Mexican Black Bean Lasagna
Given the current state of affairs, inflation and the rising cost of grocery store staples, we're looking for ways to use pantry ingredients in budget-friendly (yet delicious meals) now more than ever. Everyone needs recipes they can rely on that are easy on the wallet, but still hit high notes in the flavor department and I'm always on the hunt for cheap ingredients that are up for this task.
When stocking my pantry, one thing I always am sure to have on hand is black beans. They're loaded with protein, super versatile and under a dollar per can, which means they are one of the best bargains at the grocery store.
And to prove just how many meals you can make with them, I've rounded up 32 cheap and easy black bean recipes. They all start with a simple pantry staple but result in a happy and full family around the dining room table.
Related: The 60 Best Black Bean Recipes
Are Canned Black Beans Healthy?
No matter what you're craving, a can of black beans adds texture and protein to your meal. Not only are black beans delicious, but they are also loaded with dietary fiber, an essential ingredient to good health. Along with fiber and protein, they are packed with magnesium, folate and lots of antioxidants—about 10 times the antioxidants of oranges.
It's also worth noting that eating black beans as part of a balanced diet may help decrease your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Related: 100+ Best Vegan Recipes
What Are Canned Black Beans Good For?
Canned black beans are the perfect addition to so many recipes. They can be swapped out for a meat-free alternative protein, but also complement many other ingredients resulting in a flavorful, satisfying dish. Here are some of my favorite ways to use canned black beans:
Black Beans and Rice
When most of us are trying to use that can of black beans hanging out in the back of the pantry, Mexican night is the first thing that comes to mind. From tacos and burritos to enchiladas and a side of black beans and rice, they are heavily used in one of my favorite cuisines, so I am always constantly finding new ways to sneak them into our Mexi-night plans.
Related: 30 Best Recipes Using A Can Of Rotel
How To Cook Canned Black Beans
Canned black beans are one of the most versatile things you can keep stocked in your kitchen. From simply heating them up for a quick, protein-packed side dish to incorporating them into a ton of recipes, the possibilities are endless.
I love to use them for a terrific twist on refried beans by mashing them, adding some garlic and onion and frying them in a skillet.
I also simmer them in a sauce pot with garlic, onion, cumin and paprika for a restaurant-quality side dish for taco night.
Cheap and Easy Meals With Canned Black Beans
When it comes time to meal plan, and you want to keep extra money in your wallet, you can't go wrong with including meals that start with a can of black beans. Since so many of the other ingredients that end up in dishes with black beans are also budget-friendly, the entire meal can be made for much less than you might think.
These 32 black bean recipes are all cheap, easy enough for a weeknight and packed with flavor. I have included a cost estimate for each, so your grocery list planning just got a little easier; and all of them are under $20 total, so for a family of four, that is less than $5/person!
Best Tips for Cooking with Canned Black Beans:
I didn't include pantry and fridge staples like spices, butter, oil, vinegar, garlic, milk, mayonnaise, etc. in the cost.
But if you do have to buy something new for a recipe, it is an investment that makes the next recipe you make with it cheaper!
Whenever possible, I buy generic/store brands to save money. They taste just like name-brand products, but can really add up to savings on the grocery bill.
Buying things in season will help to keep costs down. For example, the Doritos Taco Salad contains iceberg lettuce, and red and orange bell peppers. Those things are much cheaper in the summer than in winter.
Soups and casseroles are great leftovers, so the initial investment into the recipe can be turned into multiple meals.
Discount stores such as Aldi are a great resource for saving money on canned goods, produce and meat.
Many of these recipes use the same ingredients, so buy them once and get double duty out of them.