3 Recipes That Make Tinned Beans Utterly Delicious

Sadhbh O'Sullivan
·5-min read

I don't know if it's because of the childhood rhyme about the 'musical fruit' or simply because of their texture but I never found tinned beans a particularly appealing foodstuff. At least that used to be true, until I learned that after a rinse and a drain the tinned bean can be a filling flavour powerhouse, delivering a huge whack of protein at a purse-friendly price point.

Given the right treatment, tinned beans can be utterly moreish and delicious (as well as cost effective), and no one treats them better than the author and photographer behind Wholy Goodness, Jessica Prescott. In her new book Vegan One-Pot Wonders, Jessica uses only one pot to create more efficient, less messy recipes which can even save you money by utilising ingredients already in your kitchen cupboards. With Jessica's guiding hand, you too can turn a tin of beans from something a bit mushy and disappointing into something glorious.

<strong>Black Bean Soup</strong><br><em>Serves 4</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>3 tbsp olive oil<br>1 onion, finely chopped<br>2–3 carrots, finely chopped<br>2–3 celery stalks, finely chopped<br>Stalks from a bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped (keep the leaves to serve)<br>1 heaped tsp ground coriander<br>1 heaped tsp ground cumin<br>3 garlic cloves, finely chopped<br>2 x 400 g tins black beans (or 3 cups of cooked beans)<br>500 ml vegan ‘chicken’ stock (I use a bouillon cube here)<br>1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika<br>1 tsp salt<br><br>To serve:<br>Good-quality salted, organic corn chips<br> 4–8 tbsp vegan sour cream or cashew cream<br>1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced<br>Dried chilli flakes, to taste<br>1 lime, halved<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong> <br>1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for at least 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are starting to brown. Add the coriander stalks, spices and garlic. Cook for another minute or two, until fragrant, then add the tinned beans and their liquid, stock, paprika and salt. Increase the heat to high, cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10–20 minutes or until the carrots are soft and tender.<br><br>2. Enjoy the soup as it is, or purée half of it to give it a thicker, creamier texture. Both ways are delish.<br><br>3. To serve, crush a handful of corn chips into the bottom of each serving bowl.<br><br>Ladle the soup over the top and top with sour cream or cashew cream, a few additional crushed corn chips, diced avocado, chilli flakes, the reserved coriander leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime.<br><br>4. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.
Black Bean Soup
Serves 4

Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2–3 carrots, finely chopped
2–3 celery stalks, finely chopped
Stalks from a bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped (keep the leaves to serve)
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 x 400 g tins black beans (or 3 cups of cooked beans)
500 ml vegan ‘chicken’ stock (I use a bouillon cube here)
1 heaped tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp salt

To serve:
Good-quality salted, organic corn chips
4–8 tbsp vegan sour cream or cashew cream
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
Dried chilli flakes, to taste
1 lime, halved

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for at least 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are starting to brown. Add the coriander stalks, spices and garlic. Cook for another minute or two, until fragrant, then add the tinned beans and their liquid, stock, paprika and salt. Increase the heat to high, cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10–20 minutes or until the carrots are soft and tender.

2. Enjoy the soup as it is, or purée half of it to give it a thicker, creamier texture. Both ways are delish.

3. To serve, crush a handful of corn chips into the bottom of each serving bowl.

Ladle the soup over the top and top with sour cream or cashew cream, a few additional crushed corn chips, diced avocado, chilli flakes, the reserved coriander leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime.

4. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.
<strong>Sausage and White Bean Stew</strong><br><em>Serves 2-4</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>Generous glug of olive oil<br>10–15 big chard leaves<br>400 g packet vegan Italian sausages (or any good-quality, yum vegan sausages you can find)<br>1 red onion, cut into half-moons<br>3 garlic cloves, finely chopped<br>2 tbsp tomato purée<br>500 ml vegan ‘chicken’ stock<br>400 g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed<br>Dried chilli flakes, to taste<br>Salt and freshly ground black pepper<br>2–3 slices day-old bread, diced, to serve <br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. While you are waiting for the oil to heat up, remove the woody stems from the chard and cut the chard leaves into bite-size pieces. Put the leaves into a large bowl, cover with water and allow to sit. Before cooking it, drain off the water and give the leaves a shake but don’t dry them completely.<br><br>2. When the oil is warm, add the sausages to the pan and fry, turning them often, for 5–10 minutes until brown and crispy all over. When the sausages are cooked, transfer to a paper towel.<br><br>3. Add the onion to the pan, with a little extra oil if necessary. Cook for a good 5–10 minutes, stirring now and again, until they start to turn golden, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add as much chard as you can fit into the pan and cook, tossing and stirring, until it begins to wilt, then make room for the rest of the chard and add it to the pan (if you couldn’t get it all in in one go).<br><br>4. Dissolve the tomato purée in the stock then pour the stock into the pan along with the beans.<br><br>5. Slice the sausages – which should now be cool enough to touch – into 1 cm rounds, add them to the stew and cook for another couple of minutes until the greens have completely wilted. Remove from the heat and add chill flakes, salt and pepper, to taste.<br><br>6. Place a handful of diced bread in the bottom of each bowl, ladle the stew over top, making sure to get some of the broth so that it pools in the bottom of the bowl and can be soaked up by the bread.<br><br>7. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2–3 days.
Sausage and White Bean Stew
Serves 2-4

