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If you have never cooked beans before, try some of these easy bean recipes

Do you shy away from bean recipes because you don't know how to cook beans? Beans are inexpensive and nutritious, and they are perfect weight loss foods. Here are the basic steps to follow in cooking dried beans. After you cook basic unflavored beans, you can freeze them or use them in any bean recipe. Below are a few of our favorite recipes to get you started.

Bean Dips

Bean dip with raw vegetables is one of our favorite lunches. Bean dips are easy to make and very portable. Cut up an assortment of raw veggies and keep them in the fridge, covered with water. When you are ready for lunch or a snack,  they will be waiting for you.

Black Bean Dip. Black beans are the most nutritious of beans because of their deep black color. Isn't it great that they are delicious too? You can make this simple recipe in minutes. It never lasts long at our house.
Mexican Bean Dip. Mexican food always includes pinto beans, too often cooked with lard. This healthy pinto bean dip contains no added fat. It has a subtle smoky taste from natural hickory smoke.
White Bean Dip. White beans are so versatile because of their neutral color and taste. The nutritional yeast and green chilies in this recipe make it taste something like a chili-cheese dip.
Low Fat Hummus Recipe. We season this non-traditional dip with fresh lemon juice and lots of spices. Cilantro is optional, but it adds a nice flavor. The garbanzos give it a naturally rich taste.

Bean entrees

Mexican Casserole. We love Mexican food and this is one of our favorite recipes. It makes a lot, so it is perfect for potlucks and dinner parties.
Vegetarian Chili Recipe. Jerry created this chili for a chili cookoff on Super Bowl Sunday. He didn't win the cookoff, but many of our friends loved the chili and asked for the recipe.
Black Bean Burgers. Spicy and flavorful, these are as good as any commercial veggie burger. Plus, they are low in sodium and cost only pennies to make.
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers. This recipe is so easy, yet it turns out to be a beautiful gourmet meal fit for company. It has a very low calorie density so you can lose weight while you entertain guests.

Beans in a hurry

canned garbanzo beans
You can use canned beans in many bean recipes. Buy salt-free beans, or rinse the beans to remove excess salt. We always keep a few cans of beans on hand for quick meals. One 15-oz can of beans contains about 8 oz of beans after they are drained. 

Home-cooked beans cost quite a bit less than canned beans and they freeze well. We cook big batches of beans in our 6 quart crockpot. We drain and cool them, then freeze them in 16-oz portions in ziploc bags.

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