If you were inspired by my post about cooking beans from scratch, you’re probably all set to dig out the slow cooker this weekend. But once you cook those beans, what are you doing to do with all of them?
Here are five ways we keep some variety in our meals when we’re eating the same type of beans for a few days. Feel free to add your own variations and work with what you have on hand! Being able to mix it up keeps your food interesting and helps reduce waste. (#5 is pictured.)
#1 – With brown rice and Creole seasoning
Creole seasoning is a mix of spices that adds a kick to whatever you’re preparing. I was first inspired to use it when I fell in love with red beans and rice in New Orleans, but it’s proved to be a versatile addition to our kitchen. This meal works great with leftover rice and heated in the microwave or on the stovetop
Add a side of your favorite veggie (usually green beans, when we’re in a hurry), a piece of fruit, and a slice of bread with butter (Earth Balance, in our case), and you’ve got a hearty but simple meal.
#2 – On bread as a sandwich
Sandwiches are easy, quick, and they pack well when you’re on the go. My husband can attest that these sandwiches are extra tasty after a busy morning. On your favorite type of bread, spread a layer of mayo (we use Nasoya), add Dijon mustard, and for added delectability, throw on a slice or two of avocado. This is another place that Creole seasoning makes an appearance — add a sprinkle onto your mayo before you add the beans. The beans like to move around a bit, so feel free to wrap it extra tight to keep everything in place. You can toast the bread too, which can help everything stay together.
These would also be excellent with a slice of tomato, but I haven’t had a chance to make it happen. I love to have a big juicy salad as a side with these sandwiches.
#3 – With pasta and sauce
If you’re vegetarian, you’d probably like to add some heartiness to your pasta. Cook up your pasta, and when you’re heating your sauce (marinara, alfredo, pesto, homemade, from a jar — whatever works for you!), add a healthy scoop of beans to the sauce. It gives some added texture, not to mention more fiber and protein. Add a side of veggies and fruit, and you’re done!
#4 – Tex-Mex style
Grab a tortilla and add a spread of sour cream (we use the Tofutti brand substitute) and some salsa. Cook up some strips of bell pepper (frozen or fresh are equally delicious), add avocado and rice, and then top it off with beans. Season with your favorite Southwestern or Mexican style spices — we like cumin and fresh cilantro (although dried will do in a pinch).
#5 – With fried rice and Italian seasonings
Is that an odd mix? You won’t think so once you try it — this is my latest favorite (pictured at the top of the post)! Add some vegetable oil to your skillet, on medium heat. Add the beans and some rice to your pan, then throw in some mixed vegetables (again, frozen, fresh, or canned can work equally well). Season with sage, basil, and oregano. I found this was best with a side of fruit and a slice of buttered bread. If you want to get extra fancy, you can top your fried rice with some Panko bread crumbs.
She likes it, and let’s be honest — if she’s happy, everybody’s happy.
Do you have a go-to favorite for Great Northern beans? Is Italian fried rice a thing?