Looking for easy ways to use beans? We’ve got you! Here are some of our best bean-based meal and snack ideas.
If your family isn’t super keen on beans, it can be challenging to come up with ways to serve them. This is especially true if you didn’t grow up eating them very often yourself.
Beans are a great source of nutrients like complex carbs and fiber, B vitamins, iron, calcium, and potassium.
They’re filling, versatile, inexpensive, and easy to prepare whether you purchase them canned or dried.
But how do you use them for family recipes? Find 5 easy ways to use beans below.
1. Homemade Veggie Burgers
We’ve got nothing against stocking up on frozen veggie burgers from the store. But if you want to make some of your own, homemade allows total control over the ingredients, and beans make a great addition.
They’re easy to mash and blend with whatever flavor you’re targeting. For little mouths, make the patties smaller and serve them as sliders.
For example, try our recipe for Black Bean Sliders. They’re pulsed with shiitake mushrooms, oats, and smoky seasoning. Layer with your favorite burger toppings and serve with some corn on the cob or roasted sweet potatoes and fresh fruit for a balanced meal.
2. PBJ Balls
These are some of our most requested grab-and-go snacks at home. We often make a batch at the beginning of the week and pop them in the fridge for easy snacking (or to toss into school lunches).
If you’re familiar with making protein balls, these are very similar.
We’ve come up with several variations listed below, but you can also adjust them to suit your family’s preferences and the ingredients you have on hand.
- The Original PBJ Balls made with white beans
- Raspberry Tahini Chickpea Balls
- Carrot Cake Chickpea Balls
- Blueberry Chickpea Cookie Dough Balls
Everyone loves taco night! We often set up taco stations and let our kids pick their own combinations, which almost always include the option of beans.
Whatever you have available can work in tacos. Navy, cannellini, black, and kidney are some of our favorites.
Need some direction? Check out our recipe for Taco Cups, made using a muffin tin.
If you need a taco alternative, this same approach works for burritos, enchiladas, or taquitos. Serve with rice, avocado, salsa, and optional cheese.
4. Pasta Sauce
Just as cashews are the mild, creamy nut to use for sauces, so are white beans. They offer a fairly neutral flavor and color that can blend well into dips and sauces for pasta.
For example, try our recipe for White Bean Alfredo Pasta. It’s a blend of white beans and cashews with garlic, nutritional yeast, and seasonings to create a delectable vegan alfredo sauce.
Don’t want to use beans in your sauce? Toss them right into the pasta dish instead!
5. Minestrone Soup
We love making chunky soups because not only can you toss whatever you want into them, but they’re pretty easy for kids to pick apart.
Minestrone is a great soup option for kids who want to see everything that they’re being served, while your goal is also to offer new things. And you guessed it, beans are always in this mix.
Check out our recipe for Weeknight Vegan Minestrone Soup. It calls for white beans but you can use whatever type you like. Serve with crusty bread and fruit!
Beans are often overlooked because many of us simply didn’t grow up eating them very often – therefore, we’re not sure what to do with them with our own kids. Try these easy ways to use beans and see what works best for your family.
Chime In: What ways do you serve beans at home? Share other ideas below!
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