Black beans are totally the pinch hitters of dinner prep, if you ask me. Always ready to come off the bench (er, the back of. the pantry) at the last minute and serve up big protein, fiber, and — yes! — taste. And as the Covid quarantine drags on and the meat aisles look increasingly spare, I’ve been leaning on black bean recipes even more for my family.
And if there does end being a meat shortage? Well, can’t hurt to have a few affordable protein substitutes in the back pocket, right?
Whether you’re new to beans as a main course, or just looking to mix up your weeknight rotation, I’ve got you covered with 7 recipes that prove beans can hold their own with all the other proteins.
Top: Easy Black Bean Empanada | Connoisseurus Veg
Related: 6 fantastic recipe apps that let you search by ingredient.
Our editor Kate makes this Black Bean and Quinoa Burger from Peas and Crayons for her family once a week. The ingredient list for this recipe is a little longer than the other recipes here, but if you have a few extra minutes, the effort really pays off. Especially if you add all the fixins’ that Jenn recommends, like sriracha mayo, yum!
This Creamy Black Bean Taquito recipe ranks among the all-time favorite dinners in my house. It’s simple, fast and tasty, with the the cream cheese making it feel a little more indulgent than some other black bean recipes. Budget Bytes is one of my favorite resources for all manner of affordable recipes, and if you’re tightening your belt during the quarantine like so many of us, definitely check it out.
We’re all for make-ahead dinners, especially now that many of us are cooking more meals at home than ever. So if you want an easy black bean recipe you can cook once then eat for lunch all week look, try this One-Pan Mexican Black Bean Quinoa from Damn Delicious. Our associate editor Christina explained that her teenager was able to make it all by herself for the family, too. Talk about a time-saver!
Related: 3 quick and easy things you can meal prep on Sunday for way easier weekday cooking.
Spring is here but we’re still having some intermittent chilly nights here in Nashville, which means this Black Bean Chipotle Chili from Cupful of Kale remains on the menu for May! Chili also freezes beautifully, and a vegetarian. version comes together with mostly cheap canned goods, making it a quarantine cooking god-send.
The Roasted Plantain and Black Bean Bowls at Minimalist Baker looks like it’s ripe for improvisation. In fact, that’s the great thing about bean and rice bowls — if you can’t find plantains, try sweet potato, seared corn, or sautéed peppers. Everything works! This version is vegan, but feel free to toss in some chipotle sour cream or cojita cheese to make this eve more fun and flavorful.
I’m crazy about empanadas, but they always seem like too much work to make at home. Which is why this Easy Black Bean Empanada recipe from Connoisseurus Veg blew my mind. It uses an easy store bought short-cut for the empanada dough so this meal is weeknight-ready. Yay! And hey, with Cinco de Mayo coming up, this might be the perfect way to celebrate safely at home.
If you’re a “hide the healthy stuff” kind of a cook, especially for kids who could use a little more protein in their diets these days, try these Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies at Sprinkles and Sea Salt for dessert one night. They’re a total win. Plus, the recipe doesn’t require flour, which is awesome if your grocery store is always out like mine. (Why! Why!)