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56 Healthy Dinners That Start with a Can of Beans

If you're looking to bulk up dinner, reach for a can of beans. These recipes use all of your favorites, including black beans, kidney beans, navy beans and more.

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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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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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Penne With Veggies And Black Beans Exps Cf2bz19 44335 C12 18 4b 5

Penne with Veggies and Black Beans

Chock-full of zucchini, tomatoes, sweet pepper and carrots, this hearty pasta dish puts your garden harvest to good use. For variety, I sometimes add one-half cup of salsa or one-half cup of thickened teriyaki sauce. —Vickie Spoerle, Indianapolis, Indiana
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Spicy Chicken Stew

When you're craving cozy Mexican flavors, try this spicy chicken and chickpea stew. It couldn't be easier to make—just round out the meal with a fresh tossed salad. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Southwest Vegetarian Bake

This veggie-packed casserole hits the spot on chilly nights. It's a healthy canned vegetable recipe that's great for any time I have a taste for Mexican food with all the fixings. —Patricia Gale, Monticello, Illinois
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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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Slow-Cooked Stuffed Peppers

My favorite kitchen appliance is the slow cooker, and I use mine more than anyone else I know. It does a great job with this good-for-you dish. —Michelle Gurnsey, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Rich and flavorful, this chili is absolutely packed with fun veggies like mushrooms, beans and sun-dried tomatoes. It's so filling, you'll win over any meat lover. —Pam Ivbuls, Omaha, Nebraska
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Tuscan Portobello Stew Exps Thfm19 129040 E09 28 4b 15

Tuscan Portobello Stew

Here’s a healthy one-skillet meal that’s quick and easy to prepare yet elegant enough for company. I often take this stew to my school’s potlucks, where it is devoured by teachers and students alike. —Jane Siemon, Viroqua, Wisconsin
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Couscous Tabbouleh With Fresh Mint Feta Exps Sdam19 127302 E12 07 8b 5

Couscous Tabbouleh with Fresh Mint & Feta

Using couscous instead of bulgur for tabbouleh really speeds up the process of making this colorful salad. Other quick-cooking grains, such as barley or quinoa, also work well. —Elodie Rosinovsky, Brighton, Massachusetts
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Chunky Vegetarian Chili

This robust chili teams rice, kidney and pinto beans, and a variety of colorful vegetables for a hearty meatless meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Beef and Black Bean Spaghetti Squash

I've been working on developing healthier recipes that still taste fabulous—and keep me satisfied. This squash tossed with beef, beans and kale has so much flavor it's easy to forget it's good for you! —Charlotte Cravins, Opelousas, Louisiana
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Sausage & Greens Soup

I always have an abundance of fresh vegetables on hand, so I wanted to create a delicious soup to enjoy during the colder months. I think I found a winner! —Angie Pitts, Charleston, South Carolina.
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Chickpea & Potato Curry

I make chana masala, the classic Indian chickpea curry, in my slow cooker. First browning the onion, ginger and garlic really makes the sauce amazing. —Anjana Devasahayam, San Antonio, Texas
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Turkey Pinto Bean Salad With Southern Molasses Dressing Exps Fbbz19 135882 B04 10 3b 5

Turkey Pinto Bean Salad with Southern Molasses Dressing

This salad is a welcome alternative to the usual post-Thanksgiving fare. It's a tasty main dish loaded with good-for-you protein.—Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Vegetarian Bean Tacos

I love Mexican food but was looking for a healthier option to share. My family devours these tasty tacos whenever I make them. —Amanda Petrucelli, Plymouth, Indiana
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Guilt-Free Chicken Chili

This chili is a keeper. Make it on Sunday and you get lunch for the rest of the week, too. —Amy Chalmers, Poughkeepsie, New York
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Bow Tie & Spinach Salad

With pasta salad, it’s easy to change up ingredients. We like to add grilled chicken and pine nuts, and sometimes we substitute black beans for the garbanzo beans. —Julie Kirkpatrick, Billings, Montana
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Tuna and White Bean Lettuce Wraps

Say bye-bye to ho-hum tuna salad. Here's a recipe we actually look forward to eating. —Heather Senger, Madison, Wisconsin
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Fiery Stuffed Poblanos Exps Thfm18 85609 C09 14 7b 14

Fiery Stuffed Poblanos

I love southwest-inspired cuisine, but the dishes are often unhealthy. As a dietitian, I try to come up with nutritious twists on recipes, which is how these stuffed peppers were born. —Amber Massey, Coppell, Texas
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Black Bean & Corn Quinoa

