27 Ways to Used Canned Black Beans
Got a can of black beans in the back of your pantry? Of course you do. This ingredient staple is the start to endless breakfasts, packable lunches, speedy dinners, and crowd-pleasing appetizers. The best part: They're also versatile, nutritious, budget-friendly, and filling. These recipes will help you transform that mudnane, underestimated can into company-worthy meals and comfort dinners.
Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers
The food processor brings these meatless patties together in a flash. Another bonus? A new Harvard study found that those who regularly ate a healthy plant-based diet (like this burger) significantly lowered their risk of heart disease. Ground flaxseed adds body to the burgers.
Tex-Mex meets tater tots in this easy, inexpensive, and all-around comforting one-dish dinner. Our spicy twist on the classic tater tot casserole consists of a succulent ground beef filling—featuring creamy black beans, crisp-sweet corn, cheese, and mild green chiles for a kick—topped with crispy tater tots, and finished with a drizzle of an addictively spicy and tangy sour cream sauce. Top this fiesta of a casserole with fresh garnishes, such as avocado, tomato, jalapeño, and cilantro, and it’s as perfect to serve at your next football feast as it is for a casual weeknight meal. We use 85/15 lean ground beef for this recipe and recommend that you do not go with anything leaner, as the higher fat percentage both contributes to the filling’s rich flavor and keeps it from drying out while baking.
Black Bean Chili
Looking for the best black bean chili recipe? Your search ends here. Serve this delicious vegetarian dish for your next low-key gathering. Our readers love this easy chili (in one 5-star rating, one reviewer says this recipe won first prize at a charity cook-off!) and it's easy to see why: It's not only incredibly easy to make, it's one of the healthier chili recipes you'll find on our site. Serve this perfect black bean chili with our Classic Skillet Cornbread or one of Our Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
Chicken-and-Black Bean Chimichangas
Upgrade your burritos by crisping them in a skillet.
Black Bean Hummus with Queso Fresco
Try this Mexican-inspired hummus instead of queso for taco night. Top with queso fresco, onion, and cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.
Mini Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Everyone loves enchiladas but all that rolling and filling can be a little labor-intensive on a busy weeknight. So we figured out a way to bake up a pan of delicious mini enchiladas in three easy steps! First, tuck small flour tortillas into two muffin pans and bake until browned to make crispy shells. Next, fill the prepared shells with a mixture of black beans, refried beans, enchilada sauce, green chiles, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Use a mild enchilada sauce and omit the chiles if your family doesn’t like a lot of heat. Bake the mini enchiladas until the cheese melts, then top each one with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, and scallions. Serve with your favorite green salad (a serving size is three mini enchiladas per person) for a fast and family-friendly meal that will be on your dinner table in 30 minutes.
Although these pork and black bean nachos require a bit more attention than your basic platter of loaded nachos, they’re well worth the effort. These are the nachos to make when you really wanna go next-level and impress a group. With the succulent pork, Swiss cheese and mustard sauce, and bread-and-butter pickles, this crowd-pleasing play on a Cuban sandwich packs a powerful load of flavor. Although they may seem out of place at first glance, the briny-sweet pickles are a perfect balance for the savory pork and the funky Swiss cheese sauce. As for the homemade refried black beans, you’ll never look back once you try them. Going for refried beans is one of our favorite pro-tricks when it comes to building a superior plate of nachos; they’re creamy, flavorful, and actually stay on the chip! We’ve linked to a pork recipe in the ingredient list below that would be excellent for these nachos (let’s be real, it would be excellent for just about anything), however, this roasted pork shoulder is time intensive to prepare—so if you’re not up for that, you can definitely use cooked, shredded pork (without sauce) from your favorite local BBQ joint or supermarket instead.
Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas
Mashing half of the beans provides creamy texture and helps to seal the quesadillas.
Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas
Chipotles can be a touch spicy, but you can use only half of what's called for to decrease heat and still get great smoky flavor.
Summer Garden Chili Bowls
While the summer heat often makes us go for lighter foods, that doesn’t mean we don’t still want chili—so we made a lighter, brighter version. Equally perfect for a casual summer supper at home as it is for fueling a cookout or tailgate, these chili bowls are loaded up with vibrant veggies. To keep this tasty entree quick and simple, we use canned chili as a base, then dress it up with grilled corn and zucchini, black beans, fresh avocado slices, cilantro, queso fresco, and a handful of corn chips for good measure. Serve with lime wedges and you have a summer hit on your hands. While this recipes is especially convenient for when you want a tasty bowl chili, but don’t necessarily want to eat off of a huge batch of it for days, the recipe is easily multiplied to accommodate larger crowds.
Coriander-Crusted Flank Steak with Cuban Black Beans
Amp up canned black beans by simmering with sautéed bell pepper, onion, and cumin and finishing with a splash of vinegar.
