7 Hearty Bean Recipes We Love

Beans get an A+ in the nutritional department—they’re packed with protein, soluble fiber and antioxidants.

We’ve jumped on the bean bandwagon and have pulled together seven healthy, satisfying and scrumptious bean recipes.

Learn the best ways to soak your beans.

Gnocchi with White Beans & Spinach

Mama Mia! Lisa has gone and done it by creating a gnocchi that’s both easy to make and delicious to eat in this awesome Italian recipe for Gnocchi with White Beans & Spinach. These potato gnocchi, light and tender, are served with a white bean and spinach sauce that includes white wine, tomatoes, oregano and garlic.


Potato Gnocchi

2 lbs (about 3 large) russet potatoes, washed and dried
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
½ tsp kosher salt
1¼ cups flour, divided

White Bean & Spinach Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups packed fresh baby spinach

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1) For the gnocchi, preheat oven to 425ºF. Poke holes in the potatoes to allow steam to escape while they bake. Bake potatoes until tender, about 1 hour. Remove potatoes from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then cut each potato in half. Scoop out the flesh and press through a potato ricer into a large bowl. Add Parmesan, egg yolks and salt, mixing well to combine. Incorporate 1 cup of flour and mix until dough is formed. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead in remaining ¼ cup flour until soft dough is formed. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into long strips. Cut the strips into ½-inch gnocchi and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once sauce is prepared, cook gnocchi.

2) For the sauce, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, cooking for 1 minute. Turn heat to high and add white wine, cooking for 2 minutes until evaporated. Stir in cannellini beans and tomatoes, simmering over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and remove from heat.

3) To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and when they float to the surface, cook 1 minute longer. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and add to white bean and spinach sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach & Beans

Looking for a delicious way to serve up pasta? This Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach and Beans is ultra-flavorful, with garlic, slow roasted plum tomatoes, leafy green spinach, creamy white beans, tart lemon juice and fresh basil.


Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

8 plum tomatoes, quartered and seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ lb penne pasta
½ cup reserved pasta water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1½ cups canned white kidney (cannellini) beans
3 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into thin strips
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1) For the tomatoes, preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss cut tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet, cut side up, and bake 1½ hours.

2) Toward the end of the tomatoes roasting, cook the penne pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until tender. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water.

3) Using the same large pot heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, stirring 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, white beans and spinach, cooking until spinach wilts, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, Parmesan and some of the reserved pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Blazing Beef & Bean Chili

This Blazing Beef and Bean Chili is hot stuff. A dynamite mix of chili powder, red pepper flakes and cayenne, mingled with intense cocoa powder, sweet tomatoes, fiber-rich beans and well-seasoned meat, it can rival any Lone Star chili joint. In a big bowl or piled atop a hot dog or fries, this one is a Chilympic winner.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2½ lbs ground beef

1 (28oz) tin diced tomatoes
1 (5.5oz) tin tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2½ cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Sour cream
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sliced jalapeno pepper
Corn tortillas


1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir often, cooking 4 minutes. Add diced red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute to combine spices, stirring continuously. Add the ground beef and cook 10 minutes until no longer pink. Break beef up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kidney beans and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes more.

2) Serve topped with sour cream, cheddar on Monterey Jack cheese, sliced jalapeño and/or fried tortilla strips (cut corn tortillas into thin strips, fry in 1-inch of oil for 1-2 minutes and season with a little salt).

Serves 8-10

Hearty Vegetable Minestrone Soup

This steaming, vegetable-packed Minestrone Soup transports us straight to Italy. The rich-tasting broth, loaded with vegetables (carrots, celery, zucchini, spinach, to name a few), fresh herbs and finished with a pesto drizzle, makes this easy and satisfying Minestrone Soup Recipe numero uno in our bowls!


Minestrone Soup

3 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 medium celery stalks, chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz/796ml) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups fresh baby spinach
11/2 cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 large zucchini, chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked seashell pasta

Pesto Drizzle

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 small garlic clove
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil


1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté garlic and onion for 4-5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, sautéing for an additional 5 minutes.

2)Add broth, diced tomatoes (with liquid) and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn to low and add red wine, spinach, kidney beans, zucchini, basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

3) Add cooked pasta and simmer for 2-3 minutes to combine flavors.

4) For the pesto sauce, place basil leaves and garlic in a food processor and process until leaves are finely chopped. Add pine nuts and process until nuts are finely chopped. Add cheese and salt, processing until combined. With the machine running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the oil is incorporated.

*This sauce yields 1/3 cup and, if you’re not using it immediately, store it covered in the refrigerator to prevent the sauce from turning brown.

5) Drizzle 1 tsp of pesto sauce over each bowl of soup.

Serves 8-10

Hearty Pasta Fagioli Soup

This recipe for Pasta Fagioli Soup was, at one time, called Pasta FaJulie as I endlessly begged Lisa to create it for me. You see, I’m a sucker for classic Italian dishes, especially this hearty soup of pasta, beans and vegetables. Scrumptious and heartwarming spoonful after spoonful, this soup doesn’t disappoint.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz) tin diced tomatoes
¾ cup dry pasta (small shape, such as mini shells macaroni)
1½ cups canned white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, cook 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and tin of diced tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

3) After soup has cooked for 20 minutes, add white kidney beans and chickpeas, simmering partially covered for 10 minutes.

4) Remove 2 cups of bean soup and place in food processor. Puree, return to soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add cooked pasta, Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper, simmering 5 minutes. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

White Bean, Spinach & Couscous Soup

This delicious and easy White Bean, Spinach and Couscous Soup recipe is an exotic spin on a Tuscan tradition, relying on leeks, the mild cousin of the onion, for their subtle flavor, creamy beans for their rich texture, and couscous, with a nutty taste, that makes every trip to the bowl delightful and surprising.


2 tsp olive oil
2 leeks, rinsed well, white portions chopped and green discarded
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups canned white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup whole-wheat couscous
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, packed tight
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1) Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic, sautéing 2 minutes or until tender.

2) Stir in cumin. Add broth, white beans and bay leaves. Over high heat, bring to a boil.

3) Add couscous, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

4) Remove bay leaves and discard. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6

Seven Bean Salad

While a three bean salads are fine and five bean salads are swell, there’s nothing as spectacularly simple and delicious as this (Lucky) Seven Bean Salad. This quick, easy and healthy salad, a combination of tasty beans tossed in a tangy Lemon Dijon dressing, is guaranteed to become a staple at your table.


Lemon Dijon Dressing

6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp lemon zest
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Seven Bean Salad

2 cups fresh green beans, ends snipped
1½ cups frozen edamame, thawed
2 cups snow peas
1 cup fresh green peas
1½ cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1½ cups baby lima beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp kosher salt, or more to taste


1) For the Lemon Dijon dressing, in a food processor or blender, combine olive oil, champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, mustard seeds, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Pulse 2-3 times, until well combines. Set aside.

2) For the salad, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and edamame. Turn heat to low and cook 1 minute. Add snow peas and fresh green peas and continue cooking 1 minute more. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Once cold, drain again and dry out completely. Place in a large bowl along with chickpeas, lima beans, white beans, parsley, thyme, lemon zest and salt. Pour dressing over salad, toss well and refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Serves 8-10

Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat are thrilled to announce the launch of their newest cookbook, Lick Your Plate. It has received rave reviews and features over 160 recipes that are foolproof and fantastic. It’s a fresh and fun cookbook perfect for the home cook and also serves up over 100 drool-worthy recipe images, countless tips and tricks, meal pairings, and leftover suggestions. On shelves now, buy your copy online.