I'm a Dietitian & These Are 12 Budget-Friendly Recipes I Make with a Can of Beans

Cheesy Black Bean & Quinoa Skillet Casserole
Photo: Rachel Marek

One of the foods I always keep in my pantry is canned beans, and I consider them a must-have for several reasons. Beans come in many shapes, sizes, flavors and colors, allowing them to be super versatile and work well in a variety of recipes, from tacos to salads to soups. And costing just a few dollars per can, they're one of the most affordable protein sources in the grocery store. Any canned goods are shelf stable for years, so you can easily stock up on them without worrying about them going bad. For me, I find this especially helpful if I'm in a busy stretch where I don't have time to make it to the grocery store—I know that if I have beans on hand, I can usually whip up a filling and nutritious meal. Not to mention, beans are incredibly nutritious. They're packed with plant-based protein, fiber and numerous vitamins and minerals our bodies need to thrive. Research has touted them as being the number one food for longevity, to boot! And last but not least, beans can be really flavorful and satisfying. The recipes in this list like Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili and Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits are proof that eating more beans can be budget-friendly, filling and downright delicious. For more budget and beginner cooking tips and recipe inspiration, check out Thrifty.

01 of 12

Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas & Spinach

Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas & Spinach

Simmer eggs in a rich tomatoey cream sauce studded with chickpeas and silky spinach for a super-fast vegetarian dinner. Serve with a piece of crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Be sure to use heavy cream; a lower-fat option might curdle when mixed with acidic tomatoes.

02 of 12

Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits


In this vegetarian white bean potpie recipe, kale and hearty white beans are topped with easy, homemade chive biscuits. If desired, add a little shredded Gruyère or Cheddar cheese to the biscuit dough.

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Classic Hummus


It's easy to make hummus at home with just a few pantry items. Serve drizzled with your best-quality extra-virgin olive oil and chopped parsley. Mop it up with warm whole-wheat pita bread or cut-up vegetables.

04 of 12

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
Photographer/Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist/Kay Clarke, Food Stylist/Emily Nabors Hall

Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.

05 of 12

Cheesy Black Bean & Quinoa Skillet Casserole

Cheesy Black Bean & Quinoa Skillet Casserole
Rachel Marek

This Southwestern-inspired one-skillet casserole is stuffed with quinoa and plenty of fresh vegetables. Sharp Cheddar cheese flavors the filling and adds a layer of ooey-gooey melted cheese on top.

06 of 12

Creamy White Bean Soup

Creamy White Bean Soup
Caitlin Bensel

This light, creamy white bean soup recipe is richly flavored thanks to plenty of beans, veggies and Parmesan cheese.

07 of 12

Chickpea Coconut Curry

Coconut Curried Chickpeas
Dera Burreson

Here, coconut milk adds creaminess while keeping the dish vegan. Serve over basmati rice or with a side of naan.

08 of 12

One-Pot Beans & Rice with Corn & Salsa


This one-pot dinner is like a deconstructed burrito bowl–especially when topped with salsa, sliced avocado or a dollop of Greek yogurt for a cool, creamy accent. You can also enjoy it as a meal on its own, or as a vegetarian taco or burrito filling or a side dish on taco night.

09 of 12

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Tacos

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Tacos
Will Dickey

Tender, smoky sweet potato is the star of these vegetarian tacos. A mashed black bean spread with onion holds everything in place. Serve with your favorite taco toppings.

10 of 12

Green Goddess Salad with Chickpeas


In this cucumber, tomato, Swiss cheese and chickpea salad recipe, a healthy green goddess dressing is made from avocado, buttermilk and herbs. The extra dressing is delicious served with grilled vegetables.

11 of 12

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan White Bean Soup

A pound of dried beans is the inexpensive foundation for this simple, hearty meal. Serve it with slices of whole-wheat bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying lunch or dinner.

12 of 12

Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajita Bowls


Skip the tortillas in favor of this warm fajita salad, which features a nutritious medley of chicken with roasted kale, bell peppers and black beans. The chicken, beans and vegetables are all cooked on the same pan, so this healthy dinner is easy to make and the cleanup is easy too.

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