10 $5 Dinners That Start With a Can of Beans

Save money and time with these weeknight winners.

Easy Vegan Sheet Pan Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Garbanzo Beans

With food prices ever on the rise, it makes sense to find ways to create delicious meals with your budget in mind. One way to do that is by using more canned beans. Canned beans are inexpensive, shelf-stable, and can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways.

Talk about budget-friendly: Most canned beans cost between $1 to $2 for a 15-ounce can. A can typically provides three ½-cup servings, which means that each serving (about 4 ounces) is around 33 to 66 cents! Compare that to boneless, skinless chicken breast, which comes in at around $1.00 per 4-ounce serving.

Canned beans are even more budget-friendly because they're also shelf stable. The FDA says that canned beans, if free from dents, rust, or swelling, can last in your pantry for several years. Which means you can stock up when you see them on sale. More money back in your pocket!

But what do you do with all of your canned beans? A lot, it turns out: Here are 10 dinners that start with a can of beans and cost less than $5 per serving. So grab your can opener, because we've got something for everyone.

01 of 10

Taco Soup

Taco soup with beans, sour cream, and shredded colby jack cheese

Get all of the classic taco flavors–just in soup form–with this easy weeknight recipe. Canned kidney beans are the star, but other canned food items help this dish come together quickly. And with the help of premade ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning, the hardest thing you'll have to do is wait for it all to cook.

02 of 10

Delicious Black Bean Burritos

close up on two black bean burritos resting on top another
Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

A burrito seems like an obvious choice for this list, but we love this particular recipe because it packs plenty of flavor, even with its low, $3-per-burrito price tag. The flavor starts with a sauté of garlic and onion–both inexpensive, flavor-filled aromatic vegetables. A hit of heat from jalapeño is balanced with the creamy addition of cream cheese and fresh cilantro. This one is so good that we think it may just be better than the $8 version you buy from your favorite restaurant chain.

03 of 10

Easy Vegan Sheet Pan Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Garbanzo Beans

Easy Vegan Sheet Pan Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Garbanzo Beans

Looking for a new sheet-pan dinner that features the can of garbanzo beans you just bought? Try this version that's vegan-friendly and packed with veggies. Everything gets roasted in the oven and then it's just a simple toss with fresh lime juice and cilantro before serving. You can make the meal stretch by cooking up some white or brown rice to serve with it!

04 of 10

Garbanzo Stir-Fry

close up view of Garbanzo Stir-Fry with zucchini, onions, tomatoes and fresh herbs

The good thing about stir-fries is that they can be made with just about anything, including a can of beans. This version is less traditional, but still packs plenty of flavor. Fresh herbs and garlic are cooked with the beans along with zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Serve this one alongside your favorite whole grain to make it more of a meal.

05 of 10

The Best Baked Rice and Beans

The Best Baked Rice and Beans

At an unbelievable cost of about $1.50 per serving, this rice and beans casserole is a winner. It earned its nearly-5-star rating because it utilizes pantry staples but still delivers on flavor. You likely already have many of the spices in the recipe, and since there's very little hands-on time, you're free to multitask while your oven does all of the work!

06 of 10

Quinoa and Black Bean Chili

close up view of Quinoa and Black Bean Chili garnished with fresh herbs in a white bowl, served with tortilla chips on a white plate

Making a batch of delicious, veggie-forward chili can be a challenging thing. But this recipe delivers  all of the flavor and satisfaction of any meat-based version. The mixture of frozen, fresh, and canned veggies helps keep the cost low: around $4.50 per serving.

07 of 10

Chana Masala

Chana Masala (Chickpeas and Tomatoes)

Need a warm, cozy dish to feed your gang of four? This Indian-inspired curry is just the recipe! A can of garbanzo beans transforms with warm spices such as coriander and turmeric, and gets a peppery punch from ground ginger and cayenne. Coconut milk rounds out the dish to a creamy perfection.

08 of 10

Cauliflower Rice and Beans Fajita Bowls

Cauliflower Rice and Beans Fajita Bowl
Allrecipes Magazine

Everything tastes better in a bowl, including your fajitas. This recipe skips the tortillas as the base and substitutes riced cauliflower, which gets tossed with red onion, bell peppers, and spices and is then baked until tender. A can of pinto beans, along with some cotija cheese, cilantro, pepitas, green onions, and lime juice completes the fajita flavor just before serving.

09 of 10

Seven Layer Tortilla Pie

A slice of seven layer tortilla pie with sour cream

Not only is this recipe delicious (more than 500 reviews prove it), but it's economical at only $3.00 per serving. And don't worry about any outrageous ingredients here; just beans, salsa, tortillas, garlic, tomatoes, and sour cream are all you need to create this easy, budget-friendly crowd-pleaser.

10 of 10

Potato and Bean Enchiladas

Potato and Bean Enchiladas

Who needs meat, when you can make a delicious enchilada with beans and potatoes? While there are some moving parts with this recipe, the little bit of extra effort is worth it for the results. Save time by preparing the enchilada sauce the night before and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. The next day, all you need to do is pull the sauce out of the fridge right before you cook the potatoes, give it a stir, and add! 

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