If you didn’t grow up eating beans (or perhaps even if you did!), then there’s a good chance you hate them. Or if not hate beans, then at least not be thrilled about them.
Like I was, you’re probably somewhat scared of them because you had a kidney bean in chili once and they’re gross which means all beans are gross.
Like most anything though, beans can be actually amazing when done right, so it pays to throw off your cloak of fear or your hat of hatred and try a bean now and then. You never know what you might discover.
For example, I found out that I like black beans because they’re little and they are excellent in Mexican food, refried beans because they make everything creamy and don’t taste (too much like) bean, and cannellini beans because they’re basically tasteless and they have a good texture. You can chuck them in just about anything and not die.
Oh I also hated minestrone until one day someone gave me one with chickpeas in it and I was instantly converted. I can’t do a lot of chickpeas whole in dishes, my inner bean-hater eventually puts up a hand and says:
31 Bean Recipes for People Who Hate Beans
First cab off the rank are these smoky, spicy, sweet baked barbecue beans. Awesome as a side or on hot dogs. Or with bread! Or just about anything, really. Small navy beans (the ones they make tinned baked beans out of) are excellent for bean novices, and I’m yet to find anyone who doesn’t like a smoky-sweet barbecue sauce.
Except my friend Hayley, who refused to eat “burnt wood” sauce.
We also have:
I mean if you really don’t like them you may as well blend them, right? Sometimes it’s the texture that activates the hate reflex (kidney beans, I’m looking at you).
The next offering is the one thing we totally lived on as newbie vegetarians, and it seems to please veggies and non-veggies alike. You can use TVP or soy crumbles or quorn mince or whatever floats your boat in them (we did for years), but it’s super good with a mix of refried beans and chunkier beans – a can of four bean mix can be pretty good if you don’t cry at chickpeas in your Mexican dish (I would) – it’s Mexican Lasagne.
Kind of like a bean burrito but made in layers like a lasagne and baked in the oven. Super easy for a crowd, and the leftovers are fantastic.
- Black Bean Quesadillas
- Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos (that’s the image at the top of the post)
- Chipotle Lentil Tacos (also good with black beans added or in place of the lentils)
Which you then turn into Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Bowls
Or whatever really, I’m not your mother.
They’d make a good taco though…
Vegetarian “Fish” Cakes with cannellini beans standing in for fish in amongst the crispy outside and lemony mashed potato within. Chuck some parsley in there and you won’t know what hit you.
- Baby Beetroot and Feta salad (go on, do a cold chickpea in a salad! The dressing helps)
- Chickpea Tagine with Cinnamon, Cumin and Carrots
- Vegan Paella
- Pumpkin and Cannellini Salad with Haloumi and Kale – saute the kale first in some garlic and butter. Yep.
For those of you with a sweet tooth, you can chuck some beans in a white chocolate brownie and call it a day!
- This will change your life: Chickpea Bake from the Moroccan Soup Bar recipe
- Watching Jamie Oliver make these Humble Home-Cooked Beans jolted me out of dried white bean sadness and into rabid fan
- This made me put orange in with my black beans and I’ve never looked back
- Nigella Lawson’s White Bean Mash – “This is a garlicky, lemony, ultra-fabulous, utterly addictive bean mash,” she says and I’m inclined to agree
- One of my favourite ways of eating white beans in winter – Vegetarian Cassoulet
- For summer: Italian Bean and Olive Salad
- Gourmet Girlfriend’s 30 Minute Vegetarian Burritos with Homemade Flatbread is good if you’re feeling virtuous.
- And this is a pretty legit, non-mushy, flavoursome bean burger. You know you want one.
So I hope that helps! Remember, I was once like you – not into beans, maybe semi into beans, got used to beans, and now eat beans all the time. Legume Land can be a wonderful place!
What’s holding you back from embracing the bean? The flavour? The mushiness? The texture? Bad memories? Pick a beany recipe and try it – let me know how you go. Be bold!