dish, with herbs and spices like thyme, bay leaves, paprika and cayenne pepper giving it a punch (try our Cajun spice blend for these flavours.) Serve with brown rice and chopped parsley.

9.  Sweet potato black bean burger

Need a burger fix? These sweet potato black bean burgers from Minimalist Baker are easy and delicious to make (they’re also vegan and gluten-free!) The burgers are made with baked sweet potatoes, black beans, onion and cooked brown rice, making them firm on the outside and tender on the inside. Spices like ground cumin, smoked paprika and chipotle powder give the burgers a smoky and subtly spiced flavour, contrasting nicely with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

10.Tuscan white bean pasta

If you’re looking to spice up your pasta game, beans can work really well. This Tuscan white bean pasta recipe from Budget Bytes is a great one-dish meal covering all your essential components — protein (white beans and parmesan), carbohydrates (pasta) and vegetables (spinach and tomatoes). It’s quick and easy to cook, making it ideal for weeknights. 

Need more beans? Here are some more recipes to try:

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