After 11 years of being a dietitian, one of the foods we still aren’t eating enough of is beans…sometimes this is even true of those of us who are plant-based! So I’ve created this roundup of creative and healthy vegan bean recipes to help you get inspired to cook with this filling and sustainable plant-protein option.
Why are beans so healthy?
Legumes, or beans, are one of the healthiest, most perfect foods around. Here is why:
- They contain low-glycemic carbohydrates that energize you without causing a blood sugar crash.
- Beans and legumes pack plenty of plant-based protein, between 13 – 30 grams per cooked cup.
- They contain a lot of minerals that many of us don’t get enough of, such as iron, zinc, and magnesium along with B vitamins for energy metabolism.
- They are very high in fibre, about 10-15g per cup, to optimize gut health and feed beneficial bacteria in the large intestine.
- They are super affordable and versatile enough to fit into almost any dish you can imagine.
Can I eat beans if I am on a low FODMAP diet?
Typically, canned beans, which have been thoroughly rinsed, are the lowest FODMAP.
You can enjoy ¼ cup of rinsed, canned black beans, butter beans or chickpeas as a low FODMAP serving. You can also enjoy ½ cup of rinsed, canned lentils as a low FODMAP serving.
Low FODMAP servings are also a great place to start if you are new to beans. Because they are so rich in fibre and FODMAPS (which feed bacteria in the gut) you need time to adjust. Enjoy small servings at first and then gradually work up to larger servings as your digestive tract gets used to powering through all that fibre!
I’ve got a complete list of low FODMAP foods on the blog, if you are new to low FODMAP living!
How to cook dried beans
Dried beans can seem intimidating…but really, they are very simple to cook!
Step One: Except for lentils, I always soak my beans for 24 hours, in a large pasta pot with enough water to cover the beans by at least 3 inches. Lentils don’t need to be soaked.
Step Two: Drain soaked beans, rinse and fill up pot with fresh water for cooking. Bring to a boil, and then lower to simmer, uncovered, until beans are tender. This can be anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the bean. Just keep setting a timer for 15 minute intervals and keep testing!
Step Three: Once cooked, let cool and then transfer to an airtight container, with cooking liquid, in the fridge OR drain and rinse beans, spread them out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags for later use.
It’s great to do a big batch prep of beans on the weekend and pop them into the freezer so you have homecooked beans in a snap!
Now…..on to our roundup of super healthy vegan bean recipes!
Vegan Black Bean Recipes
Chili is magic. Everyone loves it…and this is my never-fail recipe that my kids love. Plenty of veg AND plenty of protein. There are a couple of secret ingredients in there that really takes it over the top. Makes a big batch, so you can repurpose leftovers into chili fries or burritos, or freeze half for another week.
This makes a great protein-rich side dish, or you could easily turn it into the main event with some extra roasted veggies on top. Perfect for batch prepping lunches as minus the avocado, will keep well.
Black beans and chocolate are a match made in heaven! These feature the addition of a protein powder; to keep it low FODMAP for a one ball serving, opt for a rice protein or pea protein isolate that contains no carbs.
One of the easiest ways to eat more plants is to stuff more plants inside of plants. And this stuffed black bean burrito squash from Love and Lemons is such a clever way to do it…it’s a complete meal!
Vegan White Bean Recipes
This recipe is a perfect batch-prep for lunches; a simple white bean smash with garlic pairs beautifully crispy roasted kale. For an anti-inflammatory lunch, it’s got it all – made on a high fibre bread like sprouted grain, this sandwich has tons of fibre, plenty of protein and even some greens!
One of my favourite comfort foods…and the perfect Sunday dinner! This creamy, cheesy casserole layers white beans and greens with sweet potato and a crispy almond parmesan topping.
Vegan Chickpea Recipes
Shakshuka is one of my favourite Mediterranean meals; it’s richly spiced and amazing for lunch or brunch – and this chickpea version from Minimalist Baker is sure to satisfy!
LOVE this idea of using chickpeas to make fajitas. I would totally add some sliced portobello mushrooms to the roasting pan to boost the veggies, plus layer on lots of avocado for healthy fats. This would be a great one for meal prep.
I know you think that’s a typo…but it’s not. Dessert hummus is real! I actually have a chocolate hummus recipe in Eat More Plants Cookbook. This is essentially a dip style of all those raw chickpea cookie dough recipes out there. Super fun!
This is another one of my kid-pleasing bean dishes. They absolutely love it! It is super creamy and comforting and comes together in no time at all. The perfect meal for those nights when you’re too tired to cook but you want something really yummy.
Falafel is seriously one of my favourite things. You can use it to add protein to a salad; stuff them in a pita or tortilla, make them big like a veggie burger or enjoy them as a protein-rich snack. Make a big batch, freeze them and always have these savoury gems on hand!
Vegan Lentil Recipes
I love this veggie-filled dal from Nutrition Stripped; it’s comforting and nourishing. It’s a long cook, so it’s perfect for making dinner on Sunday night, then repurposing the leftovers for grain bowls and wraps all week long.
Everyone should have a go-to lentil soup recipe! This one from my friends at Flourist is easy to prepare, very flavourful and it will freeze well.
This is maybe the perfect light meal. Fresh and light, yet filling…and it makes use of beluga lentisl which have such a special texture and flavour. Just perfect!
Vegan Kidney Bean Recipes
This jambalaya also packs in extra protein with vegetarian sausage, which my kids absolutely love. Serve with a nice side salad or sautéed veggies for a more complete meal.
Cooking beans from dried needn’t be intimidating – but if you’re going to do it, I recommend making a BIG batch so you can enjoy more than one meal out of it. These Cajun-style red beans are a great way to explore using dried beans in your recipes. Such a satisfying dish!
Vegan Baked Bean Recipes
This is for the BBQ lovers out there. Smoky and rich, these beans make a great side dish – perfect for those of you who are low FODMAP and just need to add a smaller portion of beans to your meal. This is stick-to-your-ribs food!
Baked beans, but make em maple. These are the beans I grew up with, the ones that feel as Canadian as, well…maple syrup! Layer them on toast, on rice or beside a nice big green salad for a simple and comforting meal.
Vegan Edamame Recipes
Edamame makes an amazing burger…my Green Machine Burgers in Eat More Plants Cookbook are proof! This is a yummy veggie burger that you can eat as a burg, or use as a falafel-like patty for lunches, wraps or snacking.
A big thank you to Megan Leong, my student, for helping put this roundup together!
Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash