Beans and legumes are nutritional superstars. Instead of relegating beans to the side dish role, let these vegetarian recipes be the main player on the plate.
White Bean Salad with Asparagus and ArtichokesSteam baby artichokes and fresh asparagus to combine with the white beans in this colorful springtime salad. This super-quick main dish salad takes less than 20 minutes to prepare. Slice the radishes, green onions and basil while the vegetables are steaming.
Fava Beans with Pesto and CavatappiThis vegetarian main dish shows off summer-fresh fava beans mixed with pasta and pesto. If you can't find them, substitute fresh lima beans or even thawed frozen edamame.
Butternut Squash and Smoky Black Bean SaladYou'll find chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce on the Latin food aisle. Use just the sauce here; reserve chiles for another use.
Black Bean, Corn, and Zucchini EnchiladasTry these spicy enchiladas featuring black beans combined with a sautéed corn-and-zucchini filling that's hearty and satisfying. Rinsing and draining canned beans reduces the sodium content by about 40 percent.
Portobello and Black Bean QuesadillasSautéed portobellos are delicious in ragouts; as a topping for polenta or pizza; or as a filling for fajitas, tacos, or quesadillas. The portobello mushroom stands up to the robust flavors in these quesadillas, all the while preserving its own sturdy texture.
White Beans with Roasted Red Pepper and PestoRustic Mediterranean fare typically features white beans that are cooked with onions, garlic, and fresh herbs. The intensity of roasted peppers and pesto partner nicely with the mild-flavored beans.
Falafel with Avocado SpreadFalafel is a Middle Eastern specialty made by deep-frying patties of ground chickpeas. This Latin twist on this dish uses pinto beans combined with crushed tortilla chips, cilantro, and cumin. The patties are pan-fried in a small amount of oil, making them lower in fat than traditional falafel.
Black Bean TacosThe protein in these veggie-packed tacos comes from black beans and seitan (wheat gluten), which has a chewy, meatlike texture. Serve the tacos with the tangy Avocado Salsa–a chunky version of guacamole.
Baked Gigantes in Tomato SauceBaked beans take on a whole new identity in this hearty dish featuring gigantes–a Greek version of lima beans–that are baked in a chunky herbed tomato sauce. If you can't find gigantes, you can substitute large lima beans.
Hominy-Pinto Burgers with Roasted Poblano ChilesBean burgers are even better when the beans are processed with hominy and masa harina–the "dough" used to make corn tortillas. The smokiness of roasted poblanos perfectly complements the southwestern spiciness of the burgers and toppings.
Garbanzo-Tomato CurryGarbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are used extensively in Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern cooking. Balance the heat in this curry with yogurt and serve with rice.
Lentil and Rice PilafAdd protein to a simple rice pilaf with lentils. In addition to protein, lentils are also a fair source of calcium and iron. Increase calcium by topping each serving with a dollop of yogurt sauce.
Split Pea-Spinach Dal with CauliflowerA dal is a classic Indian legume stew that's served in some form with almost every meal. This one features yellow split peas, spinach and cauliflower and gets its distinctive flavor from cumin, turmeric, and mustard seeds.
Cuban Black Bean PattiesTo make these hearty bean patties, partially mash the beans before combining with shredded cheese. The pineapple rice is a refreshing accompaniment for the spicy patties.