41 Ways to Prepare Beans

Beans are one of the healthiest - yet most neglected foods in our diet. Here are 40 suggestions for tasty ways to prepare beans.

They're kind of the prunes of the protein world, yet even despite the frequent (and sometimes quite funny) flatulence jokes, beans manage to maintain their important place in our diet. Beans are among the easiest and healthiest protein choices by far: they grow in virtually every climate and store much longer than animal proteins. They contain fiber, too, which helps us to feel full longer and is necessary for a healthy heart, cholesterol levels and proper digestive function.

If you shy away from beans out of concerns about flatulence, you can try soaking your beans overnight in a mixture of water and vinegar (1 teaspoon to a quart of water) to help make the beans more digestible. (This is actually recommended for everyone to reduce the enzyme inhibitors and make the beans healthier.) Always avoid canned beans unless the packaging is guaranteed BPA-free. BPA is a harmful endocrine disruptor linked to serious health issues including reproductive and developmental problems and certain types of cancer. 

Read more about cancer prevention

In addition to their many benefits to our health, beans are incredibly versatile, flavorful and fun to work with. There are hundreds of ways to prepare beans (and I'm including lentils, though it's technically a legume). To get you started here are 40 recipe ideas for beans. In most soup and stewed bean cases you can substitute any bean in a recipe with your favorite. Dips, spreads and some other recipes may not have as much flexibility—but you can certainly experiment! Eat on!


Dips and Spreads

Whether dips or pates are your thing, you can make them a whole lot healthier by adding beans. This is great for game day entertaining or for light meals like a late lunch.

1. White bean spread

2. Spicy refried pinto bean dip

3. Smoky black bean dip

4. Walnut-lentil pate

5. Garbanzo bean hummus


For many people, soup is the one-place where beans are expected and welcomed (even if loathed elsewhere). Their softness melts into warm soup for hardy satisfaction.

6. Tuscan white bean

7. Lima bean

8. Vegan split pea soup

9. Spicy red lentil

10. Greek green lentil

11. Cuban black bean

12. Filipino Tomato mung bean

13. Grandma's bean & barley

14. Turkish 3 bean

Hearty Meat Replacements

As a protein source, beans are excellent in place of meats, particularly if you're vegan, or when you aren't able to access an organically raised meat product. Veggie burgers made with whole beans satisfy vegans and carnivores alike! 

15. Veggie bean burgers, 10 ways

16. Lentil loaf

17. Seitan roast with red lentil

18. Red lentil croquettes

Stewed dishes

Thicker than soups, stewed bean dishes are essential winter eats. They warm the body and spirit. Whether they're served by themselves or part of a meal, they bring new life to bean recipes.

19. Pasta y Fagioli

20. Lentil pumpkin

21. 3-bean Chili

22. Indian chana masala

23. Creole black eyed peas

24. Boston baked beans

25. Moroccan white beans

26. Red bean stew 

27. Spicy fava bean and eggplant 


28. Avocado and pinto enchiladas

29. Black bean tacos

30. Chickpea, spinach and squash gnocchi 

31. Pinto bean pie 

32. Lentil, rice and veggie bake 

33. White beans with roasted red pepper and pesto

34. Mean greens and beans

35. Baja black bean cakes

36.Hoppin' John black-eyed pea fritters

37. Minted fava bean salad

38. Okra gumbo with chickpeas and red kidney beans

39 Navy bean gravy

40. Vegan beanballs

41. Bean Bolognese

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: cookbookman17

By Jill Ettinger| March 31, 2014
Categories:  Eat
Keywords:  EatFood and Nutrition

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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