12 Healthy Bean Recipes

Beans are high in plant protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious choice for vegans and vegetarians. However, you do not have to follow a plant-based diet to enjoy healthy bean recipes. 

Incorporating black beans, pinto beans, and other types of beans on a regular basis can be a great way to consume a variety of protein sources. If you want to cut back on animal protein, try these healthy bean recipes.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

black bean tacos
Simply Recipes / Elizabeth Stark

Tacos are a delicious and satiating way to eat more beans. This sweet potato and black bean taco recipe will satisfy your craving for Mexican takeout food with a healthier twist. It calls for a variety of legumes and vegetables, including black beans, sweet potatoes, avocado, onion, jalapeno, and more.

Since this recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make, it is perfect for weeknight dinners and meal prep. It is a vegetarian recipe, so add this to your rotation of dishes for Meatless Monday. To make this recipe dairy-free, simply omit the cheese or replace with a non-dairy cheese alternative.

Easy Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

slow cooker pinto beans
Verywell Fit / Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD

Using a slow cooker is a great way to save on time. This slow cooker pinto beans recipe can cook on low for up to 8 hours, so you can prep this before work and have dinner waiting for you when you come home. Omit the pork ingredients to make this a vegan bean recipe.

Making a big batch of pinto beans is also a great way to meal prep for the week. Pair these beans with brown rice, veggies, and cilantro lime tofu for vegan-friendly burrito bowls that will reheat nicely.

Instant Pot Refried Beans

refried beans
The Spruce

Like slow cookers, pressure cookers help cut back on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen. When cooking dried beans instead of canned beans, healthy bean recipes can become very time consuming. One way to reduce the amount of time it takes to make beans is by soaking the beans ahead of time and using a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot instead of the stovetop.

These pressure cooker refried beans will remind you of a Mexican restaurant and they take less than an hour to make. Substitute olive oil for bacon grease to make these beans vegan- and vegetarian-friendly.

Healthier Barbecue “Baked” Beans

bbq baked beans
Alice Day / StockFood Creative / Getty Images

Baked beans are a classic comforting side dish, but they do not have to be high in calories, fat, and sugar. This healthy barbecue baked beans recipe only takes 10 minutes to prepare and contains less than 200 calories per serving. Despite being low in calories, each serving packs 8 g of protein.

Since this recipe calls for a low-carb DIY barbecue sauce, it is much lower in carbs and sugar than store bought or restaurant baked beans. Serve these with mashed potatoes and green beans for a healthy dinner that hits the spot.

Bean and Rice Burritos

bean and rice burritos
 ​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Beans and rice are a famous duo. When eaten together, they also form complete vegan proteins. One way to eat more heart-healthy bean recipes is by making a batch of bean and rice burritos. This bean and rice burrito recipe is perfect for prepping weekday lunches ahead of time. 

Afternoons can be busy, and this recipe only takes 22 minutes to prepare and make. This is a great way to eat more beans as well as whole grains and vegetables.

Spicy, Citrusy Black Beans

spicy black beans
Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

On their own, black beans are rather plain. They offer a lot of protein and fiber, but beans can be lacking in the flavor department. If you have a bag of dried black beans that has been sitting in your pantry, jazz them up by making this spicy, citrusy black bean recipe.

You will be amazed at how ingredients like bay leaves, sage leaves, Ancho red chili sauce, and fresh orange juice can transform plain black beans into a spicy, citrusy side dish. These would pair perfectly with a Spanish-style rice recipe to use in tacos, burritos, and burrito bowls. 

Mediterranean Quick-Stewed Fava Beans

Mediterranean fava beans
Verywell Fit / Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN

Fava beans are not as popular as black beans and pinto beans, but they are full of protein and nutrients in their own right. This Mediterranean fava beans recipe is the perfect introduction to this underrated bean.

This recipe also calls for tahini, which is a nutritious source of good fat for vegans and vegetarians. Make this recipe along with recipes for hummus, tabbouleh, and baba ghanoush for a Mediterranean-inspired spread.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

sweet potato and black bean chili
The Spruce

Chili is the perfect dinner for large families on busy nights since a large pot of chili comes together in about 35 minutes. This black bean and sweet potato chili recipe incorporates healthy vegan ingredients like legumes, vegetables, spices, and vegetable broth. 

Save time by using canned black beans, canned tomatoes, and frozen sweet potatoes. You will end up with 5 to 6 servings of this healthy bean recipe that will feed a family or can be reheated for lunch the next day.

Healthy Potato, Leek, and White Bean Soup

white bean soup
Verywell Fit / Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD

If you are not the biggest fan of beans, this white bean and vegetable soup recipe will convert you into a bean lover. It uses ingredients you know and love like potatoes, leeks, and garlic. Since the soup is blended, you won’t even notice the beans. 

Though this recipe is not vegan since it contains chicken broth, bacon, and yogurt, it is an excellent source of plant protein and vegetables for meat lovers.

Mexican Quinoa Salad With Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes

quinoa and bean salad
Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Who said salad has to be boring? Salads get a bad reputation for being plain, raw, and kin to “rabbit food.” This Mexican quinoa salad with black beans recipe is anything but that. 

It can be served warm or cold, so this recipe is perfect to make during any season. In addition to protein-rich black beans, it also calls for quinoa, which is a complete protein on its own. Adding corn, tomatoes, and onions help bulk up this salad while cilantro, lime juice, and jalapeno add flavor.

Black Bean Hummus

black bean hummus
The Spruce

When you think of hummus, you may not think to add black beans. While chickpeas are usually used to make hummus, you can make hummus with just about anything. In this black bean hummus recipe, you will transform ordinary canned black beans into the dip of your dreams. You can also spread this on whole grain wraps with veggies for a healthy lunch.

Black Beans and Greens Pinwheels

black bean pinwheels
Verywell Fit / Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN

This black bean pinwheels recipe only requires three simple ingredients: whole wheat tortillas, refried black beans, and dark leafy greens of your choice. Verywell Fit recommends arugula or spinach for this recipe.

Since this recipe contains the three macronutrients—fat, carbohydrates, and protein—it is a balanced lunch for vegans and vegetarians to take to work or school. Serve with sliced veggies on the side for even more nutrients.  

A Word From Verywell

The healthy bean recipes are endless. You can use a variety of beans to make tacos, wraps, salads, dips, soups, and more. Since beans have a mild flavor, you can add them to many recipes as one way to replace animal protein with a plant protein source. When you are feeling uninspired and not sure how to use up the beans in your pantry, you can’t go wrong with a simple bean and rice recipe.

By Lacey Muinos
Lacey Muinos is a professional writer who specializes in fitness, nutrition, and health.