Canned and dried beans are some of the most commonly stocked pantry staples – here are some clever recipes to use them!
White beans just so happen to be one of the most popular ingredients in Tuscany, so lucky for us, Giada has been sharing recipes like these for years! No matter what type of beans you have on hand, we’ve got some simple ideas to up their flavor and whip them into a nutrition meal.
Have dried beans? Giada’s White Beans and Cavolo Nero is a great recipe for cooking them from scratch, and you can skip the kale altogether. Otherwise, you can cook the beans according to package instructions – just be sure you cook them through entirely, as eating undercooked beans can make you sick! You can make any of the following recipes with canned beans, or beans you’ve cooked from scratch.
Pasta and beans together make a great stick-to-your-ribs meal, and it’s a common dish in Italy. No worries if you don’t have the carrot, onion, herbs or spinach – you can throw in anything you’ve got. The smoked mozzarella can be substituted with pretty much any melty cheese, like regular mozzarella, cheddar, or even blue cheese. Don’t have spinach? Use whatever greens you have, or simply omit.
In Tuscany, this is a very popular style of dish. Sprinkle white beans onto essentially any salad to help make it more hearty, filling and protein-packed! Use any greens you have, and if you don’t have lemon, use a dash of vinegar in its place.
This is a great dish to turn to because you can use two proteins that have a super long shelf life: canned beans and canned tuna. You can use any type of canned fish here- salmon is a great alternative! Use whatever greens you have. Fennel or capers might be hard to come by, just omit and toss in whatever other veg you have. Again, no lemon? Use a dash of vinegar.
Give your quarantine snacks some fill-up power with one of Giada’s most popular recipes: this easy white bean dip. Not only can you dunk any cracker or veggie into it, but it makes a great hearty spread for sandwiches and toasts as well. Don’t worry about finding fresh parsley, dried works just as well, or omit. A dash of vinegar is a good alternative for the lemon if you don’t have any.
A simple brothy soup is always a great bet for using up odds and ends – beans especially. Store-bought tortellini are great to have on hand (and last a long time in the freezer!) but if your market is out, any type of pasta can be subbed in. Swiss chard isn’t necessary- any sturdy lettuce will do, like kale for example, or you can omit entirely.
Super simple “non-recipe” ideas:
•Stir fry any kind of drained canned bean with frozen vegetables. You can serve with fried eggs, rice, and use any kind of sauce you have on hand.
•Add beans into any pasta or rice dish to give it more protein and nutrition.
•Beans are a great base for any simple chili recipe. Saute onions in some oil, add tomato sauce, broth, and any vegetables you may have – frozen or fresh. Add an array of warming spices like cumin, oregano, chili powder, et cetera. Once it’s almost done cooking, add in drained beans of any kind. This type of dish can generally freeze really well, too!
•Smash drained canned beans onto toast, pita bread, or a crisped-up tortilla. Add salt, avocado, a crispy egg, et cetera!
•You can fashion almost any canned bean into baked beans! Slow cook beans with either a homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce or what you have on hand, along with some broth or water to thin out the consistency. If you have onions, saute them first to create a flavorful base! Warming spices like cumin and oregano will give it extra flavor.
•Make some homemade veggie burgers! Blend a generic 15oz can of beans (drained!) with an egg, half a cup of breadcrumbs, and your favorite seasonings. You can even shape them into patties and freeze for when they’re needed!
•In Tuscany, it’s not uncommon to see white beans served with a simple tomato sauce. Simmer beans with your favorite marinara, and add dried herbs you might have on hand, such as herbes de Provence, thyme, or dried oregano. Serve on its own, or with pasta or crusty bread.