3 ways to turn big batch beans into easy weeknight dinners

Sometimes just having the major building blocks for a meal is all you need to make dinner a cinch.

Many home cooks are stymied by dry beans. Well, that all changes today. After testing every variation I could find (soaked or not, baking soda or none, oven or slow cooker and so on), I can vouch for the ease and deliciousness of these beans.

Simmering presoaked beans gently in the oven with tons of aromatic vegetables makes the beans and their broth exceptionally delicious and versatile. Time is really the only requirement, so throw these on whenever you can and keep them stashed in the freezer.

pot of beans with broth

Photo: Suech and Beck

I use a Parmesan rind in the broth here (that’s the hard outer edge of a chunk of fresh Parmesan—collect them and keep them in the freezer), but you can omit the rind for a fully vegan recipe.

To use the beans, thaw and reheat them gently. They’re also tasty as a simple soup just drizzled with olive oil and served with crunchy toast.

Get the Brothy Beans recipe here.

Here are three tasty ways to serve them:

1. Bean and cheese burritos

plate of vegetarian burrito halved

Photo: Suech and Beck

Beans are the perfect vegetarian burrito filling. Get the recipe: Bean and cheese burritos

2. Sausage and bean stew

casserole dish with sausage, bean and kale stew

Photo: Suech and Beck

This stick-to-your-ribs dinner is ideal for a rainy weeknight. Get the recipe: Sausage and bean stew

3. Pasta Fagioli

pasta soup with red sauce in a bowl

Photo: Suech and Beck

Add tiny pasta shapes and tomato paste for a classic rustic Italian dish. Get the recipe: Pasta fagioli

Recipes excerpted from Dinner, Uncomplicated: Fixing a Delicious Meal Every Night of the Week by Claire Tansey. Published by Page Two Books, Inc. (Sept. 15, 2020). 

Stay in touch

Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.