Low-Calorie Bean Recipes

Find healthy, delicious low-calorie bean recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Chilaquiles Casserole

Rating: 4.78 stars 74
Our version of this enchilada-style chilaquiles casserole is packed with nutritious beans and vegetables. Canned prepared enchilada sauce has great flavor and keeps the prep time quick. It can vary in heat level so find one that suits your taste. If you want to eliminate the heat altogether, try a green enchilada sauce (which is often milder than red) or substitute two 8-ounce cans of plain tomato sauce.

Seasoned Black-Eyed Peas

To infuse peas with flavor, simmer them with dried spices, which pack a more intense punch than fresh. Smoked paprika delivers the essence of ham hocks or bacon while keeping this classic side dish vegan.

Stuffed Potatoes with Salsa & Beans

Rating: 4.5 stars 2
Taco night meets baked potato night with this simple recipe for loaded baked potatoes with salsa, beans and avocado. This easy, healthy family dinner comes together with just 10 minutes of active time, so you can make it on even the busiest of weeknights. This recipe is just as delicious with sweet potatoes in place of russets.

Basmati Rice & Curry Casserole (Chana aur Sarson ka Saag Biryani)

Rating: 4.67 stars 3
Biryanis are rice-based casseroles that combine a saucy meat, vegetable or legume curry with basmati rice, whole spices, nuts and raisins. This particular dish is a nutritional powerhouse, thanks to the mustard greens and chickpeas. Look for the specialty spices--cardamom pods, saffron and garam masala--in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets or online at penzeys.com.

Moroccan Bulgur & Pork Casserole

Rating: 3.2 stars 3
Fragrant with North African spices and made hearty with chunks of lean pork, this bulgur pilaf casserole recipe is ready to go in the oven in just 25 minutes. Vary the dish by substituting shrimp, Pacific cod fillets or chunks of boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the pork.

Black-Eyed Peas & Okra

Rating: 4 stars 1
This bean and okra recipe is a classic Southern side dish perfect for potlucks. Adding the okra toward the end of cooking guarantees a tender--not mushy--texture.

Slow-Cooker Dal Makhani

Rating: 3 stars 5
Using a slow cooker for this dal curry recipe is brilliant--the lentils cook until they're perfectly tender. For the creamiest results, use whole urad dal (versus split), which you can get online or at Indian markets. This particular bean breaks down beautifully, giving the dish its rich, creamy texture. For a stovetop variation, see below. Serve it over rice with Indian-style green chutney and a side of plain yogurt.

Broccoli, Chickpea & Pomegranate Salad

Rating: 5 stars 3
Simple steps give this broccoli salad recipe a more nuanced flavor: soaking the onion tempers its bite and toasting the cumin enhances its aroma. Serve alongside grilled chicken, pork or fish.

Tomato & Kale Pesto Pasta

Rating: 5 stars 2
This 25-minute pasta side dish goes well with chicken or fish and can be served either warm or at room temperature. Kale and basil create a fresh-tasting pesto that is packed with protein and taste, thanks to the addition of chickpeas. We like shaved Parmesan sprinkled on the top, but feel free to add toasted pine nuts or walnuts for some crunch.

Spiced Pinto Beans

Rating: 4 stars 6
Any leftover beans would work in this quick side dish.

Pressure-Cooker Baked Beans

Rating: 3 stars 4
Make this classic version of sweet and tangy barbecue baked beans in an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, in a fraction of the time it would take in the slow cooker or on the stove.

8-Layer Taco Salad

Rating: 4 stars 5
This gorgeous and colorful 8-layer taco salad recipe is made healthier by using ground turkey in place of beef, adding Greek yogurt and bumping up the amount of vegetables. Serve this salad in a clear glass bowl and you'll have an eye-catching party-worthy dinner or potluck side in just 30 minutes.
Advertisement

Inspiration and Ideas

Chickpea Salad
Rating: Unrated 4
This satisfying chickpea salad is a delicious combination of textures, from crunchy cucumbers to crumbly feta. The dill ranch dressing adds creaminess, but a tangy vinaigrette would be just as good.
Curried Baked Beans
If you're a fan of classic baked beans, give this healthy recipe with curry powder, lime juice and molasses a whirl. These stovetop baked beans also have half the sugar and three-quarters of the sodium compared to a traditional recipe--and take a few hours' less cooking time. Serve with pistachio-crusted pork tenderloin or grilled fish.
Cucumber & Black-Eyed Pea Salad
Rating: 4.44 stars
7

An easy salad to serve with grilled chicken or steak for supper or on a bed of greens for a satisfying lunch. Substitute white beans or chickpeas for the black-eyed peas if you prefer.