There has never been a better, or more important, time to explore plant-based living. Our health has never been more important. Chances are, there’s a plant-based food you’ve already got on hand that’s inexpensive and versatile, ready to be the star or a supporting player in a delicious plant-based meal.
Take a stroll down the international aisles, and you will happily discover a range of ready-to-eat proteins: canned beans.
If you’re like many people, you have cans of beans on hand, but you’re not exactly sure how to cook with them besides the obvious (beans and rice) or maybe tacos if you’re adventurous. Here are six completely different ways you can enjoy a powerful plant-based protein source without eating them the same way every day. Enjoy!
Oven-roasted chickpeas (also known as garbanzos) provide such a delicious crunch to salads, power bowls, or a veggie-based dish like broccoli rabe. Tip: Save the liquid, called aquafaba, for use in vegan baking or cheese making!
- Drain and rinse canned chickpeas.
- Season to preference or marinate in the smokey marinade (recipe below) for 10-20 minutes before roasting.
- Bake 350 for 30-40 minutes. Times may vary due to crispy preference.
Grilled Chickpea Smokey Marinade
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 2 T dijon mustard
- 1 T maple syrup
- ½ t garlic granules
- ½ t onion granules
- ¼ t salt
- ¼ t pepper
- dash liquid smoke
Black Beans Hummus
Add this magical food to sandwiches, veggie burgers, as a sauce on pizza, the glue in a plant-based quesadilla, scooped onto a salad, straight with a spoon, as a dressing base, and more!
Hummus is a legume blended with an oil or fat and herbs/spices to create a versatile paste-like condiment.
Classic hummus is made from garbanzo beans and tahini, with lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt, and readily available in many popular flavors to enhance every cuisine.
Black bean hummus makes a yummy taco filling, quesadilla spread, burrito filling, nacho topper, and sandwich spread.
- Drain black beans, add to the bowl of a food processor.
- Per one can of black beans, add:
- 1 T olive oil
- ¼ t salt
- 1 T lime juice
- ½ t cumin
Adjust the seasonings as needed. Add fresh cilantro if you like.
Tip: Try using Cilantro essential oil. Cooking with essential oils is so convenient and fun. Check out this cookbook for more ideas and helpful hints.
Keep up to 4-5 days in the fridge.
Kidney Bean Veggie Burgers
Veggie burgers are best when homemade, and if you’ve got these pantry staples on hand and some extra helping hands, you’ve got everything you need for a fun family cooking night.
- Drain two cans of beans add them to a bowl.
- Mash them about 80% and add:
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup cooked grain like brown rice or quinoa
- ½ cup roasted sweet potato
- ¼ cup salsa or barbecue sauce
- 2 T blended spices – garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika are great choices.
Combine ingredients forming into patties. You may need to add more oats, rice, or even flour to reach the proper consistency.
Place patties on a parchment-lined sheet pan, or spray with coconut oil. Allow to sit and dry for about 10 minutes to activate the oats’ absorption so the burger won’t be so wet.
Sear them on both sides over medium heat in a pan before finishing in the oven or bake them, making sure to flip them over about halfway through their total baking time.
Bake at 350F for about 14-18 minutes.
Chickpea Chickenless Salad
This recipe is hands down one of my most popular, and it’s soon to be a plant-based staple in your house too! It’s just like chicken salad, but with chickpeas instead.
You can opt to make a fancy version of this salad by adding pecans or walnuts and halved grapes. Here is the basic recipe to get started. Consider making a double batch. It’s that good!
- Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas
- Mash until about 90% smashed
- Add diced celery and red onion
- Add 2-3T vegan mayo
- 2 t dijon mustard
- ¼ t each salt and pepper.
Tip: The longer the mixture sits, the better the flavor. Consider making this early or the day before for your planned meal.
Creamy White Bean Dressing
Increase the protein content of any salad or power bowl using white beans as a creamy dressing base. You’re making a thin hummus or bean spread, and with the right seasonings, it’s so good.
Here is a creamy plant-based, dairy-free Caesar dressing recipe to try.
- Drain and rinse one can of cannellini beans or white beans.
- To the blender, add:
- 2 cans beans
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 1 clove pressed fresh garlic
- 2 T nutritional yeast
- ¼ t pepper
- 2 T tahini
- 1 t lemon juice
- 2 t capers
- 2 t apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ½ – 1 cup water (start with less and add more as needed).
Blend until smooth and creamy, adjusting seasoning to taste – more lemon juice or vinegar for tang, more nutritional yeast for cheesiness, salt if needed.
Any Bean – Add to Pasta or Soup
Pasta dishes are a great place to add beans. Make a creamy Italian pasta dish and add chickpeas or white beans. Try a taco-inspired pasta adding black beans, tomato, shredded greens, and avocado.
Use beans instead of meat in soups, such as chickpea rice instead of chicken.
There is no “being wrong” cooking the plant-based way. Just remember to taste as you go, use your palate to guide you, load up on various canned beans and good clean fiber!
Chef Lauren D’Agostino creates, cooks, and serves all things plant-based and high-vibe. Her virtual cooking courses and plant-based transitions coaching offers non-judgmental support for hungry people who are overwhelmed by the idea of going plant-based or vegan. Learn the what, why, and how of beginning your plant-based journey by visiting laurendagostino.com