7 Protein-Packed, Easy Recipes to Make With a Can of Beans
The next time you find yourself saying, "There's nothing to eat!" simply open a can of beans. You might have stashed it there for your next Mexican fiesta or taco night with the family, but now is a good time to make recipes for the whole week since we have more time to spend in the kitchen than ever.
Not only are beans easy to cook with, but they're also a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. Whether you're partial to kidney beans, pinto beans, cranberry beans, or black beans, there are myriad recipes of healthy dishes you can whip up. Traditional black beans have 2.6 grams of protein per tablespoon. Take note that although they're high in protein, they're also high in carbs, with 8 grams per tablespoon so if you're watching your carbs, then lower your intake.
Beans are fun to cook with since they don't require much work (unless you buy them in the bag and then you need to soak them overnight). All you need is some creativity when it comes to deciding which recipe you want to create next. When you buy canned beans, they only take about 5 minutes to heat up and cook. So it's up to you to choose delicious recipes that everyone in your family will love tonight. We made it easier for you by identifying different recipes that call for a can of beans and a few other easy-to-find ingredients.
1. Fully Loaded Black Bean Nachos with Dairy-Free Cheese and Jalapenos
These nachos are gluten-free, vegan, and perfect to make when you're entertaining or need a quick and easy recipe when the kids are hungry. They are full of fresh flavors with fresh parsley and tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, crunchy radishes, and tangy lime juice. Let me tell you, you will taste the difference between homemade salsa compared to store-bought salsa so don't skip out on making your own. Buy organic and fresh produce and you will taste the difference in freshness. Scroll down to find everything you will need to get started. This recipe was created by Hannah Sunderani, or @twospoons.ca.
For the salsa:
- 5 ripe tomatoes of choice (about 400g, I used heirloom tomatoes)
- 1/2 small red onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
- 1 cup corn, cooked
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- sea salt, to taste
For the zesty black bean medley:
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 can organic black beans, cooked (540 ml can)
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
For the vegan sour cream (optional):
- 1/4 cup plain coconut yogurt
- splash fresh lime juice, (approx. 2 tsp)
- pinch sea salt
- 1 bag tortilla chips (7 oz./200g bag)
- 1 1/2 cups vegan cheddar shredded cheese
- 1 radish, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Make the salsa: Chop the tomato into tiny pieces. Add to bowl with diced onion, garlic, chopped cilantro, jalapeño, corn, and lime juice. Add salt to taste. Mix and cover.
Make black bean medley: In a skillet on med heat add coconut oil. Add red onion and garlic. Season with jalapeno pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Cook, stirring often until onions are softened (approx. 8-10 mins). Add black beans and mix to combine until warm (approx. 3-5 minutes).
- Prepare vegan sour cream. In a bowl combine coconut yogurt, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Mix. Cover and keep chilled.
- Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Line baking tray with parchment. Sprinkle a thin layer of tortilla chips. Then add a layer of black beans followed by a layer of vegan shredded cheese. Repeat layering until you've used all your ingredients (ending with cheese). Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and gooey.
- Remove nachos from the oven, top with homemade salsa (any remaining can be served in a bowl alongside for dipping), and drizzle with vegan sour cream.
2. Sweet Potato Mushroom Guacamole Burgers
Stay indoors and cook these burgers. For people who aren't allowed to have grills in their apartments or don't want to step foot outside, these burgers are the perfect alternative. Place them on a baking sheet and broil them in the oven.
And you guessed it, these sweet potatoes and mushrooms are made with black beans and oats, so the texture has the same denseness as a meat patty. The flavors of the spices and freshness of the guacamole make this burger a filling meal. You won't have to worry about making dessert or extra sides for your family. The recipe developer Gina aka @healthylittlevittes recommends serving these tasty burgers with a little dipping sauce and a side of french fries.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 8 oz baby portabella mushrooms
- 1 + 1/4 cup instant brown rice
- 1 cup gluten-free quick oats
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- Olive oil, (for roasting the sweet potatoes and mushrooms)
- Guacamole, (recipe below)
- 2 avocados
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lime juice
- Garlic salt, to taste
- Peel and dice your sweet potato
- Wash your mushrooms. Place them onto the baking tray with the sweet potatoes and drizzle generously with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt & pepper and broil at 485 degrees for 20 minutes
- While those are roasting, place all other ingredients EXCEPT for the oats in your food processor/blender and also make your guacamole.
- Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms when done and blend your ingredients until just combined **NOTE: I like to pulse blend the mixture so that it doesn't become too mushy. You still want smaller chunks of ingredients
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and add the oats. Stir to combine then using your hands, form the mixture into 4 large patties
- Place the patties back onto the baking sheet and broil/grill at 485 degrees for an additional 20-25 minutes flipping once in the middle
- Serve with guacamole, red onion (if desired), ketchup (if desired), arugula, and french fries!
3. Vegan Italian Meatballs
Here's another recipe by the skilled plant-based chef, Gina aka @healthylittlevittles. There are a variety of different vegan frozen meatballs sold at grocery stores now and some of my favorites include Gardein Meatless Meatballs and the Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs (which I had last night with a bowl of spaghetti). But, some of these frozen meals are high in sodium and carbohydrates. Luckily I found this meatless meatballs recipe by @healthylittlevittles which is made with real ingredients, no preservatives, and has a "meat-like" texture. This recipe is very easy to follow and you can eat them with a bowl of pasta, make a meatball sandwich, or simply by themselves. Scroll down for everything you need to make these delicious and flavorful meatless meatballs.
- 5 ounces baby portabella mushrooms
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (15 ounces) cooked lentils (or 15 ounces of lentils prepared by you)
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/4 cup hazelnut/almond flour
- 1/4 cup cassava flour
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash and destem your baby portabella mushrooms, then place them into a food processor/blender and pulse until they are diced (not blended).
- Empty them into a large bowl along with the drained and rinsed lentils and black beans
**NOTE: time does not include if you have to boil your own lentils
- Dice your red onion into small pieces and add to the bowl.
- With your hands, mash the lentils and black beans until they are no longer whole, but not too mushy.
- Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, Vegan Parmesan Cheese, Italian seasoning, flaxseed meal, hazelnut/almond flour, cassava flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Using a spoon, stir to combine.
- Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the meatball mixture and gently roll it between your hands to form a ball. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flip them and then bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Store leftovers in the fridge or freeze them for another meal later on.
4. Black Bean Falafel (Baked & Oil-Free)
It's time for a healthy lunch! Before you start to note that this recipe makes 20 falafel balls and doesn't include the recipe for the salad. How you make them into a dish is your choice: maybe it's in a salad or you can make a Greek-style falafel and pita wrap with a tahini sauce. This recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of cooked black beans so you will have some extra leftovers to make the other recipes on this page. If you want to make this salad below, slice up some cucumbers, and tomatoes, drain your canned corn, and chickpeas, and squeeze some fresh lemon over spinach or your choice of greens. This recipe was created by the talented @vegamelon and served to you by The Beet. Scroll for everything you need to know on how to make these healthy baked falafels.
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 large medium carrots diced or grated
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans 400g
- 1/2 cup oats 40g
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour 25g; or use flour of choice
- In a frying pan, heat some oil/water and saute the onion, garlic, and carrots for 5-6 minutes.
Add in the spices and incorporate well, using a spatula. Cook until the mixture is fragrant; about 5 minutes.
- Let the onion mixture cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a food processor. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F / 200C.
- To the food processor, add in all the remaining ingredients: black beans, oats, and chickpea flour.
- Blend into a smooth, homogeneous mixture. Using your hands, form the mixture into around 20 balls, and place them onto a greased baking tray.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway. Remove falafels from the oven once the edges are browned. Let cool before serving.
5. Mung Bean Salad
Don't be put off by the long ingredients list, this salad is super easy to make a packed with vegan protein. This mung bean salad has a European twist to the style of serving. The recipe is created by the talented Kimberly Espinel, the master behind @thelittleplantation. She is a plant-based blogger based in the UK and makes dishes inspired by her heritage.
This salad makes a large portion so it will be great to serve to your family or save for leftovers. It will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. You will love the flavors of the spices juxtaposed with the sweet taste of Apple Cider Vinegar and maple syrup mixed together. Scroll down for the recipe.
- 1 and 1/4 cups / 500g (organic) Mung beans
- 1/3cup / 80ml (organic) cold-pressed olive oil
- 14 cup / 60ml (organic) apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbs real maple syrup
- 1 tbs yellow mustard
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp (organic) ground black pepper
- 1 tsp (organic) ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp (organic) ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp (organic) ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp (organic) ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon (organic) ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon (organic) ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon (organic) ground cinnamon
- 1 medium (organic) red onion
- 1 cup / 140g (organic) dried currants or dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup / 40g capers
- A handful of fresh (organic) parsley leaves
- You can soak the mung beans the night before. This will speed up the cooking time. However, this step is not essential.
