5 Things To Do With Cooked Or Canned Beans

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1. Black Bean Tostada

Heat precooked or canned black beans, adding ground cumin, chili powder, fresh oregano, and salt. Shred cabbage and chop a few radishes or a chunk of jicama; grate some Mexican melting cheese like queso oaxaca or cotija, and slice some smoked chorizo or other cooked sausage. Drain the beans and mash roughly. Lightly toast large tortillas under the broiler, then top with the beans, the cheese, and the meat. Return to the broiler to melt the cheese and serve, topped with the vegetables and a dollop of sour cream; put lime wedges on the side.

2. Swiss Chard with White Beans and Pancetta (or Bacon)

Dice a quarter pound of pancetta and sear in olive oil until golden and getting crisp. Meanwhile, take a large bunch of Swiss chard and chop, keeping stems and leaves separate. Add the stems to the pancetta; when they soften a bit, add the leaves. Stir until wilted, then add a quarter cup of raisins, a quarter cup of pine nuts, and a couple cups of precooked or canned navy beans (rinsed and drained). warm until heated through and serve with toasted olive bread or toss with pasta.

3. Mixed Bean Soup or Stew

In a couple tablespoons of olive oil, cook a diced onion, carrot, and celery stalk until the vegetables soften, then add about four cups of precooked or canned beans (navy beans, cannellini beans, black beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, or chickpeas) with some of their liquid, a couple cups of water or stock, two bay leaves, and a sprig of fresh thyme. Bring to a boil and cook until the flavors blend and the beans are warmed through; add more liquid to achieve the consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper, remove the bay leaves and thyme sprig, and serve.

4. Mussels in Tomato–White Bean sauce

Cook a clove or two of minced garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over low heat for about two minutes, or until fragrant. Add a large chopped tomato (a couple of canned ones are fine), two cups of drained precooked or canned white beans, and two to four pounds of cleaned mussels. Cook, covered, for about five minutes, or until all the mussels open (discard those that don’t). Sprinkle the mussels with chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges and good crusty bread.

5. Northern Beans with Spanish Chorizo

You can use any cooked sausage you like here, but chorizo is special. Cut chorizo (Spanish smoked, not Mexican raw) into quarter-inch pieces and sear until slightly browned. Mix together some drained precooked or canned great northern beans or other white beans, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and a handful of chopped parsley. Add the chorizo and serve with crusty bread and a mound of arugula.

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