The Best Recipes To Try When You Feel Like Eating Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! The first thing you might think of when the topic of beans comes up is that little ditty from childhood, but giggles aside, beans are one of those foods that you should definitely use more in your cooking.

Why? According to Medical News Today, beans have a ton of health benefits. They're high in essential nutrients like protein, iron, and fiber, they help reduce your risk of things like heart disease and certain types of cancer, they're lauded for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they've even been shown to help prevent the development of diabetes. They're also linked to promoting gut health, and let's be honest here for a minute: that's pretty important when it comes to keeping us feeling good.

Plus, beans are really good! Even if there's one or two varieties out there that you're not too keen on, there are plenty of others — and plenty of ways to get them on the dinner table in a way that will please everyone's palate. Let's talk about some creative bean recipes that are so good, you might just find yourself keeping a stock of dried beans in the pantry, ready to be re-hydrated!

Hoppin' John

Many southerners will know exactly what Hoppin' John is, because it's a classic example of southern comfort food. While the origins seem to be in South Carolina, it's not 100 percent clear; today, it's become a popular New Year's Day tradition. 

So, what is it? It's essentially cubed ham, chicken broth, and some veg, served over rice. (Or, if you like, it can also be added to a salad.) The beans come in the form of black-eyes peas which, in spite of being called a pea, are actually a bean (via the Library of Congress). Now you know!

Red beans and rice

The red beans in our red beans and rice recipe are light kidney beans, and they share the spotlight with some Cajun-style Andouille sausage... although you can definitely swap in whatever sausage you like (or have on hand). You can also switch this up by using brown rice, instead, which makes this a super versatile recipe you might never get tired of. There's a bonus here, too: not only is this dish incredibly healthy, but it's also a great side dish, it can also be a full meal by itself.

Collard wraps

Chickpeas — which are sometimes called garbanzo beans — are a legume that adds some health benefits and some heft to our falafel collard wraps. What, exactly, are they? These yummy wraps are a great appetizer for those times when you don't want to fill up before the main meal, and they're also just the right thing to introduce pretty much any Greek-themed meal. The chickpeas are a brilliant base that allows all the flavors — cumin, coriander, and a homemade tzatziki sauce — to shine through.

Pasta e fagioli

Beans are delicious in chili, sure, but what if you're not feeling something quite so heavy? Check out our recipe for pasta e fagioli, and don't let them name fool you. This isn't your typical pasta dish, this is a veggie-heavy soup filled with vibrant Italian flavors, along with three kinds of beans: cannellini, garbanzo, and northern. Since it's not as filling as chili, it's a perfect lunch or appetizer, and let's be honest: it's so tasty, you might just opt to have an extra bowl and call it dinner.

Instant Pot baked beans

Baked beans are a favorite even among people who say they're not super into beans, and it's no wonder. They're smoky, tomatoey, and everything about them says BBQ! Baked beans can be a little time-intensive, but who has time to tend a tray of baked beans all day? We've taken the hassle out of the equation with our Instant Pot baked beans recipe, and don't worry when you see the nearly two-hour cook time. Most of that is hands-off, and we could all use some free time to get other things done, right?


When you think of southern comfort foods, jambalaya is usually at the top of the list. Anyone who's ever been to New Orleans knows that they take their jambalaya so seriously that it's pretty much an art form, which makes the idea of whipping up a batch in your own kitchen kind of intimidating. It doesn't need to be! Just check out our one-pot jambalaya recipe for a slightly healthier take on a traditional jambalaya. Yes, we took a few liberties, but the result is something a little easier on the waistline — and a recipe you can make regularly, guilt-free!

Refried beans

Refried beans can be so much more than burrito filling: serve them on the side with some rice and corn, dab them on the top of nachos, and maybe best of all, smear them on a tortilla, then use that to wrap a hard-shelled taco and recreate Taco Bell's double-decker taco. Win, right?

Refried beans are so easy to make, it's really not even worth getting the canned version. Our refried beans recipe uses just eight ingredients and it's ready in just about half an hour. Taco Tuesdays, watch out!

