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The Best Ways to Use Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a soup staple, but that's not all they're good for! Here are all the delicious dishes you can make with kidney beans.

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Three-Bean Baked Beans

I got this recipe from an aunt and made a couple of changes to suit our tastes. With ground beef and bacon mixed in, these satisfying beans are a big hit at backyard barbecues and church picnics. I’m always asked to bring my “special” beans. —Julie Currington, Gahanna, Ohio
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Sweet N Sour Beans

This recipe is popular on both sides of the border. It came from a friend in Alaska, then traveled with me to old Mexico, where I lived for 5 years, and is now a potluck favorite in my Arkansas community. It’s easy to keep the beans warm and serve from a slow cooker. -Barbara Short, Mena, Arkansas
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Turkey Chili

I’ve taken my mother’s turkey chili recipe and made it thicker and more robust. It’s a favorite, especially in fall and winter. —Celesta Zanger, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
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Slow-Cooked Bean Medley

I often change the variety of beans in this classic recipe, using whatever I have on hand to total the five cans called for. The sauce makes any combination delicious! It's a gluten-free side dish that's popular with just about everyone. —Peggy Gwillim, Strasbourg, Saskatchewan
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Two-Bean Veggie Pizza

This is my much healthier version of a black bean pizza I had in Guatemala. It’s so delicious! — Laura Letnes, Fargo, North Dakota
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Chili for a Crowd

This chili for a crowd was handed down to me by my aunt, who said she got it from a “grizzled Montana mountain man.” I added some zesty ingredients to come up with the final version. Hot food is something that my husband’s family isn’t accustomed to, so I adjust the spices for them. In fact, with a few simple alterations to the “heat” index, I can serve this chili to anyone. —Lisa Humphreys, Wasilla, Alaska
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Meatball Minestrone

Just thinking about this soup simmering on the stove gets me hungry! The homemade meatballs are so tasty. —Esther Perea, Van Nuys, California
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Southwestern Bean Dip

Just by using different types of beans, you can make this dip as spicy as you like it. My family could eat this as a complete meal.—Jeanne Shear, Sabetha, Kansas
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Cornbread Pizza Wheels

This hearty, colorful snack looks like you spent a lot of time, but it’s simple to make. —Patrick Lucas, Cochran, Georgia
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Emily’s Bean Soup

This is a wonderful fall or winter meal, served with thick slices of warm homemade bread. The recipe evolved over the years as I added to it. I often double it and freeze what we don’t eat. That way, I can throw some in a pot for a quick meal or if unexpected guests drop by. —Emily Chaney, Penobscot, Maine
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Louisiana Red Beans and Rice

Smoked turkey sausage and red pepper flakes add zip to this saucy, slow-cooked version of the New Orleans classic. For extra heat, add red pepper sauce at the table. —Julia Bushree, Georgetown, Texas
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Red Bean Vegetable Soup

Cajun seasoning boosts the flavor of this brothy soup. The easy recipe makes a big batch that’s loaded with beans and fresh veggies. —Ronnie Lappe, Brownwood, Texas
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Cool Beans Salad

This protein-filled dish could be served as a colorful side dish or a meatless main entree. When you make it, double the recipe because it will be gone in a flash! The basmati rice add a unique flavor and the dressing gives it a bit of a tang. —Janelle Lee, Appleton, Wisconsin
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Hearty Baked Beans

This saucy dish is flavorful and filling, chock-full of ground beef, bacon and four varieties of beans. I’ve had the recipe for years, and I make it often for big appetites at home and for potlucks at work and church. —Cathy Swancutt, Junction City, Oregon
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Contest-Winning Easy Minestrone

This minestrone soup recipe is special to me because it’s one of the few dinners my entire family loves. And I can feel good about serving it because it’s full of nutrition and low in fat. —Lauren Brennan, Hood River, Oregon
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Hamburger Minestrone

Any kind of convenient frozen mixed vegetables and any type of small pasta will work well in this dish.
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Tangy Turkey Tostadas

I’m a health fitness specialist and personal trainer, so I know how important it is to make smart food choices to fuel my day. These fast and filling tostadas are packed with lean protein, fiber and a good dose of veggies. Have them any night of the week. —Julie Huntington, Memphis, Tennessee
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Cowboy Calico Beans

This is a tradition at the table when my girlfriends and I go up north for a girls' weekend. The husbands and kids are left at home, but the slow cooker comes with us! —Julie Butsch, Hartland, Wisconsin
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Pronto Vegetarian Peppers

In the summer I love to serve these peppers with salad and a roll. At the end of summer, I freeze them for cold months when produce costs are high. For a hot meal on a cold day, I love to serve them with a side of warm pasta tossed in olive oil. —Renee Hollobaugh, Altoona, Pennsylvania
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Hearty Pasta Fajioli

Here’s an Italian favorite made easier by using prepared spaghetti sauce and canned broth for the flavorful base. —Cindy Garland, Limestone, Tennessee
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Best-Ever Beans and Sausage

My wife devised this dish, which is extremely popular with our friends and family. When she asks, “What can I share?” the reply is always, “Bring your beans and sausage…and a few copies of the recipe.” — Robert Saulnier, Clarksburg, Massachusetts
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Contest-Winning Pepperoni Pizza Chili

Pizza and chili together—what could be better? Fill folks up at halftime when you set out bowls of this chili. —Jennifer Gelormino, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Spicy Touchdown Chili

For me, football, cool weather and chili just seem to go together. Whether I’m cheering on the local team on a Friday night or enjoying a Saturday afternoon of Oklahoma Sooner football with some friends, I enjoy serving this chili on game day. —Chris Neal, Quapaw, Oklahoma
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Colorful Corn ‘n’ Bean Salad

This quick recipe couldn’t be easier…the liquid from the corn relish becomes a ready-made dressing! And because there’s no mayo, it’s a perfect salad to bring along on summer outings.—TerryAnn Moore, Vineland, New Jersey
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Potluck Taco Salad

I found this recipe in an old school cookbook, and I’ve taken it to many potlucks since then. The layers look so pretty in a glass bowl. —Sandy Fynaardt, New Sharon, Iowa
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Festive Bean Salad

I had experimented with all kinds of bean salads before I hit on this one. My husband loves all the different bean varieties, and corn adds to the color and texture.—Dale Benoit, Monson, Massachusetts
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Veggie Nicoise Salad

More and more people in my workplace are becoming vegetarians. When we cook or eat together, the focus is on fresh produce. This salad combines some of our favorite ingredients in one dish...and with the hard-boiled eggs and kidney beans, it delivers enough protein to satisfy those who are skeptical of vegetarian fare. —Elizabeth Kelley, Chicago, Illinois
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One-Pot Dinner

"My family always comes back for seconds when this nicely seasoned skillet supper is on the table," reports Bonnie Morrow of Spencerport, New York. And it's nicely priced at 72 cents a serving.
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Chili-ghetti

I came up with this recipe when unexpected guests stopped by and I didn't have enough chili to go around. This spur-of-the-moment main dish is now a family favorite. —Cindy Cuykendall, Skaneateles, New York
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Chili Macaroni and Cheese

What could be tastier on a cold winter day than chili or mac and cheese? Put them together and you have a terrific dish that warms you up and fills you up as well! —Nancy Foust, Stoneboro, Pennsylvania

Laurie Dixon
Having a passion for writing her whole life, Laurie joined the Taste of Home team to bring together her two favorite things—creative writing and food. She spends most of her time playing with her dog, drafting up short stories and, of course, trying out new recipes.

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