Confession: Even though I’m a food and health editor who knows all about the benefits of beans…I rarely enjoy eating them. You won’t see me fill my plate with baked beans at a barbecue, and while I do buy canned kidney beans with good intentions (even armed with recipes), they tend to sit in my pantry for months.
But there is one bean dish I’ve loved ever since I was a kid: my mom’s white bean chili, served with buttery cornbread. White beans are an entry-level bean. “They are a more palatable option for people who are not used to eating beans such as black or kidney beans due to their soft texture, but still provide a similar nutrient content,” registered dietitian Kelly Jones, RD, previously told Well+Good.
That nutrient content she mentions is worth calling out. One cup of white beans has 16 grams of protein (you want to aim to get 75 grams a day) and almost 10 grams of fiber (a good daily goal to aim for is between 25 and 28 grams). See a full rundown of white beans nutritional value (per cup) below, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Protein: 16 grams
Carbohydrates: 44 grams
Fiber: 10 grams
Calcium: 125 milligrams
Iron: 4 grams
Potassium: 842 milligrams
As Jones mentioned, white beans are mild in taste. This makes them really versatile and adaptable. And if you’ve never cooked with white beans before, there’s certainly no shortage of white bean recipes to try. Keep reading to check out some of our favorites.
9 white bean recipes to ease yourself into the bean-eating life
This easy white bean stew is hearty enough to enjoy on its own, or you can serve it over rice—either way, it will taste delicious and fill you up. Besides white beans, the recipe calls for tomatoes, onion, garlic, leeks, and carrots. You’ll definitely get your fill of brain- and heart-healthy antioxidants thanks to all those veggies, that’s for sure.
Get the recipe: White bean stew
If you’re looking for a way to way to incorporate white beans into a meaty chili to up the fiber, this recipe has you covered. White beans taste especially great with poultry, like chicken or turkey. Like any good chili, this one is full of veggies, too, namely onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Green chilis, chipotle powder, and chili powder add extra heat. Even though it will taste like it simmered all day, it only takes 45 minutes to cook.
Get the recipe: White bean turkey chili
Paired with crackers or sliced carrots, this white bean hummus is a great mid-day snack. The protein in the beans will give you enough energy to push through the rest of the afternoon. It only takes 10 minutes to make, too. Besides the beans, all you need is tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, onion powder, and salt.
Get the recipe: White bean hummus
Even though white beans taste mild on their own, that doesn’t mean you have to use a ton of seasoning to make them taste good. This recipe only uses garlic, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper, and pepper—and it’s enough. Enjoy this soup as is, or add in vegetables from your crisper, such as zucchini, kale, or spinach.
Get the recipe: Rosemary garlic white bean soup
Soups and stews aren’t the only white bean recipes; you can enjoy them cold, too. This Mediterranean-inspired salad combines the legume with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onion, mint, lemon, parsley, and za’atar seasoning. (Feta cheese tastes great added in, too.)
Get the recipe: White bean Mediterranean salad
Skillet dinners are the best for nights when you need to get something on the table quick—and don’t want to be left with a sink full of dishes. Sun-dried tomato, mushrooms, artichokes, and spices help add an Italian flair to the dish.
Get the recipe: Tuscan white bean skillet recipe
Sorry cauliflower, you aren’t the only fiber-rich item that tastes great mashed. This side dish—which takes a total of four minutes to make—shows that white beans work as a potato substitute, too. Just combine them with vegetable stock, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Get the recipe: Garlic white bean mashed potatoes
Like white beans, halibut is soft in texture and mild in taste; they both work well with the same sauces and spices. The parsley and lemon juice called for in this recipe help brighten up the whole dish.
Get the recipe: Pan-seared halibut and white beans
This meal is (ahem) soup-er creamy and full of flavor. The recipe calls for half a jalapeno, but if you’re into spice, go ahead and add a whole one in there.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot tomatillo poblano white beans
As you can see, there’s no shortage of white bean recipes, whether you’re looking for a side dish or want to enjoy them as the main event. Whichever recipe you pick, you’re sure to end up with a meal that’s both nutrient-rich and comforting.
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