Bean dip

The difference between refried beans and our super-easy bean dip isn't a heck of a lot, but it just takes a few ingredients to make a huge difference. If you've ever decided last-minute that you're going to go to that party after all, or that tonight would be a great night for an impromptu card game, this is the bean dip to make for any of those occasions, and more. It's also easy, healthy, and perfect for sharing.

Enchilada soup

Tacos are great, but enchiladas are amazing. It's the red sauce, right? If you're a fan, we have the perfect soup for you: an enchilada soup! Our chicken-based enchilada soup is incredibly versatile, and you can definitely tone it down or turn up the heat as much as you want. Not only does it come with a healthy helping of black beans, but it's also filled with other veggies, too. Red enchilada sauce is included for that distinctive flavor, and while it's great on the side, it doesn't take much to turn this into a whole meal.

Chickpea curry

There's nothing quite like a hearty curry, but if you've never dabbled in making your own, it can seem a little intimidating. There's a lot involved, after all, but we've made it simple with this chickpea curry recipe. Chickpeas are particularly brilliant in curry, because although they add some serious texture, their neutral flavor means that there's nothing overshadowing the delicious flavors of coconut, curry, chili powder, and turmeric. Add some rice and some naan, and you have a delicious, healthy meal!

Ham and bean soup

Ham is one of those meals that's great the first day, good the second, and beyond that...? Don't worry, it's our ham and bean soup recipe to the rescue! While it's good enough that you might want to get ham specifically with this in mind, the combination of northern beans, tomatoes, and cilantro — along with a few other ingredients — is just what you'll need to use up that last bit of ham that's kicking around in the fridge.

Slow cooker green bean casserole

Here's the thing about green beans: they're so frequently found in casseroles that it's hard not to do a total eye-roll when you hear "green bean casserole," but it doesn't have to be that way. 

Just check out our green bean casserole, which uses some classic ingredients, which is going to be greeted with smiles instead. You'll be smiling, too, when we tell you it just takes five minutes of prep and then three hours in the slow cooker. That's handy for the holidays, but honestly? That's pretty handy on any other day, too.

Slow cooker/turkey/3-bean chili

Beans are best when they're cooked low and slow, and that's why chili is a great option for serving up a hearty, bean-filled meal. To that end, check out our slow cooker chili recipe. If "slow" isn't what you're looking for, we also have this turkey chili recipe that uses cans of black and kidney beans to cut down on the cook time. And if that's not enough beans, check out our 3-bean chili. This vegetarian option adds pinto beans to the mix, and pro tip? Don't forget the sour cream to put on top.

White chicken chili

Love chili, but looking for something really different? How about this white chicken chili? Instead of the usual tomato-heavy chili that leans on beans like kidney and black beans, this recipe uses northern beans and corn along with chicken broth for a totally delicious twist on an old favorite. It's perfect for those dreary days that just need a little brightening up!

And don't worry — this chili also goes great with our beer bread, so you'll still have an excuse to whip up a loaf!

Taco Bell nachos/bean burrito

Is Taco Bell a guilty pleasure? Sure it is, because it's undeniably (and a bit inexplicably) delicious. However, one thing that can be a little hit-or-miss is their refried beans. They can range from watery to awesome to crusty, depending on how careful employees are. But if you're craving Taco Bell but don't want to take the chance of getting crusty beans, we have just the solution. 

For starters, check out our copycat triple layer nachos recipe; then, hop on over to our bean burrito copycat. Both recipes are super simple and take just five ingredients each.

Taco pizza

Pizza night is one of the best nights of the week, but what could be better than pizza? How about combining pizza night and Taco Tuesday into one delicious, easy, fun-to-make meal? We're talking about our taco pizza recipe, which uses refried beans instead of your typical pizza sauce, a pile of taco meat, and then all of your favorite taco topics. The sky's the limit, and even better, you can customize this recipe. With leftovers this good, it's a guarantee that nothing's going to go to waste!