10 Tips for Making a Meal out of Canned Beans


How can you make a meal out of canned beans? Sharon Palmer has her top tips to make a healthy, budget-friendly, quick, delicious meal out of canned beans.

Open a can of beans to unleash so much opportunity! Indeed, there is just so much to love about canned beans; each can is packed with nutrition (protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals) for pennies per serving. These plant-based superstars are shelf-stable, easy to use (no cooking or chopping required), and sustainable. Plus, canned beans are part of delicious, healthful food traditions around the world. And don’t forget that canned beans—chickpeas, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, cannellini beans, pinto beans, black beans, and navy beans—are so versatile. One way you can make a meal out of canned beans in minutes is to simply open the can and pour them into easy, no-fuss dishes—no recipe required. Here are my top tips for cooking a meal right out of your pantry with the help of a can of beans.

10 Tips for Making a Meal out of Canned Beans

10 Tips for Making a Meal out of Canned Beans
Add beans to savory oats, such as this recipe for Florentine Oatmeal Bowl.

1. Breakfast on Savory Oats. The next time you make your morning oatmeal bowl, top it with savory additions, such as canned beans, dark leafy greens (kale or spinach), sliced mushrooms, and a dash of hot sauce.

10 Tips for Making a Meal out of Canned Beans
Burrito with Refried Beans and Corn

2. Wrap Up a Healthy Burrito. Grab a whole grain tortilla and slather it with refried beans (pinto or black), leafy greens, and whatever fresh veggies you have on hand, such as tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and cilantro.

10 Tips for Making a Meal out of Canned Beans
Chipotle Tomato Rice Power Bowl

3. Design Your Own Grain Bowl. Just follow this easy formula: Cooked whole grains (i.e., brown rice, quinoa, or farro) + canned beans + seasonal veggies + a flavorful dressing = fabulous, healthy meal!

10 Tips for Making a Meal out of Canned Beans
BEST Classic Hummus

4. Whiz up Bean Spread. Throw a can of drained beans into a blender with lemon juice, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, and your favorite seasonings to make your own bean spread to slather over sandwiches or serve with veggies.

green and gold salad 5
Green and Gold Brown Rice Salad

5. Toss Together an Entrée Salad. Line a bowl with leafy greens, then top with canned beans and whatever veggies you have in your fridge, and then drizzle on a touch of olive oil and lemon juice for the freshest salad ever.

white bean oat veggie burger 6
Curried White Bean Oat Veggie Burgers

6. Mash Up the Best Bean Burgers. Mash up a can of drained beans and add a scoop of old-fashioned oats, a spoon full of ground flax seeds, your favorite herbs, and a finely diced onion and carrot. Then shape into patties and bake on sheets until firm and golden brown to make your own bean burgers.

cauliflower taco 5
Easy Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos

7. Get Your Taco Tuesday Started. Serve up corn tortillas with a side of canned beans and a platter of veggie toppings, such as cabbage, lettuce, cilantro, olives, radishes, avocados, and onions. Then let everyone build their taco just the way they like it.

penne with white beans updated 5
Penne with White Beans and Greens

8. Create a Beans and Greens Pasta Meal. Sauté onions and garlic with olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan, then add greens (i.e., spinach, chard, kale, collards, mustard greens), canned beans, cooked pasta and your favorite herbs for a pasta meal in one.

quinoa corn bean chowder updated 2
Use canned beans in chili, soup, and chowders, such as this recipe for Quinoa Corn Bean Chowder.

9. Make an Easy Chili. Cook together canned beans, canned tomatoes, onions, and chili powder to make a fast and easy home-style chili bowl.

1G.Shanghai Stir Fry 7 of 10 scaled
Add canned beans to your favorite stir-fry, such as this recipe for Vegetable Stir-Fry with Forbidden Rice.

10. Stir-Fry to Perfection. In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry your favorite blend of vegetables (i.e., onions, celery, carrots, snow peas, asparagus, cabbage, sprouts) in vegetable oil. Add soy sauce, garlic, and a can of drained beans. Serve your stir-fry with a side of brown rice to make it a meal.

For more information on beans, check out the following blogs:

How to Use an Instant Pot to Cook Pulses
Power Up on the Plant Protein Star Pulses
7 Tips for Powering Up on Pulses
Pulses, Cornerstone of the Mediterranean Diet
What Do I Do If Pulses Cause GI Distress?
Eat More Pulses to Manage PCOS

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