Some vegan quinoa recipes are boring, but this one definitely isn't. My daughter’s college asked parents for the best quinoa recipes to use in the dining halls. This healthy quinoa recipe fits the bill. —Lindsay McSweeney, Winchester, Massachusetts
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Confetti Kielbasa Skillet

Here's one of my husband's favorite dishes. When it's in season, substitute fresh corn for frozen. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you like a little heat. —Sheila Gomez, Shawnee, Kansas
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Cassoulet for Today

French cassoulet is traditionally cooked for hours. This version of the rustic dish offers the same homey taste in less time. It’s easy on the wallet, too. —Virginia Anthony, Jacksonville, Florida
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Vegetarian Black Bean Pasta

This was something I created as a teenager, back when I was a vegetarian. Now that my daughter doesn't eat meat, she asks for this dinner several times a week. —Ashlynn Azar, Beaverton, Oregon
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Chili Tortilla Bake

A homestyle Tex-Mex casserole is all it takes to gather the whole family around the dinner table. With its popular flavors and bubbly cheese topping, there is never a need to worry about leftovers. —Celine Weldy, Cave Creek, Arizona
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Wintertime Braised Beef Stew Exps Diydap21 41100 B10 12 1b

Wintertime Braised Beef Stew

This easy beef stew is incredibly rich. Since it's even better a day or two later, you may want to make a double batch. —Michaela Rosenthal, Woodland Hills, California
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Caribbean Shrimp & Rice Bowl

I had a similar rice bowl on vacation and re-created this lighter version at home. It takes me back to the islands every time I make it. Try grilling the shrimp for more beachy flavor. —Lauren Katz, Ashburn, Virginia
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Coconut Ginger Chickpeas Tomatoes Exps91124 Sd143203b10 15 7bc Rms 4

Coconut-Ginger Chickpeas & Tomatoes

This is my go-to quick dish. When you add tomatoes, you can also toss in some chopped green peppers (jalapenos, if you like heat) to make it even more colorful. —Mala Udayamurthy, San Jose, California
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Mediterranean Spinach & Beans

If you want to make this dish vegetarian, use soy sauce instead of Worcestershire. I like this skillet meal served warm or cold. —Becky Cuba, Spotsylvania, Virginia
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Roasted Curried Chickpeas and Cauliflower

When there’s not much time to cook, try roasting potatoes and cauliflower with chickpeas for a warm-you-up dinner. It's a filling meal on its own, but you can add chicken or tofu to the sheet pan if you like. —Pam Correll, Brockport, Pennsylvania
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Whole Wheat Orzo Salad

In less than 30 minutes, I can put together this hearty salad of pasta, white beans and veggies – and it’s good for a crowd. — Mya Zeronis, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Tilapia Tacos

I absolutely love fish tacos and wanted to create a slimmed-down recipe so I could enjoy them anytime I wanted. I never have any complaints when I serve these for dinner! —Jade Peterson, Portland, Oregon
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Tuscan Chicken and Beans

Rosemary and beans make a nice rustic Italian meal in this flavorful dish. —Marie Rizzio, Interlochen, Michigan
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California Quinoa

I’m always changing this salad up. Here I used tomato, zucchini and olives for a Greek-inspired salad. Try adding a few more favorite fresh veggies you know your family will love. —Elizabeth Lubin, Huntington Beach, California
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Chicken Burrito Skillet

We love Mexican night at our house, and I love to re-create dishes from our favorite restaurants. This burrito-inspired dish is ready for the table in almost no time! —Krista Marshall, Fort Wayne, Indiana
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White Bean Soup with Escarole

This escarole and bean soup has become a favorite because it uses kitchen staples, it's packed with healthy ingredients and is a cinch to prepare. If I can't find escarole, I sub fresh spinach at the very end of cooking. —Gina Samokar, North Haven, Connecticut
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Cornbread-Topped Frijoles

My family often requests this economical slow-cooker favorite. It's loaded with fresh southwestern flavors. One batch makes several servings—but it never lasts long at our house! —Suzanne Caldwell, Artesia, New Mexico
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Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili

My family is crazy about this slow cooker chili because it uses ingredients you don't usually find in chili. Believe it or not, I discovered that pumpkin is what makes the dish so special. Cook up a big batch and freeze some for later; it tastes even better reheated. —Deborah Vliet, Holland, Michigan
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Mediterranean Tuna Salad Exps47132 Sd2856494d12 03 3bc Rms 2

