1 pot of beans, 5 tasty meals
I love making a big batch of brothy beans to enjoy throughout the week. But I’m not a huge fan of eating the same dish every day– for me, it’s about transforming my leftovers from one meal to the next to keep things interesting. To help solve this problem, I seek inspiration from flavors from around the globe, utilizing pantry ingredients to cook a quick, easy dinner.
In this guide, I’ve created 5 distinct meals featuring cooked beans from various cuisines across the globe. These are “no-recipe” recipes, so they’re highly flexible and adaptable– ideal for working with what you already have at home.
–Karishma Pradhan, founder, Home Cooking Collective
Check out our interview with the recipe creator!
Let’s get started
First, you will need a batch of cooked beans in broth. In my case, I simmered a batch of cranberry beans on the stovetop until soft and tender. I added a liberal amount of olive oil and salt to the simmering liquid, plus a couple of bay leaves, to ensure the beans absorbed as much flavor as possible. The Primary Beans cooking guide should give you all the information you need to cook your beans.
A few notes before I begin...
- A couple of the recipes require bean broth, so don’t throw it out!
- These are globally inspired recipes. They are not “authentic”, and I don’t claim to be an expert in any one of these cuisines. I reference any specific inspiration from other recipe developers and chefs where relevant.
Why cranberry beans?
I love the versatility of cranberry beans– they stay firm but possess a creamy interior and mash nicely for purees and pastes. Cranberry beans also span multiple cultures. For example, in Italian cuisine they are known as Borlotti. In Mexico, they are called Cacahuate.
Dish #1: Italian-inspired brothy beans
Why I love this: A good bowl of brothy beans is simple to put together, but oh-so-comforting! The ingredients here are inspired by Italian cooking, like anchovies, garlic, and lemon. For an extra flavor boost, simmer some herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil, or more parsley!) and spices (black peppercorns, coriander seeds, or fennel seeds) for 10-15 minutes before adding the beans. Discard any wilted herbs or whole spices before serving. Click here for the recipe.
Dish #2: Indian-inspired bean tadka
Why I love this: Creamy cranberry beans pair nicely with fat and spice, ideal for Indian cooking. Tadka is a South Asian technique used to bloom spices in oil to extract their essential flavor compounds (more on that here). Here, I sauté the beans with an aromatic tomato-onion mixture and top it with a flavorful mustard-cumin seed tadka. Click here for the recipe.
Dish #3: Mexican-inspired refried beans with pickled onions
Why I love this: I love refried beans, and though I typically see them made with pinto beans, cranberry beans act as an excellent substitute. Cranberry beans are slightly milder in flavor but still yield a delicious result. I took inspiration from Mexican Made Meatless’ version but added a few additional, completely optional flavorings. For a non-vegetarian version, you can use lard. Click here for the recipe.
Dish #4: Mediterranean-inspired tomato and bean salad
Why I love this: I love the bright, refreshing flavors of a Mediterranean, Greek-style salad. This is a loosely inspired dish, featuring tomatoes, salty feta, and lots of fresh herbs. Feel free to play around with this, adding cucumbers and red onion, too, if desired. Click here for the recipe.
Dish #5: Kenyan kunde-inspired beans in a peanut-tomato sauce
Why I love this: Hawa Hassan’s cookbook, In Bibi’s Kitchen, features a diverse selection of recipes, interviews, and stories from grandmothers across the African continent. One of the cookbook's simplest but most delicious recipes is kunde– a Kenyan dish featuring black-eyed peas cooked in a peanut-tomato sauce. This recipe, adapted from the kunde recipe, swaps out the black-eyed peas for cranberry beans and comes together in a snap. Click here for the recipe.