The 15-Minute, Low-Cost Meal My Family Loves

It's great for lunch or dinner and easy to customize.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

I like to consider myself a master at creating dinner out of a can of beans. Being able to transform such a humble ingredient into something delicious is a satisfying feat. The recipe that epitomizes this most is my black bean toast. It’s proof that dinner (or lunch!) doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

This black bean toast has gone through many iterations. In fact, I would say that it’s different every single time I make it. That’s because I love utilizing my pantry and fridge staples to create it.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

A Versatile Recipe That’s Easy to Customize

Making these black bean toasts is simple. Toss a can of beans with a few spices, smash it up a bit, then smear over the top of toasted bread slices. Cover with cheese and then bake until your kitchen smells like heaven and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Garnish with your favorite toppings—anything you’d put on a taco works here! My family loves sour cream, avocado, and pico de gallo, but you could add pumpkin seeds, shredded lettuce or cabbage, prepared salsa, or sliced jalapeños.

If I have spinach that’s looking limp and on the verge of needing to be tossed, I sauté it and add it to this dish. If I have leftover grilled corn, it’s used as a topping. I’ll use up the last bits of salsa and sour cream to make a dressing, and let’s not forget those little crispy bits in the bottom of the bag of tortilla chips—they’re the perfect crunchy topping. Anything goes!

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

A Meal That Costs $2 Per Serving

Let’s talk about cost. A can of beans costs less than $1 and let's say the loaf of bread is around $5 and the cheese is $2. The rest of the ingredients are staples, so we won’t count them.

That means that each serving of this black bean toast is less than $1.50. Add on another 50 cents or so for toppings and you’re at $2 per serving. See why this is such an awesome meal?

How To Make Black Bean Toasts

To make six servings, you’ll need:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 6 large, 1/2-inch thick slices whole grain bread, toasted

  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar cheese

  • Optional toppings: sour cream, diced avocado, pico de gallo, pickled red onions

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

Toss the black beans, olive oil, cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt together in a medium bowl. Smash the beans with the back of a fork, then spread the mixture evenly among the tops of the toasted bread slices. Top with cheese and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, 12 to 15 minutes.

Garnish the toasts with your favorite toppings and serve.

Tips for Making Black Bean Toasts

Line your baking sheet. I typically cover my baking sheets with foil or parchment to save time when it comes to clean-up. If you don’t mind doing an extra dish, then you can skip this step.

Experiment with flavors. My version is just a starting point. Try swapping in white beans for the black beans and season with garlic, salt, and pepper. Top with mozzarella before baking and then garnish with chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar. Or use garbanzo beans and toss with garlic and chopped roasted red peppers. Top with feta and bake, then finish with freshly chopped parsley and fresh lemon juice.

Choose delicious bread. The bread is the base for all of the goodies, so it needs to be sturdy but also tasty. I usually splurge on a nicer loaf from the bakery department at my local grocery store or farmers market. Whole grain or sourdough are great options.

Make it vegan! Swap the cheese for vegan cheese or simply omit. Or consider adding a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a salty pop of umami.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

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