Tasty, Easy Bean Main Dishes

Big Quesadillas with Refried Beans, Spinach, and Avocado

Big quesadillas with refried beans and spinach

A sweet and spicy pineapple salsa adds an intriguing flavor element to these easy vegan quesadillas featuring convenient baby greens, prepared refried beans, avocado, and tomato. If you’re short on time, skip the homemade salsa, and use a prepared pineapple or mango salsa instead. Either way, finish the meal with a simple salad. For heartier appetites, add some cooked quiona or a baked sweet potato. Photos by Evan Atlas.

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Miso-Ginger Red Beans and Broccoli

Miso-ginger red beans and broccoli recipe

Red beans, broccoli, and tomatoes are enveloped in a gingery miso sauce. It’s unusual to give a bean dish an Asian spin, but the balance of colors, textures, and flavors in this dish work very well. Quinoa makes a perfect bed of grain for this dish, though feel free to serve over rice or millet, or on its own in shallow bowls. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. more→

Stewed White Beans with Fresh Tomatoes

Stewed White Beans with Fresh Tomatoes

Here’s a simple and tasty stewed bean dish for late summer or early fall. Use yellow summer squash or delicata in late summer, or butternut squash in early fall. Tomatoes and white beans are a companionable pair. Serve with crusty bread and a big colorful salad. more→

Baked Chickpea Ratatouille

Chickpea Ratatouille by Dreena BurtonThis recipe is one of my favorites. It’s much like a ratatouille, but using chickpeas instead of the traditional eggplant and zucchini, and an original spice combination. The result is a dish with a complexity of flavors and the bonus of minimal preparation! Contributed by Dreena Burton, from Vive le Vegan!*

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Sloppy Buffalo Beans

Sloppy buffalo beans from The Great Vegan Bean book by Kathy Hester

This Sloppy Joe variation can be as spicy or mild as you’d like. If your family members aren’t fans of spicy dishes, use less hot sauce or use a milder sauce in its place. From The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester. @2013 by Fair Winds Press, reprinted by permission. Photo © 2013 by Renee Comet.  more→

Ragout of Broccoli Rabe with White Beans and Porcini Mushrooms

broccoli rage ragout with white beans

This earthy stew of broccoli rabe, beans, and mushrooms is quick to prepare, and is good served on its own in shallow bowls with crusty bread, or over pasta or polenta. Adapted from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. 

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Black Bean-Hemp Protein Patties

Black bean hemp protein burger by Julie Morris

These patties are packed with premium protein, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, fiber, and trace minerals, and won’t contribute one bit to heart disease or diabetes, like animal-derived burgers do. Perfectly aligned spices celebrate three plant-based protein sources: black beans, hemp seeds, and quinoa. Recipe and photo contributed by Julie Morris. Reprinted with permission from Superfood Kitchen: Cooking with Nature’s Most Amazing Foods.* © 2012 by Julie Morris, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
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Polenta with Black Beans and Spinach

Polenta with black beans & Spinach

Prepared polenta that comes in a tube provides an easy way to add variety to the dinner repertoire. In a simple combination, polenta topped with black beans and spinach can be a hearty warm appetizer or the main dish as part of a simple dinner. Look for this kind of polenta in natural foods stores or the Italian or gluten-free foods sections of supermarkets. Adapted from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. See a complete simple dinner, with shopping list, featuring this recipe. more→

Lentils with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Stewed lentils with spinach and bell pepper

Since my family loves lentils, I keep a few cans of organic canned lentils on hand to use when we want a meal with this nourishing legume in a hurry. If you prefer to cook your own, the dish will also come together in a snap if you have them cooked ahead of time. To make this dish a little fancier, try using beluga lentils. There diminutive, gleaming black lentils contrast attractively with the greens and dried tomatoes. Green or brown lentils will taste just as good, though they’re not as pretty. This is great served with Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, Quinoa with Cauliflower, Cranberries, and Nuts, or another grain dish, plus a simple salad.
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Quick Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Quick Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

With the addition of sweet potatoes, this easy chili is filling and warming. Baking or microwaving the sweet potatoes ahead of time cuts down on both the preparation as well as the cooking time. Enjoy leftovers for a thermos lunch or subsequent dinners. Fresh corn bread is a wonderful companion. Serve with a simple salad or any of VegKitchen’s coleslaws and/or a side of sautéed greens. If you need a last-minute idea for a vegan main dish for Thanksgiving dinner, this is a great choice. Adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.

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New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

New Orleans Red Beans and Rice recipe

If one had to choose a single truly characteristic dish of New Orleans, it would be hard to come up with one more renowned than red beans and rice. A dish that has been around long enough to have become established in local folklore, it’s also one that even today, graces many New Orleans restaurant menus. Vegetarians visiting New Orleans should be aware that “red and white,” as it has come to be known, is often made with spicy smoked sausage. more→

Garlicky Skillet Black Beans

Garlicky skillet black beans recipe

Black beans are delicious prepared with lots of garlic. This is a great accompaniment to vegan quesadillas or soft tacos that don’t themselves contain beans; it’s also a fantastic filling for soft tacos. These also go nicely with most kinds of simple meals that needs a little protein boost.

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