I Bought Canned Beans, Now What Do I Do?

By: Anna Smith, MS, RDN, LDN

You stocked up on beans because they’re healthy and shelf stable, but now you’re staring at them stacked in your pantry wondering where to start. We’ve “bean” thinking about this, too!

Beans are one of the new food trends of the moment. They continue to be one of the top sellers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for good reason. They’re high in fiber and protein, and low in saturated fat, making them a nutrition powerhouse some might even consider a superfood. The good news is that we're here to help! Here we share our favorite recipes to get you started.

Pro Tip: If unable to find no salt added versions of your favorite beans, rinse them in water to reduce salt content by about 20%.

Hummus

Hummus is a delicious, healthy option perfect for dipping pita chips and vegetables, or even spreading on a sandwich. There are so many varieties offered in our stores, but it’s actually very easy to make your own. It is traditionally made with chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), but feel free to use any bean you have on hand. Also, if able, purchase un-hulled tahini as it contains the best nutrients.

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.

Burgers

Bean burgers are a must to try. The best part about bean burgers is there are no rules, so get creative using canned items you have on hand in your pantry. Add jalapeños for a Mexican flare, Italian bread crumbs for an Italian vibe, or even feta, olives and oregano for a Greek spin! You can also roll the patties into balls if you prefer! The possibilities are endless.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • ½ small red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Directions:

  1. Place the black beans, chili powder, salt, quinoa and carrots in a food processor and process for 3–4 minutes or until everything is combined and holds together.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Form 4 patties out of the bean mixture and place in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve the bean burgers on lettuce with, tomato, onion and avocado on top!

Casseroles

Healthy casseroles…because some days you just want to use minimal kitchen equipment and put forth minimal cooking effort. This recipe is packed with flavor and yields 8 servings so you’ll keep your family happy and fed for many meals. You can also repurpose this casserole by eating it over baked tortilla chips (mmm, nachos) or in a tortilla (quesadilla time)!

Healthy Mexican Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ⅛ tsp. coriander
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • 4–5 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeds removed
  • 1 tsp. chopped chili peppers
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ¼ cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook turkey in hot oil for 5–8 minutes, until the meat is browned. Stir in cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, coriander and water. Add black and pinto beans, tomatoes, chili peppers and corn. Stir well.
  3. Place the meat mixture in a 9" × 13" casserole dish and add cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Brownies

Chocolate brownies made with beans? Oh yes! Beans can replace butter or oil in a recipe to add a boost of nutrition and create a delicious treat. This recipe calls for garbanzo beans, but there are other options using black beans. As always, get creative and add sprinkles, walnuts, peppermint, pomegranate seeds or whatever your family likes!

Garbanzo Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, drained
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder

Directions:

  1. Place a cast-iron skillet in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Place eggs in a food processor with chickpeas. Purée until very smooth. It should have air bubbles, but stop before it starts to look like a meringue.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips in a double-boiler or microwave. Add a few tablespoons of chocolate to the processor and pulse. Then slowly pour in the rest of the chocolate. Scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. Once the mixture is a uniform color, add sugar and vanilla. Purée 1 minute. Add flour and baking powder. Purée until incorporated. Pour mixture into the preheated skillet and bake for 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Click here to learn more about Anna Smith, a Registered Dietitian with Kroger Health!