Different Ways to Cook Beans (Recipes Included)

beanstalkBeans are very versatile and a wonderful accompaniment to have in the kitchen. There are so many things you can do with them, so many different ways to cook beans. Before I moved to Mexico, I never knew what to do with beans, besides just heating them from a can. In Mexico, I truly started appreciating the magic of beans 🙂 When I became vegan, I discovered even more culinary delicacies.

So, as per request from one of my readers (thank you for this great idea!), I would like to share with you some suggestions on how to prepare beans.

First, I will go over the known meals that most people prepare, then I will delve into Mexican cuisine, and finally I will add some vegan meals as well.

Dry or Canned Beans?

Although it is easier to use canned beans, because they require less preparation time, I like the taste of cooked dry beans, There is so much more you can do with them as well, and they are not processed.

Dry beans should be soaked overnight and then they still need to be cooked for 2 to 3 hours until they are soft. So, yes, you have to prepare this in advance. The overnight soaking, however, is not such a big job. Just put the beans in a bowl of water in the evening and that’s it. You can go back to watching TV, relax for the evening, or go to bed. When you boil them the next day, give your attention to other chores while the beans are cooking on the stove.


If you are still pressed for time, but you don’t want to eat processed beans, then use lentils. They do not need soaking. Dry lentils can be cooked straight away and they are done in about 20 minutes.

Note: 1 cup of dry beans should yield 3 cups of cooked beans.

First the Traditional Meals

The best known recipes are Mexican re-fried beans, bean chili, bean burritos, and bean salad. For the re-fried beans, you should use dry beans. After soaking and cooking them, you add your favorite herbs and spices and then add the mix to the blender. You could also include some vegan cheese.


Bean burritos are easy. You can use some leftover re-fried beans for that. Heat the tortillas on a comal. When both sides are heated and a little browned, spoon some re-fried beans in a straight line in the middle of the tortilla, add some veggie cheese al gusto, roll the tortilla into a burrito and heat for another two minutes.

When the burritos are ready, you can add some salsa, guacamole, and cilantro.

For bean chili, just substitute the meat with the beans. Black beans give a lot of flavor, or you could also use a mix of black, pinto, and kidney beans. Lentils are also very tasty.

For bean salad, prepare the salad however you prefer. I like to use a little lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped spring onions, avocado and kidney beans. I add salt and pepper, some olive oil, et voilà.


Viva Mexico!

I love Mexican food, absolutely love it! It’s a good thing I moved to Mexico then, because I always enjoy every visit to a restaurant, taco place, burrito stand, the local market where I can get authentic mole sauce from Oaxaca, and so on. So, let’s see how well beans fit into Mexican cuisine.

You can make Bean soup. Tlaxcalan bean soup is a favorite, very tasty.

Enfrijoladas are a Mexican comfort food, but it takes a little while to make it. I will share the recipe for this in another post.

Frijoles charros are a fun recipe and the taste totally depends on your preferences. When I said fun recipe, I literally meant fun, because to make frijoles charros, you just throw in anything you fancy.

  • After your beans are cooked and blended, pour them into a pot and cook on low heat
  • Add herbs and spices of your choosing
  • Add anything you want, anything, really, but don’t go too crazy either. It could be soy chorizo, chopped onions, chili peppers, veggie cheese, anything you want to throw in there.

MexicoA friend made frijoles charros a few weeks ago, and he added so many ingredients, that I ended up asking him why he hadn’t added the bananas yet 😉 He laughed at that. But this is what frijoles charros is about. Of course, don’t end up adding bananas to your cooked beans, but you can get creative here.

People usually make a huge pot (it’s great party food), and put in there anything and as much as they want. It always comes out differently, of course. So, frijoles charros is a good recipe if you have some beans and many leftovers or ingredients that you want to get rid off 😉 .

If you’re wondering about Tlaxcalan bean soup and enfrijoladas, those recipes are coming up in new articles soon.

Vegan Cuisine

There are a lot of vegan recipes. I wasn’t sure which one to pick, bean salads, tacos, hummus, broth, … So, I finally decided to share a recipe for black bean meatballs.

This recipe is quite simple, and it doesn’t take up much time.



  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • half an onion (chopped in large chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika


  • First, rinse quinoa
  • In a small pot, bring to the boil with the vegetable stock
  • Reduce to simmer, cover pot with a lid, and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 180C (or 350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper
  • Place quinoa and black beans in food processor and process until you have a puree. Put it in a bowl
  • Chop onion and garlic in food processor, until they are in small pieces. Then you can add them to the bowl
  • Add spices and mix well
  • Shape mixture into balls of equal size
  • Place on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until they are brown

Note: I have also added soy chorizo to this recipe once, and it came out very tasty. I brought those meatballs to work, and my non-vegan colleagues absolutely loved them 🙂


So, I hope that this article gave you some ideas on how to prepare beans. This is a just a small snippet of information. There are so many more recipes! I promise that I will share more soon 🙂


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10 thoughts on “Different Ways to Cook Beans (Recipes Included)”

  1. I loved Jack and the bean-stalk and beans as a kid. Now as a grownup I still love beans. I have some Mexican blood so I really enjoy burritos. We had a lot of them growing up. And I have discovered they can help us use all those left-overs.

    And bean chili with black beans are one of my favorites. Your post has brought me a bunch of good family memories. Thank you!

    • Hi Abel,

      Burritos are so easy to make and they are really delicious. You can always make them in different ways, right? I’m happy that my post brought you some happy family memories 🙂 Those are always good to cherish.

  2. I love beans and legumes, not only that they are good for us, they are my best friend when I am broke lol. Rice and beans anyone? I usually soak my beans over night so I am not killing my husband in the process. Thank you for sharing the recipe for the black bean meatballs! I have always wanted to make them myself but of course I ended up being the “Morning Star” customer. This time I will make sure to make it myself and put them away in a batch, so when I am hungry, I can just grab it. 


    • Hi,

      Morningstar has good products, I can’t argue with you there 😉 It’s great though to make your own homemade bean “meat” balls. Good idea to put some away and then just grab them when you’re hungry. 

  3. Hi Christine, I am glad for those recipes using beans. I was not much of a fan of beans until I went to New Orleans for a conference and had refried beans. I also prepare my beans the long way, with overnight soaking and long cooking. It just tastes better to me and I can be versatile with my herbs and spices that I add along the way. I am always looking for new ways to prepare foods  that my children will enjoy and these recipes have given me ideas of how I can think a little outside the box to make things tasty. 

    • Hi JJ,

      I love re-fried beans. They are great in tacos and also with tortilla chips. I also prefer soaking the beans, you can indeed be more versatile then, and it’s also better than the canned version 😉 

  4. Hello Christine, 

    This post has just broadened the scope through which I look at beans. I have heard inspiring tales of how beans can be used in a variety of ways to eliminate the usual way of preparing the wonderful. I would choose dry beans any day over its canned counterpart. I’ll be trying out the vegan cuisine, I think the recipe is relatively easy to follow. This has been really informative.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Beans come with high nutritive value, both protein, and energy, it is always a balanced meal. The ability to process it in diverse formats will help to enjoy the meal and like you rightly mentioned – there is so much you can do with them.
    I always enjoy the bean soup, the taste when diligently prepared is next to none. Good food, with high nutritious value

    • Hi there!

      That’s true, beans have high nutrititional value, protein and energy. Bean soup tastes very good, and you can prepare it in different flavors, it’s always a winner 🙂 


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