Beans are truly the MVP of the pantry. Canned or dried, they last for eons and offer a high rate of return: They’re super cheap and versatile, but also nutrient- and protein-packed and so filling. Just ask our resident bean expert food and dining editor Joe Yonan, whose new cookbook “Cool Beans” (Ten Speed Press, 2020) features advice for how to cook them and 125 recipes from all over the world, including the Orecchiette With Borlotti Beans, Bitter Greens and Lemony Bread Crumbs below.

I’ve been curled up with my copy dreaming of the beans I will make, but we’ve also been cooking beans here at The Washington Post for years. Here are some of our favorites, most of which rely on items you might already have in your pantry or refrigerator.

Roasted Potato Wedges With Black Bean Chili, above. Got potatoes? Got a jar of salsa? Well you’re in luck. Whip up a super easy chili, then spoon it over roasted potato wedges. It’s a dish greater than the sum of its parts.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post).

Red Beans and Rice. It’s okay if you don’t want to spend hours simmering a pot of kidney beans down. A can or two will do just fine to make this South Louisiana staple.


(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Orecchiette With Borlotti Beans, Bitter Greens and Lemony Bread Crumbs. Got some cranberry beans? Feel like making something a little fancy? Well, cook up those beans and toss them into this gorgeous pasta. If you don’t have bitter greens, use whatever you have on hand.


(Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post)

Vegetable and Bean Pot Pies With Sweet Potato Crusts. No need for crusts when you slice sweet potatoes thin. What a great way to get all your veggies in one dish.


(Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post)

Polenta With White Beans and Italian Salsa Verde. From our Plant Powered newsletter series, we start with a creamy bed of polenta, then top with beans, greens and a briny, bright salsa.

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