Ingredients
Generous glug of olive oil
10–15 big chard leaves
400 g packet vegan Italian sausages (or any good-quality, yum vegan sausages you can find)
1 red onion, cut into half-moons
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
500 ml vegan ‘chicken’ stock
400 g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Dried chilli flakes, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2–3 slices day-old bread, diced, to serve

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. While you are waiting for the oil to heat up, remove the woody stems from the chard and cut the chard leaves into bite-size pieces. Put the leaves into a large bowl, cover with water and allow to sit. Before cooking it, drain off the water and give the leaves a shake but don’t dry them completely.

2. When the oil is warm, add the sausages to the pan and fry, turning them often, for 5–10 minutes until brown and crispy all over. When the sausages are cooked, transfer to a paper towel.

3. Add the onion to the pan, with a little extra oil if necessary. Cook for a good 5–10 minutes, stirring now and again, until they start to turn golden, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add as much chard as you can fit into the pan and cook, tossing and stirring, until it begins to wilt, then make room for the rest of the chard and add it to the pan (if you couldn’t get it all in in one go).

4. Dissolve the tomato purée in the stock then pour the stock into the pan along with the beans.

5. Slice the sausages – which should now be cool enough to touch – into 1 cm rounds, add them to the stew and cook for another couple of minutes until the greens have completely wilted. Remove from the heat and add chill flakes, salt and pepper, to taste.

6. Place a handful of diced bread in the bottom of each bowl, ladle the stew over top, making sure to get some of the broth so that it pools in the bottom of the bowl and can be soaked up by the bread.

7. Leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2–3 days.
<strong>Tinned Bean Salad</strong><br><em>Serves 2-4</em><br><br><strong>Ingredients</strong><br>400 g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed<br>400 g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed<br>400 g borlotti beans, drained and rinsed<br>½ red onion, diced<br>2 tomatoes, diced<br>1 cucumber, diced (peel if using a regular thick-skinned cucumber)<br>Decent handful of fresh tarragon, leaves picked and chopped<br>Decent handful of fresh parsley, leaves picked and chopped<br>Freshly ground black pepper, to taste<br>Dried chilli flakes, to taste<br><br>For the dressing:<br>60 ml olive oil<br>60 ml red wine vinegar<br>1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped<br>1 tsp salt<br>1 tsp dried oregano<br><br><strong>Instructions</strong><br>1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the drained beans and chickpeas, veggies and herbs, and stir to combine. Add black pepper and chilli flakes to taste.<br>2. You can eat the salad immediately but it is much better if you let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, stirring it every now and again if you remember, so the flavours can mingle and the onion softens.<br>3. The salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.
Tinned Bean Salad
Serves 2-4

Ingredients
400 g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
400 g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
400 g borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
½ red onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced (peel if using a regular thick-skinned cucumber)
Decent handful of fresh tarragon, leaves picked and chopped
Decent handful of fresh parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dried chilli flakes, to taste

For the dressing:
60 ml olive oil
60 ml red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano

Instructions
1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the drained beans and chickpeas, veggies and herbs, and stir to combine. Add black pepper and chilli flakes to taste.
2. You can eat the salad immediately but it is much better if you let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, stirring it every now and again if you remember, so the flavours can mingle and the onion softens.
3. The salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days.
<em>Vegan One-Pot Wonders by Jessica Prescott. Photography ©Bec Hudson.</em><br><br><strong>Hardie Grant</strong> Vegan One-Pot Wonders: Easy, delicious, plant-based meals for the modern home cook (Hardback), $, available at <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/book/vegan-one-pot-wonders/jessica-prescott/9781784883232" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Waterstones" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Waterstones</a>
Vegan One-Pot Wonders by Jessica Prescott. Photography ©Bec Hudson.

Hardie Grant Vegan One-Pot Wonders: Easy, delicious, plant-based meals for the modern home cook (Hardback), $, available at Waterstones

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