The Beaning of Life: 10 Common Types of Beans to Cook With
This day and age we have more and more options what kind of food to cook and what ingredients to choose. But we can get a bit set in our old ways and forget to experiment. That’s why we thought we’d talk about the types of beans out there and what to cook with them. That way, we can diversify our menu and take our taste buds for a ride.
Bean there, done that? We think not. Surely you haven’t cooked with all of the following types of beans. They all have their own flavors, texture, and health benefits. So, are you ready to do this? If yes, then cool beans!
10 types of beans to cook with
1. Black beans
Black beans, classified as legumes, are super rich in magnesium, high in fiber and protein, they may help to strengthen bones, and they contain quercetin and saponins, which can protect the heart. They contain about 114 kilocalories per half-cup.
Their texture is velvety and their taste is just the right amount of sweet. That’s why they go well with the smoky flavors of bacon or chipotle. Use them in salads with vegetables and fruits. You can add them to soups, salads, casseroles, and tacos. You can find them either dried or canned. But be careful, because the canned black beans are usually loaded with sodium from the canning process.
2. Black-eyed peas
They’re also called black-eyed bean or goat pea and they’re legumes, a subspecies of the cowpea. The bean has a pale color with a prominent dark spot that can be black, brown, red, pink, or green in hue. In the South of the United States, the black-eyed peas are usually eaten during New Year’s Day and are considered a sign of good luck.
They’re an excellent source of folate, which is a hugely important nutrient for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant. Their flavor is earthy, and it goes really well with salty meats like bacon and ham.
In Egypt, they’re cooked with onions, garlic, meat, and tomato juice and served with Egyptian rice. In West Africa and the Caribbean, they are the basis for a traditional dish called akara, made with mashed black-eyed peas with salt, onions, and peppers. The mixture is then fried.
3. Cannellini beans
These might be one of the most common types of beans out there. They’re also known as white Italian kidney beans. They have a creamy texture and a delicate flavor that so many of us enjoy. You can cook them lightly, with some garlic, or mash them and turn them into lovely, crunchy and creamy fritters. At the store, you can find them either dried or canned. The canned ones are easier to prepare, but they lose plenty of flavor in the canning process.
Add them to vegetable soups, including minestrone, they go well with tuna meat, red onion, and parmesan cheese, so you can make a salad with them. During the winter, turn them into a casserole by stewing them in tomato juice.
Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, but you probably know them best as the bean that you make hummus out of. They’re probably one of the most famous and popular types of beans in the world. They’re round and firm and have a nutty flavor. You can buy them canned or dried, and then add moisture to the latter. They are a good source of protein, carbs, and fiber. They help lower blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes. They’re also loaded with iron, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K.
Get them dried and turn them into delicious vegetarian falafel. You can roast them and give them a bit of a crunch and then add them to a tasty, earthy salad. They pair well with spinach and avocado, so mix them up for a nutrition-packed salad.
5. Fava beans
I swear, I can’t think of fava beans without thinking of that line from “Silence of the Lambs”. You know which one. But it would be a shame to let that stop me from enjoying great fava beans. They’re an ancient member of the pea family and it’s no wonder Hannibal Lecter liked them so much: they can be pretentious. But if you have just a bit of extra time in the kitchen, you can turn out a great dish thanks to them.
It can be a hassle to peel them before eating. You have to remove them from their pods first and then blanch them to make the skins easier removed. They’re nutty, buttery, and sweet. Don’t hesitate to add them to a fresh salad. And you know what else goes great with them? Asparagus. Don’t miss this combo.
You can buy them fresh in the pod, dried, canned, frozen, or in a fresh sealed cold pack.
6. Great Northern Beans
These are pretty small, kidney-shaped, and full to the brim with calcium. Their special power? Absorbing seasoning easily. So include them in stews and soups with the utmost confidence. They will fit right in thanks to their mild flavor. You can also use them to make baked beans and also ‘pork and beans’. Cook them in a crockpot with plenty of seasonings and enjoy!
7. Kidney beans
This is probably one of the most well-known types of beans. You’ve surely seen them: they have reddish skin and a white interior. It’s one of the basic ingredients for chili, and it’s loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids which help keep your heart safe, iron, and antioxidants like the ones in blueberries.
Along with chili, feel free to make some curry with the kidney beans. Add them to tacos or pair them with some rice. Mash them to make a deliciously smooth dip. There are so many options!
8. Lima beans
They’re green, flat, and oval-shaped. There are two categories of lima beans: larger ones, rich in potassium, which are also called Fordhook beans, and baby limas, which are sweeter in taste. The flavor of both is buttery, while the interior is starchy. That’s why it’s best to saute them so that they don’t turn to mush. Unless that’s your intention, and if that’s it, then go ahead. You can find them almost anywhere pre-cooked and frozen. Add them to salads and soups!
9. Navy beans
They’re also known as haricot, pearl haricot bean, white pea bean, and Boston bean. This is the type of bean that’s used in most English breakfasts. They’re usually smothered in a savory tomato sauce.
They have a mild flavor and a creamy texture, and they do well with absorbing the flavors of other ingredients. Don’t know what to season them with? Try some bay leaves, fresh herbs like rosemary, and of course, the wonderful aromas of garlic.
10. Pinto beans
It is the most popular bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico when it comes to some dishes. It’s the original ingredient in Mexican refried beans: this orange-pink bean with rust-colored specks is loaded with fiber and protein. They have an earthy flavor and a smooth texture.