5 Healthy Ways to Use Canned Beans

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Beans

Put canned beans — a healthy pantry staple — in the spotlight. Beans boast protein, fiber, folate and lots of minerals, like iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. If you’re worried about sodium, rinse and drain beans before using to cut back on the salt by as much as 40 percent.

Salad

A combo of fresh and canned beans, plus a simple vinaigrette, creates a healthy side dish that tastes better the longer it marinates.

Recipe: Garden Bean Salad

Spreads

From hummus and dips to sandwich spreads, experiment with black beans, white beans and chickpeas, then get creative with your spices. Place ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Recipe: Spinach and Cannellini Bean Dip

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Chili

There are no rules for this classic bean dish. The ingredient list may seem lengthy, but you really just toss everything in the pot. This recipe is easy enough to make on a busy weeknight.

Recipe: Weeknight Two-Bean Chili

Soups

Canned beans do double duty in soup. Leave some whole to add texture, and puree the rest to thicken the mixture.

Recipe: Easy Spicy Black Bean Soup

Burgers

Here’s a vegetarian dish with uber amounts of satisfying protein and fiber; even meat lovers will swoon for these burgers.

Recipe: Bean-Kale Burgers with Sweet Potato Wedges

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.