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

In spite of a long list of ingredients, this tuna salad is very quick to prepare. You'll love the fresh flavors. —Renee Nash, Snoqualmie, Washington
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Rosemary Chicken With Spinach Beans Exps58954 Sd132779d06 05 4bc Rms 6

Rosemary Chicken with Spinach & Beans

With two young boys constantly on-the-go, I’m always looking for ways to simplify meals. This recipe uses just one skillet, making it a cinch to prepare dinner for a hungry family in half an hour. —Sara Richardson, Littleton, Colorado
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Quick Italian Veggie Skillet

When you don’t know what to serve, Italian flavors are a good starting point. We combine cannellini and garbanzo beans for this snappy rice dish. —Sonya Labbe, West Hollywood, California
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Beefy Cabbage Bean Stew Exps Ssmz20 109535 B10 25 1b 9

Beefy Cabbage Bean Stew

While we were on one of our small-group quilting retreats, one of my friends made this wonderful recipe for dinner. We all loved it and have since passed it around for others to enjoy—now I'm passing it on to you. —Melissa Glancy, La Grange, Kentucky
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Spicy Chicken and Rice

As a working mom with two kids, I have little time to prepare something hearty during the week. This recipe is easily tossed together in the morning and fabulous to come home to at night. Both of my picky eaters love it! —Jessica Costello, Westminster, Massachusetts
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Mediterranean Chickpeas

Add this to your meatless Monday lineup. It's great with feta cheese on top. —Elaine Ober, Brookline, Massachusetts
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Southwest Chicken Barley Chowder

Mashed squash helps make this chowder creamy but not heavy, and it's a favorite way to get barley on the table. My kids even ask for leftovers for lunch. —Pamela Cleghorn, Campbellsburg, Indiana
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Salmon with Spinach & White Beans

My husband, Oscar, is a Southerner at heart. This salmon with garlicky beans and spinach won him over at first bite. —Mary Ellen Hofstetter, Brentwood, Tennessee
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Mediterranean Bulgur Bowl

You can also transform this tasty bowl into an Italian version with mozzarella, pesto, tomatoes, spinach and basil. —Renata Smith, Brookline, Massachusetts
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Chili-Rubbed Steak with Black Bean Salad

Busy weeknights don't stop my husband from firing up the grill. This meal-in-one comes together fast. Try it with chimichurri and cotija cheese. —Naylet LaRochelle, Miami, Florida
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Italian Turkey Meat Loaf

It's easy to whip up this turkey and bean meat loaf on weeknights, and it makes fantastic sandwiches the next day. It's a little softer than most loaves but it slices perfectly and holds its shape while serving. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
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Spicy Lentil & Chickpea Stew

This recipe came to me from a friend who had worked at a health food store. I changed a few things until I found a version that my family loved. My son doesn't like things too spicy, so I make the stew milder for him and add a sprinkle of extra spice in mine. My husband, who farms, works outdoors for long hours at a time and finds this soup hearty enough to keep him satisfied. —Melanie MacFarlane, Bedeque, Prince Edward Island
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Black Bean-Sweet Potato Skillet

My fiancé loves sweet potatoes. By adding black beans, I came up with a nutritionally complete main dish. Its bright orange and black color makes it fun for Halloween. —April Strevell, Red Bank, New Jersey
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Quinoa-Stuffed Squash Boats

My colorful “boats” with quinoa, garbanzo beans and pumpkin seeds use delicata squash, a winter squash with edible skin that’s cream-colored with green stripes. In a pinch, acorn squash will do—but don't eat the skin! —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Lemony Chickpeas

These saucy chickpeas add just a little heat to meatless Mondays. They're especially good over hot, fluffy brown rice. —April Strevell, Red Bank, New Jersey
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Spicy Sweet Potato Kale Cannellini Soup

This cross between a soup and a stew fits the meatless Monday bill quite nicely. It warms you right up, and satisfies without leaving you overstuffed.—Marybeth Mank, Mesquite, Texas
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Corn, Rice & Bean Burritos

No one will miss the meat when you dish up these satisfying burritos bursting with a fresh-tasting filling. They’re fast to fix and won’t put a dent in your wallet. —Sharon W. Bickett, Chester, South Carolina
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Black Bean Chicken with Rice

This spicy family favorite calls for just a few basic ingredients, so it’s quick and easy to stir up in your skillet on a weeknight. —Molly Newman, Portland, Oregon

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.

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