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Beans Are Beautiful: 12 Dried Bean Recipes

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Scott Phillips

Compared to their convenient canned cousins, dried beans have a bit of a dusty, fusty reputation, but these recipes will absolutely change that. They show off the huge range in flavors you can get from black beans, kidney beans, cannellini, chickpeas and lentils. With a couple bags in your pantry (plus, perhaps an Instant Pot to speed up the cooking) you’re never too far from a delicious meal.

  • Recipe

    Chickpeas with Bay Leaves and Herbs

    Cooking dried beans is a hands-off process, and the tender, creamy results are well worth the minimal effort. Use these chickpeas in Pasta with Chickpeas, Sweet Peppers, and Rosemary, Pork Medallions with Chickpeas and Cabbage, Roasted Chicken, Chickpea, and Cauliflower Salad, and Spiced Lamb Chops with Chickpea Purée.

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  • Recipe

    French Farmers' Soup

    This hearty soup makes the most of root vegetables, paired with baby lima beans. If you're short on time, you can substitute 3 cups canned limas (rinsed and drained) for the dried beans, and skip the steps of soaking and cooking them, though the flavor won't be quite as rich.

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  • Recipe

    Congri (Cuban Black Beans & Rice)

    Congri is enjoyed all over Cuba, but it’s prepared a little differently from town to town. My mother’s family is originally from Oriente, where it’s made using red beans. But in Havana, where they moved in the late 1940s, the black bean version is more popular and the one I prefer.

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  • baby artichoke panzanella
    Recipe

    Roasted Baby Artichoke and White Bean Panzanella

    I urge you to use dry cannellini beans that have been cooked until tender for this recipe. They have a wonderfully meaty texture that’s worth the extra effort. Canned cannellini beans are a bit too soft for my taste; however, you can use them in a pinch. Ricotta salata and pecorino are wonderful alternatives to Parmesan.

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  • Recipe

    Curried Lentil-Scallion Pancakes

    Though you can’t see the lentils in this dish, you can definitely taste their earthy flavor. Make the pancakes big and slice them to portion for serving. Or make silver-dollar-size pancakes to use as canapés dotted with yogurt and, if you’re feeling fancy, some smoked salmon or caviar.

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  • Recipe

    Corn and Amaranth Griddlecakes with Spicy Black Beans

    This hearty meatless main course is chock full of flavor and texture. The griddlecakes are crisp, tender, and slightly peppery from the amaranth flour, and the beans deliver a kick. Serve with sliced avocado and pico de gallo.

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  • Recipe

    Bean & Ham Bone Soup

    This hearty soup puts the meaty bone from a leftover baked ham to excellent use. Pinto beans work fine, but if you can find them, bolita beans are creamier and a bit sweeter. This soup freezes well for up to 3 months.

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  • Recipe

    North African Spiced Salmon Over French Lentils

    Go to any French bistro, and you’ll likely find a dish of lentils and salmon. It’s a classic for good reason: Lean, mellow lentils complement the richness of the fish. This version includes a Moroccan-inspired spice rub on the salmon. As you eat, flake the salmon into the lentils to better distribute those aromatic spices throughout the dish.

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  • Recipe

    Boston Baked Beans

    The larger yellow-eye beans will take about an hour longer to cook than navy beans and may need more water added as they cook. Keep in mind that all beans will vary in their cooking times due not only to size but to age as well. If you can’t find salt pork, you can substitute the same amount of slab bacon, resulting in a smoky flavor that’s untraditional but tasty.

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  • Recipe

    Rice and Lentils with Ham

    Ham brings a salty-sweet savoriness to this twist on the Arabic dish mujaddara, a mix of lentils, rice, and aromatics found throughout the Middle East. Serve with a fresh green salad.

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  • Recipe

    Spicy Red Lentil Dip

    This spicy lentil dip is similar to ubiquitous hummus, but instead of using dried garbanzo beans, which require soaking and a long boiling time, it uses red lentils. Red lentils don’t need to be soaked, and they cook in a speedy 10 minutes. Because they are so much smaller than garbanzo beans, they also yield a smoother dip—silky smooth, in fact.

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  • Recipe

    Beluga Lentils with Ruby Chard

    One look at this stunning side dish, and you can see why these elegant legumes are also called caviar lentils. Serve with braised beef, lamb, or roast chicken.

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