15 Bean Recipes That Go Global and Far Beyond Basic

Air Fryer Vegetarian Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos
Photo: Brie Passano

Bean there, done that with your usual chili recipe or black bean soup? We get it: Both dried and canned beans had a major moment during the pandemic, and will be a budget-friendly, pantry staple win long after the world (and supermarket supply) returns a bit more to normal. So we've rounded up some unique bean recipes that will make it easy and delicious to eat meatless. These crowd-pleasing, globe-spanning dinner recipe ideas—including falafel, quesadillas, curries and more—offer a healthy dose of fiber and plant-based protein along with a lot of flavor.

01 of 15

Roasted Vegetable Bowl with White Beans and Garlic-Balsamic Dressing

Calling all meal prep devotees! These surprisingly hearty roasted vegetable, potato and white bean bowls can be made up to three days ahead. Simply store in separate containers and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble and devour.

02 of 15

Sean's Falafel and Cucumber Sauce

Sean's Falafel and Cucumber Sauce 200866 JOANNAH 25309
Photo by JOANNAH.

When you're craving street food but want to stay cozy at home, turn to this canned chickpea fix. With a creamy, tzatziki-like cucumber yogurt sauce, just add a warm pita and you have a Mediterranean meal that tastes and smells just like one you'd order from a popular New York food truck.

03 of 15

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Lasagna need not include ground beef to be filling and flavorful. This meatless Mexican casserole substitutes in black beans and corn for the beef and tortillas for the noodles for a creative twist on the comfort food entrée.

04 of 15

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

black bean burger patty on a multigrain bun with toppings
Gord Linder

Newsflash: Not all veggie burgers taste like those hockey puck-like frozen supermarket versions. This fast and fresh black bean patties are nicely spiced with chili powder, cumin and hot sauce, and have earned more than 2,000 five-star reviews for good reason. "These are tasty and at a fraction of the cost of store purchased veggie burgers," says mschiff. "I have eaten just about every brand of store veggie burger that's out there [and] these are far superior."

05 of 15

Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and White Beans

Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and White Beans
Photo by WIMSEY.

You're just five ingredients and 25 minutes away from a well-balanced, restaurant-quality dinner. Meal magic happens when you toss penne with canned tomatoes and cannellini beans. Fresh spinach and salty feta round out the fast vegetarian main dish (that happens to pack in as much protein as four eggs!).

06 of 15

Andrea's Pasta Fagioli

Andrea's Pasta Fagioli

Unlimited salad and breadsticks are optional—but recommended—to pair with this Olive Garden copycat recipe. Cannellini and navy beans join dainty ditalini pasta in an Italian-spiced tomato broth that will keep everyone going back for bowl after bowl.

07 of 15

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

With a lovely blend of sweet, savory and spicy flavors from a pinch of brown sugar, black beans and red pepper flakes, respectively, this cheesy quesadilla recipe might just trump your go-to restaurant appetizer rendition. If you're sharing them with gluten-free diners, simply trade in corn tortillas for the flour ones.

08 of 15

Air Fryer Vegetarian Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos

Air Fryer Vegetarian Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos
Brie Passano

Break out your air fryer to make quick work out of "roasting" the warmly-spiced chickpeas and cauliflower in this thoroughly modern twist on tacos. Serve them with a buffet of toppings, including Sriracha sauce, fresh cilantro and sour cream, so everyone can top to their heart's content.

09 of 15

Butter Chickpea Curry

Butter Chickpea
Photo by Marisa Ramirez.

Admittedly, this is not the most traditional version of this classic Indian recipe. But it sure is delicious and easy, thanks to a mix of canned chickpeas, canned condensed tomato soup (trust us!), potatoes and a variety of Indian spices. Enjoy it over rice or with warm naan to round out the fusion meal.

10 of 15

The Best Baked Rice and Beans

The Best Baked Rice and Beans
Chef John

Who knew you could coax so much flavor out of five pantry staples and a handful of spices? Chef John, that's who, and it's why he created this popular Spanish-inspired entrée. A couple cans of kidney beans, some basmati rice, a jar of salsa, olive oil and chicken broth combine with zesty spices for a delicious dump-and-bake weeknight casserole recipe.

11 of 15

Favorite Mexican Salad

Take 20 minutes and toss together a vegetarian taco salad that "is visually stunning tastes incredible!" according to Patty Cakes. Ranch-style beans and corn chips replace the beef and fried taco shell to make this a lighter and faster-fix meal. Fresh avocado, green onions and tomatoes lend more Mexican flair.

12 of 15

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans

Close up of Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans
Brian Bauder

For a stick-to-your ribs vegetarian dinner that even the most ardent carnivores will crave, say yes to gnocchi. Especially if it's this gnocchi skillet that features protein-rich white beans and two cheeses, plus fiber-filled chard and canned tomatoes. Watching your calories and carbs? Try this with cauliflower gnocchi instead of the classic potato kind.

13 of 15

Chickpea Maltagliati e Fagioli

Dried beans transform into a magical soup once you soak them overnight and mix with a blend of fresh herbs, pasta, vegetables and garlic. Add a green salad and a slice or two of homemade bread and you'll feel like you're sitting in a cozy Italian trattoria!

14 of 15

Black Bean Vegetarian Meat Loaf

Admittedly, "meat loaf" is a bit of a misnomer since this comfort food dinner calls for black beans instead of any meat. But it tastes just as savory and flavorful, thanks to mix-ins like crushed Ritz Crackers, jalapeño peppers and corn, plus taco and ranch seasoning mix. Olé!

15 of 15

Escarole and Beans

Escarole and Beans
Photo by Tommy.

"Rich," "divine" and "best served with warm crusty Italian bread," according to recipe creator KristaP, this cozy meal tastes like you fussed over it all day thanks to complexity-boosters like crushed red pepper flakes, garlic and fresh parsley. Follow the directions to master exactly how to stretch escarole and a couple of cans of white beans into a show-stopping meal—all in just 40 minutes.

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