A bowl of black beans with some rice, bread, or greens is a meal in itself, but it's also a side dish to round out about any meal. The trick, if you could call it that, is to stick to dried beans that can slowly release their starch into the cooking liquid, and use a balance of aromatics to enhance their flavor.
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This vegetable soup from Jody Williams' cookbook, Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food, is impeccable—clean, light, and nourishing. Topped with a spoonful of heady pistou, it's the epitome of the harmony that can happen with a thoughtful collision of fresh ingredients.
Coming from a book with 'meat' in the title twice, Tom Mylan's chili in the The Meat Hook Meat Book is unsurprisingly brimming with a ton of meat. Okay, not a ton, but an impressive five pounds—two of beef, two of pork, and one of lamb—or 20 quarter-pounders, to put things in perspective.
Inspired by gigantes plaki (Greek-style baked beans), this flavorful salad features butter beans enveloped in a vinegar-spiked tomato dressing, with dill, oregano, and a touch of cinnamon.
Two types of beans, red kidney and green beans, are combined with pickled red peppers and fire-roasted jalapeños in this amped-up redux of the time-honored three-bean salad.
Chickpeas go a bit rogue in this pepperoni, lemon zest, and Parmesan-stippled salad—the perfect option for an oven-free, summertime side.
Black beans are pitch-perfect in this Southwestern-style bean salad, which is finished with sweet nubs of corn, cilantro, jalapeño, and a crumble of corn chips.
Hearty bean-based salads are one of my favorite dishes in the summertime. I grew up eating a corn and black bean version, but these days I'll throw just about any vegetable into a bowl with a can or two of beans and a tangy dressing and call it dinner.
The time investment of using dried beans pays in this recipe, which produces some of the best barbecue beans you'll ever have—a slowly reduced sauce packs a deep and complex barbecue flavor while tender and creamy beans round it out.
Great barbecue beans don't need to take half a day to make—using canned beans with a sauce built from scratch delivers a lot of the depth associated with more time-intensive recipes. Great barbecue beans don't need to take half a day to make—using canned beans with a sauce built from scratch delivers a lot of the depth associated with more time-intensive recipes.
Spicy, vinegary, and flavor-packed, this quick chili recipe relies on raw Mexican-style chorizo (you can make it yourself or buy it from a store), with a few simple flavor additions, a couple of cans of beans, and a quick simmer.
Refried beans are like the mashed potatoes of Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking: they're a versatile, addictive, and delicious side dish. While a relatively simple dish, this master recipe allows you to choose exactly how you want to make them, whether chunky or smooth, cooked with pork fat or vegetable oil, or made with pinto or black beans.
Ropa vieja, the classic Cuban dish of shredded stewed beef flavored with a vinegary tomato and pepper sauce, is a natural choice for the slow cooker, stewed all day and served with rice and beans.
Ham and eggs is a very common torta filling in Mexico, and for a good reason. The salty slices bring texture and loads of porkiness to the game, while the eggs help bulk it out. But you know what is crispier and more intense than ham? That's right. Bacon.
Smoked ham hocks are a magical, transformative ingredient. The collagen-rich bony cuts of pork leg boast intense levels of umami and the ability to turn mere water into a silky broth in a matter of hours (a.k.a. pot liquor). Throw in freshly shelled crowder peas (a small Southern shell bean) to that cooking water, as Donald Link does in his new cookbook, Down South, and you'll wind up with a homey yet flavor-packed dish.
A vegan black bean and sweet potato chili packed with rich, complex chili flavor.
A hearty bean and chicken stew flavored with chorizo and chipotle chilies. It takes a little time for the flavors to come together, but the process is easy and the results are worth the wait.
An easy, hearty, sausage and kale soup with black eyed peas, flavored with rosemary and lemon zest.
Beans are often a good choice when you're looking to lighten up your diet for the New Year. However, traditional Boston baked beans, loaded down with bacon, molasses, and salt pork, aren't a terribly wholesome choice. To give the dish a healthier twist, Allison Fishman Task gleans inspiration from Vermont. This recipe, from her new cookbook, Lighten Up, America!, includes just a bit of bacon for smoky pork flavor, and swaps out the molasses for the lighter flavor of maple syrup.