- Rinse the mung beans. Place the beans in water with a pinch of salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. If cooking in a normal pot, the beans will take about 60 minutes, but do check after 45 minutes to make sure you're not overcooking them (they should be tender, but not mushy and it may take a little longer or shorter to cook them depending on whether you soaked them the night before). If you are using a pressure cooker and soaking them the night before - as we did - they will be done in about 10 - 15 minutes or so.
- Whilst the beans are cooking away, start making the dressing by combining the olive oil, maple syrup, mustard, and spices in a jar. Shake.
- Peel and then finely dice the red onions. Wash/rinse in cold water - it makes them less pungent - and set aside.
Chop up the fresh parsley and set it aside.
- When the mung beans are cooked, remove them from the heat and drain them under cold water.
Mix in the currants and capers, drizzle with the dressing, and toss in the parsley leaves just before serving.
- All done. Enjoy!
6. Super Healthy Cookie Dough Brownie Bars
These brownies are a lot 'healthier' than the traditional store-bought brownie mixes or pre-packaged vegan brownies. This recipe makes 9 brownies and each one is 167 calories and has 7 grams of plant-based protein. They're created by the master of chocolate and peanut butter combinations, Ciarra @peanutbutterpluschocolate. If you haven't checked out her recipes I would advise you to do so because they are absolutely drool-worthy.
You might be confused as to why these brownies are 'Super Healthy.' Well, these brownies are made with real ingredients like black beans and bananas. Your kids will dive into the whole batch and scoop vanilla dairy-free ice cream to top off their sundae. Scroll down for the recipe and get baking with your black beans.
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 box black beans, rinsed (I use the Simply Balanced Target brand about 13oz)
- 1/4 c coconut sugar
- 1/2 scoop protein powder of choice
- 1/2 cups cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 c plus 2 tbsp. almond meal
- 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp. oat flour
- 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
- 1/4 c powder peanut butter
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. mini chocolate chips
- Pre-heat oven to 350f and prepare an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper or non-stick spray.
- Place all brownie ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides when needed.
- Pour evenly into the pan and bake for 25-28 minutes.
- Let brownies cool completely. If you absolutely can’t wait like me, you can place them in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Once cooled, mix all dry ingredients for the cookie dough in a bowl. Add melted coconut oil and the remaining ingredients. Mix until dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Press cookie dough evenly on top on the brownie, flatten with a spatula.
- Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden before cutting into 9 square and serving.*
*For more presentable brownies, cut off the edges before cutting into squares.
7. Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, and Vegan Enchiladas
And last but not least, here is the final recipe to make using your can of black beans. These easy-to-make enchiladas are full of zesty flavor and are topped with a fresh cheesy sauce made with sweet potatoes and nutritional yeast. Serve this dish with a side of fresh salsa, guacamole, and chips, and you have yourself a fiesta! Kids will enjoy this Mexican-inspired dish and want to have it for dinner again and again. This recipe was made by a mother of 4 children, Corey Taylor, also known as @thevegansix. Her recipes tend to feed her entire family of 6 so you can make this dish at home and not worry about having enough food. Scroll down to find out how to make these delicious and fresh vegan enchiladas.
- 6 tortillas
- 3 cups, or 2 cans cooked black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 jar enchilada sauce
- 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
- 1 1/4 cups coconut milk, light works!
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp light miso paste
- 1 clove garlic
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Make your cheese sauce:
- Blend sweet potatoes, coconut milk, nutritional yeast miso, and garlic in a high-speed blender until smooth. Test to see whether the sauce is the texture you like best. For a thinner sauce add more coconut milk and blend again.
- Set aside and pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of your dish. Warm tortillas with a little water on a hot pan to make them easier to roll.
- Add 1/3 cup black beans to each tortilla and roll, placing in the pan on top of the enchilada sauce as you go.
- Add remaining black beans to the sides of the enchiladas, and pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top.
- Smother in cheese sauce. Bake for 25 minutes uncovered until warmed through and tortillas begin to brown.
- Top with green onion + cilantro.
If you have a favorite recipe you would like to share with The Beet, send us an email at email@example.com or DM us on IG @thebeet! We would gladly love to know what you are cooking and feature your recipe on our website.