Our best canned beans recipes will make you budget friendly meals that are not only easy and affordable but also healthy. Kidney beans, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, and white beans such as butter beans and cannellini beans are super-foods, high in fiber and packed with plant-based proteins, vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, manganese and iron.
If you’re feeling the pinch as a result of the cost of living crisis, don’t worry, you’re not alone – with food prices surging right around the world, billions of us are looking for more affordable food options to feed ourselves, our families and friends.
One easy way to reduce the shopping bill is to reduce increasingly expensive meats and increase plant-based foods, such as vegetables and beans, although unfortunately, many vegetables are also increasingly expensive. What’s with the $6 lettuce?!
Canned beans are a brilliant option for budget friendly meals and according to the experts are just as healthy as dried beans, which are often much more expensive. Tinned beans are simply cooked beans, making them super convenient, as well as being a superfood.
All our best canned beans recipes are versatile, too. Can’t afford the chorizo right now? Leave it out. Don’t have all the listed spices in the pantry? Skip a few. Got lima beans instead of navy beans. Most white beans can be used interchangeably so don’t hesitate to substitute with what you have.
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Published 13 January 2023; Updated 19 January 2023
Best Canned Beans Recipes for Budget Friendly Meals that Are Easy and Healthy
These are our best canned beans recipes, and while most use butter beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and red kidney beans, you can always get creative and swap out our suggestions for your favourite beans.
Easy Vegetarian Chilli Recipe for Chilli Con Carne Without Meat
Top of my picks of our best canned beans recipes is this easy vegetarian chilli recipe, which makes a chilli con carne sin carne (without meat) using canned red kidney beans. It’s even vegan if you eat it without dairy accompaniments such as sour cream and cheese. While this bean chilli is a cinch to make and comes together quickly, it’s full of so much flavour thanks to the spices that even meat-lovers won’t miss the beef mince. Serve it with Mexican rice to make it stretch even further.
Ultimate Nachos Recipe for the Most Delicious Nachos You’ll Ever Eat
Our ultimate nachos recipe makes the most delicious nachos you’ll ever eat while making use of leftover chilli. So if you have some of that vegetarian bean chilli left, above, this nachos is a fantastic way to turn one dish into two delicious meals. This is so much better than the melted-cheese-over-tortilla-chips that some Tex-Mex restaurants pass off as nachos. This is our super nachos with the works. Tips: save money by making your own red tomato salsa and authentic Mexican guacamole and don’t buy expensive bags of Doritos; you’ll save money by finding a source for big bags of restaurant-style corn tortilla chips, which are cheaper and more authentic.
Antalya Style Turkish White Bean Salad Recipe with Jammy Soft Boiled Eggs
This Antalya style Turkish white bean salad recipe with jammy soft boiled eggs makes you my take on Antalya usulü piyaz, a Turkish white bean salad made the Antalya way, and it’s another of our best canned bean recipes. Historically, Çandır beans grown in Antalya province were used but production slowed during the pandemic. Canned butter beans or cannellini beans are commonly used by Turkish cooks these days. Drizzle on extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on sumac, ground Aleppo pepper or chilli flakes just before serving.
Easy Authentic Hummus Recipe for a Creamy Homemade Traditional Hummus
This easy authentic hummus recipe makes a homemade traditional hummus that a Lebanese friend taught Terence to make when we lived in Abu Dhabi in the late Nineties. We make this classic hummus recipe whenever we have cravings for Arabic food or are missing the Middle East and always keep cans of chick peas or garbanzo beans in the pantry for that reason. What makes this recipe so easy is that it can be made with canned chickpeas and a handful of other ingredients that you throw into a food processor. Recipes don’t get much easier than that. If you prefer to make this homemade hummus recipe from scratch you’ll need to begin with dried chickpeas and soak the chickpeas overnight to soften them. Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to soften them faster.
Chorizo Cabbage and Three Bean Stew Recipe
This hearty chorizo cabbage and three bean stew recipe makes my spicy take on a traditional Eastern European stew my Russian-Ukrainian grandmother cooked that’s called kapustniak, kapustnyak or kapusniak in Russia, Ukraine and Poland, respectively. Originally made with kielbasa and sauerkraut, I use chorizo to add warmth and deep flavours, and three types of beans to add texture. It’s not only one of our best canned beans recipes, it’s one of my Russian family recipes and one of my favourite cabbage recipes. I use a combination of butter beans, borlotti beans and kidney beans but by all means use whatever’s in your kitchen cupboards.
Middle Eastern Hummus Balila Recipe for Creamy Warm Chickpeas Spiced with Cumin
If you love hummus as much as I do, then you’re going to love my hummus balila recipe. It makes a dish of creamy warm chickpeas (garbanzo beans) gently spiced with ground cumin, drizzled with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, and served with pita bread, pickles, fresh herbs, and salad. Simply known as ‘balila’, the Levantine dish has long been a popular breakfast or snack everywhere from Lebanon and Syria to the Arabian Peninsula countries.
Balela Salad Recipe for a Delicious Warm Chickpea Salad
It’s worth making double the amount of hummus balila, above, just so you can make this balila or balela salad the next day. This easy recipe makes a warm chickpea salad from the Middle East. Creamy hummus balila – a rustic, cumin-spiced hummus textured with whole chickpeas and drizzled with a lemony olive oil – is topped with a traditional Arabic salad of crunchy cucumbers, sweet tomatoes, zingy purple shallots, crispy radishes, and fresh fragrant mint and parsley. It’s a fantastic side dish to minced kofta kebabs, sausages or other grilled meats.
Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Hummus and Chickpeas
This roasted cauliflower recipe is another hummus based recipe for garbanzo bean lovers and it’s another of our best canned beans recipes. Our recipe makes a Middle Eastern inspired dish of cauliflower florets roasted in gently spiced extra virgin olive oil, served on creamy hummus, and topped with crispy fried chickpeas or garbanzo beans, tangy pickled shallots, and fragrant fresh mint. We love it with this braised chicken dish with olives and capers and our radish cucumber salad with feta, rucola and fresh herbs.
Butter Bean Dip Recipe for a Creamy Dip with Pita Crisps and Crudités
Our easy butter bean dip recipe makes a creamy hummus-like Mediterranean dip flavoured with garlic, onion, cumin, and lemon and it’s another one of our best canned bean recipes. I use canned butter beans in this recipe, but by all means feel free to soak dried butter beans overnight. A little Greek yoghurt gives this creamy white bean dip an even creamier consistency, while fresh lemon juice adds tang, and cumin brings subtle spice. Finished with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of smoky paprika, it’s fantastic with crispy pita chips and crudités.
Green Minestrone Soup Recipe for a Tasty Vegetable Broth
This green minestrone soup recipe makes an easy, versatile, year-round soup that starts out as a light fresh spring soup the first day, but leave it overnight and it evolves into a warming, hearty autumn broth. It’s another of our best canned bean recipes. Traditionally, Italians have long used dried beans soaked overnight for soups such as minestrone, but I’ve used canned butter beans, which I love for their rich creamy taste for this. Lastly, a good quality extra virgin olive oil (preferably) or a decent quality olive oil is essential, if possible, as you’ll really taste it in this soup – as is a sprinkle of grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.
Moroccan Chickpea Soup Recipe
This authentic Moroccan chickpea soup recipe is easily one of our best winter soup recipes and another of our best canned beans recipes. It’s also one of our favourite chickpea soups, taught to us by Jamila, the cook at our riad Dar Rocmarra in Marrakech in Morocco, where we spent two weeks on the round the world trip that launched Grantourismo a decade ago, and we haven’t adjusted a single thing since. It makes a comforting soup that is perfect for a cold winter’s night. We recommend serving it with some flatbread or chunky slices of toasted sourdough bread.
Chickpea Curry Recipe for Punjabi Chole from Indian Cooking Class by Christine Manfield
This chickpea curry recipe makes a comforting Punjabi chole from the cookbook Indian Cooking Class by Australian chef Christine Manfield, whose love of spice, Indian food and India began soon after she started cooking. ‘Chole’ are ‘chickpeas’ and this richly spiced chickpea stew is a beloved dish of Punjabi cuisine of Punjab, a region straddling Northern India and Pakistan. Bhatura is a puffy deep-fried bread typically served with the spicy chickpea stew or chickpea curry. Having said that, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat chole with papadams and basmati rice, as we do.
Ribollita Soup Recipe for a Tuscan Style Bean and Bread Soup
This classic Italian ribollita soup recipe makes the Tuscan bean, kale and bread soup, invented to use up leftovers, including stale bread, and it’s another of our best canned bean recipes. ‘Ribollita’ means ‘re-boiled’ in Italian and traditionally this hearty vegetarian broth was made with leftover soup, such as minestrone or white bean soup that was re-boiled with old bread. We use leftover sourdough batard and I cook this in our Dutch oven. A lot of Italian ribollita recipes call for ‘white beans’. I use a mix of butter beans and cannellini beans, as I like the combination of textures. You’ll need to separate each can in half and mash one half of the beans.
Chunky Potato Soup Recipe with Cabbage, Smoky Pork Sausage, Butter Beans and Sour Cream
My chunky potato soup recipe makes one of our best canned beans recipes, a hearty, creamy potato soup with sautéed cabbage, smoky pork sausage and butter beans that’s garnished with fresh fragrant dill and a dollop of sour cream. It’s an Eastern European style soup, based on my Russian-Ukrainian grandmother’s recipe. She used a kind of soft smoky pork kielbasa or Polish sausage in her soups, which were easy to get in local delis in Sydney, and added loads of flavour. We can’t get them here, so I’ve used a British smoky pork sausage and tinned butter beans once again. While this chunky potato soup recipe is easy to make and comes together in 40 minutes or so, you can certainly leave it to simmer longer and the potato will break down even more, creating an even denser soup.
Gallo Pinto Recipe from Costa Rica
Our authentic gallo pinto recipe will make you the popular breakfast dish from Costa Rica served with fried or scrambled eggs. It’s also a great side dish for a main course – typically pork or chicken in the part of Costa Rica we were in when we shared this recipe. Terence prefers gallo pinto with fried eggs that still have a soft yolk so that you can mix the yolk into the gallo pinto. While most recipes call for dried beans, you can certainly use canned beans. In Costa Rica, home cooks use Salsa Lizano during the cooking process or as a condiment to season the dish yourself. Some suggest HP Sauce or Worcestershire sauce, but both are a poor substitute.
Classic Toulouse Cassoulet Recipe with Haricot Beans
This classic French cassoulet recipe from Toulouse makes a hearty stew of haricot beans, pork, sausages, and duck confit, one of countless versions of cassoulet. It’s another of our best canned bean recipes. Haricots blancs (white beans, sourced from Castelnaudary) make up the base of the dish, and while Terence follows tradition and uses dried beans soaked for 24hrs for this recipe, I have used canned white beans and it’s just as delicious. This classic Toulouse cassoulet is definitely a dish made for those with a huge appetite on a cold winter’s night or after a day skiing, hiking or chopping wood! And if you love a traditional stew, do check out our collection of best stew recipes for more hearty comforting stews.
Please do let us know in the Comments below if you make any of our best canned beans recipes as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.