25 Recipes That Prove Beans Are the Magical Fruit

From baked beans to cassoulet, here's how to use the 40 cans of chickpeas, lentils, and black beans that you've got in your cupboard.
How to Stay In is a series about redefining "normal" life in order to take care of ourselves and one another during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That old adage about "tooting" has given beans a bad reputation, but look past it and you'll realize that the bean is the humble star of the bulk bin, the can aisle, and the pantry shelf. Beans are versatile, filling, affordable, and one of the best plant-based protein sources out there. Basically, if you're not obsessed with beans already, they deserve to be more of a star in your home cooking.

Beans come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties, and from the round little lentil to the giant runner beans from beloved bean-seller Rancho Gordo, we love them all. Here are our favorite ways to use beans.


Chickpea Fritters Recipe

A mixture of chickpeas and chickpea flour makes these fritters surprisingly filling and gluten-free.

Savory Chickpea Pancakes Recipe

Savory chickpea flour pancakes are common in France, Italy, and India. We love pairing them with roasted vegetables and a fried egg for a different take on the pancake breakfast.

Black Bean Breakfast Hash Recipe

Keep a can of beans on the shelf and eggs in the fridge, and you can throw together an easy hash anytime—just add whatever half-used things you've been looking to finish.

White Bean Breakfast Bake Recipe

This white bean breakfast bake makes a good argument for keeping a smoked ham hock in the freezer. For emergencies, you know?

Classic 7-Layer Dip Recipe

Guac and cheese might seem like the stars of the classic seven-layer dip, but it would be nothing without beans—two kinds, of course.

Cheesy Black Bean Dip Recipe

When you don't feel up for a whole seven-layer project, you can rely on this cheesy black bean dip for a similar experience.

Vegan Beet and Black Bean Burgers Recipe

You don't need to buy expensive fake meat to have a good veggie burger. Black beans make this vegan burger filling, while beets give it a little sweetness and color.

Mushroom and Lentil Veggie Burgers Recipe

These mushroom-and-lentil-based veggie burgers come from fourth-generation butcher Cara Nicoletti, so you can trust that they'll be satisfying.

Chorizo and Black Bean Molletes Recipe

With a little chorizo for spice, these cheesy open-faced sandwiches are the best way to use up leftover black beans.

Roasted Chickpea and Garlic Mash Recipe

We all know that mashed potatoes are just perfect as-is, but adding some garlic and crispy roasted chickpeas certainly isn't going to make things any worse.

Mushroom and Black Bean Adobo Recipe

Filipino adobo typically involves braising meat in soy sauce and vinegar. This vegetarian version swaps in black beans and mushrooms, as well as tamarind pulp for a more subtle tartness.

Perfect Cassoulet Recipe

A classic French cassoulet is the definition of project cooking, so don't expect a quick turnaround on this one. But if you've got a few days to plan ahead, it's the most luxurious way to prepare beans.

Turkey Chili Recipe

Beans in chili is a contentious topic. We're not trying to start any fights, but if you're Team Bean, this turkey chili with three different kinds of beans is for you.

Spicy Chickpea Stew Recipe

This chickpea stew made of mostly pantry staples is a good weeknight dinner go-to, especially for Meatless Mondays.

Easy Red Lentil Dhal Recipe

The best thing about beans is that they taste good on their own, but they can also hold up to a lot of seasoning if playing with spices is your thing. This meal prep-friendly dhal is a good reason to stock your spicy shelf.

Mussel Chickpea Stew Recipe

Mussels and clams give this seafood stew some heft, but lightly stewed chickpeas add a welcome change of texture.

Easy Okra Stew Recipe

Dug up a bag of okra in the freezer and don't know what to do with it? Rice, greens, and chickpeas will turn it into a comforting rainy day meal.

Beef and Black Bean Soup Recipe

This cheesy beef and bean soup is basically like a Frito pie that you can feel a little better about eating for multiple meals in a row.

Warm Lentil and Potato Salad Recipe

Potato salad isn't just a summertime picnic food. Serve it warm and with lentils, and you've got a comforting potato salad for anytime of year.

Kale, Chicory, and Chickpea Chopped Salad Recipe

If you're not the type that typically gets full from a simple chopped salad, all you need to do is add some chickpeas.

Collard Green Salad with Crispy Black Eyed Peas Recipe

Crispy black eyed peas are the perfect topping for a raw collard green salad, but you'll probably want to make extra because they're a great snack, too.

Easy Grain Salad Recipe

A grain salad is a good way to mix and match what you've got on your shelves. No chickpeas? Any other type of white bean, like great northern or cannellini, will work here.

Fava Bean Escabeche Recipe

Olive oil, peppers, and vinegar—and, of course, as much Jamón Ibérico as you can afford—turn frozen fava beans into a quick and easy bean salad that's anything but boring.

Udon with Edamame and Peanut Sauce Recipe

Edamame adds just the right amount of bright green crunch to this globally inspired peanut noodle dish.

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Yes, beans can even be part of dessert. This vegan chocolate mousse by Cool Beans author Joe Yonan relies on aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas, so choose one of the chickpea recipes above and then make this for dessert.

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