Beans are an important part of a healthy diet. Even better, they are super versatile and delicious! Luckily, there are all different types of beans to try from kidney beans to garbanzo beans. But between all these varieties, how are you supposed to decide which beans are best for cooking your next family meal? Here, you can learn more about some of the different types of beans to stock up on in the pantry and how you can use them in your favorite recipes.
If you’re looking to make a big casserole like Ree Drummond’s Best-Ever Baked Beans (they’re smothered in bacon, yum!) you might opt for a shortcut like canned pork ‘n beans. We have lots of black bean recipes like the easy and comforting one-pot black beans and rice or classic three bean salad (a perfect potluck dish). If all else fails, just open a can to whip up an easy afternoon snack like homemade corn and black bean salsa. Beans are even a smart way to thicken chili (unless, of course, you’re adamantly on the no-beans side of the big debate: should chili have beans?) Check out our guide to some of the other types of beans, then try some more of our favorite bean recipes like good old-fashioned butter beans or super simple Instant Pot refried beans (they’re a taco night staple). Whatever you pick, you’re definitely going to want beans in your weekly dinner rotation from now on!
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Black beans are a staple in so many dishes! They’re mild and smaller than other types of beans, so if you don’t love beans or are just getting into them, these are the perfect ones to start with. Try them in black bean chili or hearty chipotle black bean burgers.
Kidney beans are deep red in color, a bit larger than black beans, and are the perfect beans to use in chili. Try them in Ree’s classic beef and bean chili!
Cannelini beans are a type of white bean with an earthy, nutty flavor. They cook up nice and creamy and are delicious on crostini with a little ricotta and pesto, or blended into an easy white bean dip.
Pinto beans are a classic choice for making refried beans—they cook up creamy yet still hold their shape, and soak up all the delicious flavors. Try using them in Ree’s famous 7-Can Soup.
Fava beans are a bit difficult to work with at first—you have to blanch them then remove their skins, but the result will be worth it! Throw them in a salad or steam them then toss them with some butter, salt, and pepper.
Navy beans are a type of white bean that is super easy to find either dried or canned. They can be used in any recipe that calls for white beans, like Ree’s classic bean with bacon soup.
Black-eyed peas are actually beans, and are traditionally eaten around the new year, but they’re great any time of the year! Try them in this yummy black-eyed pea dip with tortilla chips.
Soybeans are the mature form if edamame (edamame is picked while soybeans are still young and green). Soybeans are dried and whitish-yellow in color are used for soy many things! They are used to make tofu, soy milk and even ground to make soy flour, amongst other things! You can use them whole, just boil until tender and mix them into salad or warm grain dishes.
Edamame are young soybeans that are often served right from their pod, but can also be shelled too. You can steam them and eat them plain with a little salt and olive oil, or take them out of the shell and use them in salads or blend them into a smooth dip. Try them in Ree’s blackened salmon with edamame succotash.
Adzuki beans have a pretty garnet hue and are often used in sweet dishes dishes where they are mashed into a paste and mixed with sugar, but they can easily be used in savory applications, too!
You might have seen a few different varieties of mung beans when at the store—they can come split, whole, or sprouted. They’re incredibly healthy for you, no matter which variety you choose! If you want to cook them at home you should first soak them, then boil them or cook them in an Instant Pot. After they’re cooked you can add them to soups, curries, rice dishes, and more!
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