How to Make Your Canned Beans Taste Awesome
Think canned beans have to be bland and boring? Think again! In fact, there are plenty of ways you can spruce up a can of beans and make them taste out-of-this-world delicious! And best of all, since canned beans are incredibly affordable, you can enjoy quick, convenient and tasty dishes that won’t break your budget. If you’re looking for a few creative ways to dress up your beans, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Simmer in olive oil.
There are a lot of different ways you can cook canned beans, the easiest being to heat and serve. But if you’d like a little more flavor and pizzazz, try simmering them in an aromatic blend of olive oil, garlic and herbs. It’s super easy – just drain your beans of choice, put them in a pan with enough olive oil to cover them, add in some salt, a few cloves of fresh garlic and whatever your favorite herbs and spices are. Simmer over medium heat until the beans are warmed through. Want to use less oil? Sauté them in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with some shallots and garlic instead. Yum!
Season them with spice blends.
In a pinch for time or don’t feel like buying a ton of individual spices? Try seasoning your beans with a spice blend. Any will do, whether it’s poultry seasoning, Montreal steak seasoning, old bay, adobe or something else. Keep a few jars of these on hand and bring them out whenever it’s time to cook up some beans. Add a few dashes and you’ll be amazed at the extra flavors you’ll have to savor. Blends designed for meats work particularly when beans are a major part of the dish.
Most of the time when refried beans are discussed, it is pinto beans that are the star of the show. But the truth is, any bean can be refried and transformed into a creamy, comforting side dish. And making refried beans is much easier than you might think. Simply heat some aromatics (i.e. garlic, oregano, bay leaf, etc.) in a saucepan with a tablespoon of your preferred cooking fat (bacon grease is particularly good for its added flavor). Add a can of drained beans and cook until they begin to disintegrate. Then, simply mash to your heart’s content.
Add a dash of meat.
Using a small amount of meat as an accent rather than the main ingredient can be a very cost-effective (and delicious) way to add more flavor to your beans. For instance, just a couple ounces of bacon or chorizo can deliver the perfect amount of spice or smokiness to your favorite canned beans. Try adding a sprinkle of fresh herbs (like cilantro or garlic sprouts) and a dollop of sour cream, and then enjoy with a side of warm tortillas. Delish!
Make them into a dip.
Who said you couldn’t eat chips and dip for dinner! Trust us – when a hearty bean dip is involved, you’ll want to bend the rules. And turning canned beans into a tasty dip is super easy! Just drain a can of your favorite beans, add them to your food processor with a tablespoon of something creamy, like tahini or sour cream. Add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice, a drizzle something sweet, like honey, and a pinch or two of garlic, herbs or your favorite spice blend. Whir it together and enjoy. (If you’re looking for a few good recipes, try our Tuscan white bean dip or go decadent with our black bean chocolate dip.)
Beans are a hearty, versatile and inexpensive side or the perfect addition to any recipe. Liven up your canned beans with the recipes above and treat your family to something new, delicious and oh-so-affordable.