Beans – Cooking and Tips

There’s a thousand ways to cook a bean, and we’ve got all the creative inspiration you need to learn how to incorporate this diverse and nutritious ingredient into your weekly meal plan. Beans are the ultimate ingredient: they’re flavorful, adaptable, easy to prepare, and packed with plant-based protein fiber. So it’s no surprise that beans remain the cornerstone of cuisines from around the globe.

Check out our collection of recipes from different chefs, authors, dietitians, and culinary influencers. You’ll be surprised to see how many delicious dishes you can make from the humble bean.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Beans 

Beans are versatile, delicious, and easy to use. All they need is a little preparation. A few simple tips can ensure that you are prepping, cooking, and storing your beans correctly. 


Start by Soaking 

Soaking dried beans speeds up the cooking time and makes them easier to digest, while adding some salt to the soaking water helps break down their outer skin. You can soak the beans covered overnight in two inches of water or you can do a quick soak, which involves covering the beans with two inches of water, bringing to a boil, and letting them sit with the lid on for an hour with the heat turned off.  Keep in mind that pulses like lentils and split peas don’t need to be soaked. 


Give a Good Rinse 

Remember to rinse and drain your canned beans before you cooking with them. Most canned beans come in a thick, viscous liquid that tends to be full of starch and also loaded with sodium. Add your opened can of beans to a colander and rinse thoroughly before using. 


Don’t Over Season

Canned beans retain a lot of sodium even after they’re drained and rinsed. Taste your dish before adding extra salt, so that you don’t over season.


Store Opened Cans in Glass or Plastic 

A can of beans is often too much for one serving, and although it’s tempting to store them in their can, make the extra effort to transfer the beans to a plastic or glass container before putting them in the refrigerator. If not, you run the risk of the beans absorbing/developing a metallic flavor.

Bean Recipe Inspiration 

Make into Dips and Spreads

Turning chickpeas into hummus isn’t much of a revelation, but you shouldn’t be afraid to add other beans to the blender. The creaminess of black beans, pinto beans, and cannellini beans makes them excellent candidates for flavorful dips and spreads. 


Supplement Your Stew

Adding beans to soups and stews is a terrific way to boost the protein and fiber content of your meals. Beans possess their own unique flavors and textures, so mixing them into vegetarian chili, minestrone, or Tuscan stew can make for a more complex, heartier meal. 


Recreate “Meaty” Dishes

You can easily transform beans into a variety of plant-based versions of meaty dishes. Form mashed or blended beans into patties, “meat” balls, or sliders and top with all your favorite fixins.


Get Inspired by Our Recipe Library

Find a new recipe, or a new spin on an old favorite, that makes beans the star of your Meatless Monday by browsing our recipe library.

Download our free culinary assets

Culinary Benefits Assets

Get inspired to cook with beans with graphics highlighting easy bean-forward recipes and cooking hacks.

Return to the Resource Center

Check out the rest of our beans resources.