Mango salsa, quinoa, black beans, red pepper, avocado, corn and pumpkin seeds? You can call this the healthy burrito bowl.
Red Pepper, Corn, and Black Bean Chowder
Savor this Mexican-inspired chowder made with corn, black beans, red pepper, and onion. Top with a spoonful of sour cream or 2% Greek yogurt, a sprinkle of cilantro, and one lime wedge.
Vegetarian Black Bean Tostada
Your go-to weeknight dinner cheat just arrived. You can make a tostada out of basically any ingredients as long as you start with a crisped tortilla. Start with 6-inch whole-grain corn tortillas instead of flour, and you'll save about 30 calories and 200mg sodium. Then just top with this fun flavor combo, and crunch. They're the perfect build-your-own superfast fare--so healthy and delicious, you'll want two.
Kicky Black Bean Burgers
If you don't have a food processor, you can sub about 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs for the torn bun.
Whole-Grain Veggie Burrito Bowl
This is a Tex-Mex riff on the Korean rice dish bibimbap, in which various toppings are arranged over a bed of rice. Here, burrito bowl must-haves such as smoky black beans, fresh pico de gallo, and slaw top brown rice.
Huevos Rancheros Salad
Transform the traditional Mexican favorite, Huevos Rancheros, into a salad! Crunchy arugula pairs divinely with black beans, avocado, and topped with a runny, fried egg.
Cuban Black Bean-and-Yellow Rice Bowls
Don’t think you can get a filling, flavorful meal in just one bowl? We’re here to prove you wrong. Brighten up dinnertime with this colorful, customizable meal. Start with bowls filled with yellow rice, black beans, and plantains, and then let everyone add their favorite toppings. If your family loves avocado, make sure you have enough to go around. You’ll be floored by how much flavor fits into one bowl of this meatless meal. This simple recipe will be on your table in just 50 minutes, and every bite has sweet, spicy, salty, and savory notes. If you’re new to cooking with plantains, we have a tip from the Test Kitchen: Plantains are ready to cook when their peels turn black on the outside, so buy them black or let them ripen before cooking. Many grocery stores sell heat-and-serve frozen plantains too. You’ll love the sweet crunch the plantains give this colorful dish, so gather the family around the table and tell them to dig in.
Black Bean Soup with Avocado, Orange, and Cucumber
We left the soup chunky with a clear broth, but you could easily purée it to create a smooth soup. Just don't skip the avocado mixture, as it makes a refreshing contrast to the beans and spice.
Black and White Chili
This is the simple, hearty food you want as the kids go back to school and schedules get hectic. The combination of both black and white beans creates a nice mix, without having you raid your pantry. The canned goods in this dinner make it super simple, and the prep comes together quickly. Set it on the table with toppings you have on hand: cheddar, sour cream, green onions, radishes, and lime wedges. Have the family create their own for a fun, customizable dinner that makes for great leftovers the next day. Top with extra jalapeños for an added kick.
Smoky Black Bean Dip
Say hello to your new go-to party snack. The canned chipotle in adobo lends a remarkable smoky depth and just the right level of heat to this simple black bean dip. Serve with fresh chopped vegetables or tortilla chips.
Orange-Infused Black Beans
The addition of orange rind and herbs elevates this pantry staple into a vibrant weeknight side.
Slow-Cooker Brisket Chili
Set it and forget it. Black beans, beef brisket, a healthy dose of spices, and a quick prep time take this chili to the next level.
BBQ Chicken-and-Black Bean Tacos
A kid-friendly mix of quality convenience items and bright produce imparts fresh taste with minimal legwork.
Easy Smoky Black Beans
Since everything else in this menu requires a bit more of your attention, it's good to have one dish that's simple to prepare. These gussied-up canned beans get a savory flavor boost from garlic, smoked paprika, and cumin, then a finishing touch of lime juice and cilantro adds freshness. If you'd like to incorporate a little heat, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or ground red pepper, and toast along with the other spices and the garlic.
Sheet Pan Beef and Black Bean Nachos
Load up the nachos on a baking sheet, then bring straight to the table for easy serving and a great presentation. While we love melted shredded cheese, we found that it makes the nachos a bit unwieldy. Instead, a creamy cheese sauce coats each chip and makes it easier to separate from the pack. Topping potential is endless, but we like sliced avocado and jalapeño.
Southwestern Sweet Potato and Egg Hash
Hashes are a great way to incorporate vegetables into the first meal of the day. Here we’ve added a Southwestern spin with chili powder and cumin. Give the potatoes a head start by microwaving them until just shy of tender, then finish them off in the skillet for that coveted crispy texture. Use the leftover black beans to boost protein and fiber in salads, soups, or grain bowls.