19 Protein-Packed Recipes that Start with Canned Beans

Pulled Pork Nachos
Photo: Antonis Achilleos

We keep at least a few cans of beans stocked in our pantry at all times. Beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and B vitamins, not to mention that they're highly accessible: You can find canned beans at pretty much any grocery store, often for less than a dollar per can. In comparison to other primary protein sources (like ground beef or chicken), beans cost very little, last a long while, and require no refrigeration. Economically and environmentally friendly, beans form the backbone of many vegetarian meals. If you simply want to reduce your meat intake but want to ensure you're still getting all your nutrients, swapping meat for beans every once in a while is a great option (or you can double down with the all-star combination of beef and beans).

Beans have long played a solid supporting role in Southern cooking (red rice and beans, anybody?), so we've collected 19 of our favorite dinners that start with a can of beans. Whether you're working with black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, or white beans, we have a recipe that will satisfy the whole family. No matter whether beans play the starring or supporting role in these dishes, we can guarantee that you'll be saving these fuss-free bean recipes for years to come.

01 of 19

Baked Beans

Baked Beans
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Baked Beans

This from-scratch Baked Beans recipe starts with 4 cans of pork and beans in tomato sauce, which then gets infused with flavor from dry mustard and molasses.

02 of 19

Okra and Chickpeas in Fresh Tomato Sauce

Okra and Chickpeas in Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe
Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Okra and Chickpeas in Fresh Tomato Sauce

We always keep canned chickpeas stocked in our pantry, and this recipe transforms the beans into a stunning fresh dinner.

03 of 19

Pressure-Cooker Beef-and-Bean Chili

Carne Asada Tacos with Avocado and Pico de Gallo
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Pressure-Cooker Beef-and-Bean Chili

With the help of your pressure cooker, this hearty dinner will be ready in just under an hour.

04 of 19

Easy Taco Casserole

Easy Taco Casserole
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Maggie Ruggiero

Recipe: Easy Taco Casserole

Mix it up for taco night this week with this casserole version of the Tex-Mex classic.

05 of 19

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Great Northern beans form the creamy backbone of this white chili.

06 of 19

Cheesy Chili Hash Brown Bake

Cheesy Chili Hash Brown Bake
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Cheesy Chili Hash Brown Bake

A cross between chili and a casserole, this Cheesy Chili Hash Brown Bake is the best of both worlds.

07 of 19

Sheet Pan Nachos

Sheet Pan Nachos
Greg DuPree

Recipe: Sheet Pan Nachos

Pinto beans sprinkled atop these Sheet Pan Nachos take them to the next level.

08 of 19

Vegan Chili

Vegan Chili
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Vegan Chili

With kidney beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas, this Vegan Chili is a triple-threat.

09 of 19

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Back Bean Corn Salsa
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salsa

This salsa doesn't require much dressing up—it's a perfect snack for gameday or to enjoy alongside a taco dinner.

10 of 19

Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup

Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup

Recipe: Smoked Chicken Tortilla Soup

Top this soup with fried tortilla strips for crunch, then load on all the extra toppings you'd like.

11 of 19

Beef Tamale Pie

Beef Tamale Pie
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Beef Tamale Pie

With a stunning cornbread topping, this Beef Tamale Pie is sure to satisfy the whole family.

12 of 19

Sheet Pan Nachos with Chorizo and Refried Beans Recipe

Sheet Pan Nachos with Chorizo and Refried Beans
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Sheet Pan Nachos with Chorizo and Refried Beans Recipe

Refried beans bring a creamy texture to otherwise crunchy, meaty nachos.

13 of 19

Thyme-Scented White Bean and Sausage Stew

Thyme Scented White Bean and Sausage Stew
Hector M. Sanchez

Recipe: Thyme-Scented White Bean and Sausage Stew

Once you start simmering this stew, the lovely, herbaceous perfume of thyme, white beans, and sausage will fill your kitchen.

14 of 19

Pulled Pork Nachos

Pulled Pork Nachos
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Pulled Pork Nachos

Have some leftover shredded smoked pork? Toss it on these simple oven-baked nachos.

15 of 19

Brisket-and-Black Bean Chili with Cilantro-Lime Crema

Brisket-and-Black Bean Chili with Cilantro-Lime Crema
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Brisket-and-Black Bean Chili with Cilantro-Lime Crema

Serve this warming chili in campfire mugs to channel the spirit of breezy summer evenings.

16 of 19

Chicken Chili Pot Pie

Two-Bite Chili Shooters image
Photo: Rob Howard; Styling: Marcus Hay

Recipe: Chicken Chili Pot Pie

You can serve this crowd-pleaser in individual ramekins or family-style in a skillet. Either way, it's guaranteed to impress.

17 of 19

Cowboy Casserole

Cowboy Casserole
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Cowboy Casserole

Topped with a layer of tater tots, this extravagant meal will win highly praise from the little ones.

18 of 19

Smoky White Bean Soup

Soup Recipes: White Bean Soup with Gremolata

Recipe: Smoky White Bean Soup

Looking for a quick-fix supper? This Smoky White Bean Soup comes together in just 25 minutes.

19 of 19

Easy Skillet Tacos

Easy Skillet Tacos
Southern Living

Recipe: Easy Skillet Tacos

Winner winner, skillet taco dinner! We swap the traditional black beans for pinto beans in this weeknight recipe.

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