Easy Beans, Three Ways

Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Got cans or bags of beans stocked in your kitchen “just in case?” They're great on their own with nothing more than a little salt, but you might want to switch things up a bit. For those looking for a little variety in your bean consumption, here are three super easy recipes that anyone can make -- and I truly mean anyone. Yes, I'm a culinary school graduate with professional restaurant experience who has run a recipe blog for over a decade, but I wrote all of these recipes with my friends in mind -- folks whose idea of making dinner is opening the Seamless app. Bonus: You don't even have to cut anything!

Bean Tacos

Heat a whole 15.5-ounce can of beans -- liquid and all -- in a small skillet or pot over medium heat along with 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.

Give it a taste and add more seasonings as you see fit -- or not. 

Spoon beans on some warmed tortillas and top with whatever taco fixin's you've got in your fridge, such as shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, and hot sauce.

Cumin-Spiced Bean Burgers

Drain and rinse one 15.5-ounce can of beans (I prefer black for this recipe -- and in life) and add to a bowl. 

Lightly mash the beans with a fork, leaving some whole, and mix with 1 egg, ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. 

Form into 2 patties and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to help them keep their shape. You can use this time to watch an episode of Schitt's Creek

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and cook the bean burgers until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Slap the burgers between some buns, load 'em up with whatever accouterments you can find, and revel in your burger-making glory.

Tomato Bean Soup

Add one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, one drained and rinsed 15.5-ounce can of beans (chickpeas or white beans would be my pick), 2 cups of the stock of your choice (but water will do if you're all out), 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to a medium-sized pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer (aka only a few bubbles are coming up at a time), and cook until the flavors have come together and the canned tomato taste is gone, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste buds. Divide among bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with extra crushed red pepper flakes for an extra kick. (Bonus points if you use the Salt Bae sprinkle technique.)

Editor’s note: If you have dried beans, don’t worry about soaking. Just rinse them, place them in a pot, and cover with 2-3 inches of water and a spoonful of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 1.5 hours until the beans are tender.

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Aaron Hutcherson is a writer, editor, recipe developer, and blogger behind The Hungry Hutch. He's a fan of soul food, whiskey, and intersectionality. Follow his cooking and eating adventures on Instagram and Twitter.