Beans & Legumes



According to chef Dan Barber, "Everyone should be eating more beans." They also help create nutrient-rich soil by storing nitrogen in their roots. "Peas and peanuts perform this neat trick as well," he adds. And if the environmental impact isn't enough to sway you, beans and legumes are downright delicious, too. F&W's guide gives you tips for preparing all the different varieties, from canned to dry, and offers plenty of enticing recipes.

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These are the Types of Tofu Should You Use: A Beginner's Guide
Crispy, chewy, stretchy, squeaky, crumbly, spongy, and silky, tofu is the ultimate shape-shifter.
Loaded Pita Nachos with Lentil Chili and Feta Queso
Rating: Unrated
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In this recipe for plant-based nachos, pita chips are drizzled with a feta queso and then laden with lentil chili, harissa-spiked pickled cabbage, and a dollop of creamy labneh. Make the chips, queso, and cabbage ahead of time to help this dish come together easily, or use store-bought pita chips, if desired. The tangy feta queso gets its smooth body from the addition of red lentils and is a versatile ingredient on its own, says Cassie Piuma of Sarma in Somerville, Massachusetts: "We use this queso in mac and cheese and sub it in as a sauce for eggplant parm or moussaka."
Tofu Skin Stir-Fry
When it's dried, tofu skin (doufu pi in Mandarin, yuba in Japanese) becomes earthy and chewy. It's sold in many shapes and is hardy enough to withstand braises, bold sauces, and stir-fries, mimicking the texture of shredded meat. In this recipe, dried tofu skin sticks are broken into pieces, rehydrated until pliable, and then stir-fried and with an umami-rich chile oil and soy sauce.
Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry) Tacos
This creamy, richly spiced vegetarian kidney bean curry is usually served over rice with roti or naan, but it also makes a surprisingly delicious filling for corn tortillas. You can assemble the tacos before serving them, or make a giant taco platter with the rajma, toasted tortillas, and all of the toppings and let your guests build their own to their own liking. 
Rajma (Kidney Bean Curry)
Rating: Unrated
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This rich, creamy kidney bean curry, packed with layers of flavor from oil-bloomed spices and sauteed onion, can be enjoyed over rice with roti or naan for scooping. Add a dollop of tomato achaar or roasted garlic achaar for a little heat and acidity, and the yogurt for creamy coolness. Finish with a small handful of chopped onions and fresh cilantro for a final pop of flavor. If you don't have amchoor powder, you can try a bit of tamarind concentrate or a squeeze of lemon juice instead.
Gina Mae’s Baked Beans  
Scholar Regina Bradley (nicknamed Gina Mae as a child) added a few special touches to her husband's baked beans recipe to make it her own. "A cookout's DNA is found in the sides and who made them. This task is not for the faint of heart or the thin-skinned," wrote Bradley, in an essay for Food & Wine. "If your beans taste burnt or your potato salad has raisins or olives, we talking bad about you 'til your grandchildren hear about it." For this summer-perfect side, Bradley dresses up store-bought barbecue sauce with extra brown sugar; apple cider vinegar cuts through the smoky sweetness. For a thicker version of these saucy beans, bake them 10 to 15 minutes longer before topping with bacon. If Vidalia onions are unavailable, substitute any sweet yellow onion.
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More Beans + Legumes

Dry-Fried Sichuan-Style Green Beans with Shrimp
Rating: Unrated
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Instead of leaning on a sauce, “dry” stir-fries like this recipe use a small amount of liquid (in this case, fish sauce), relying on heat and movement in the wok to intensify each ingredient’s flavors. To ensure that the beans blister, dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel before cooking. Pickled sushi ginger adds mild, well-balanced sweetness and a hint of spice.
Stir-Fried Garlicky Snow Pea Shoots
This recipe from cookbook author Grace Young is a delicious example of a “clear” stir-fry that uses very few ingredients, focusing on a pure translation of simple flavors. Sweet, tender snow pea shoots shine through mellow garlic, while white pepper perfumes the dish with its mild heat and fragrant floral notes. If using a skillet, cook the pea shoots in two batches to avoid crowding the pan.

How to Bake Tofu, Step by Step

Andrea Nguyen shares how to transform super-firm tofu into baked slices perfect for sandwiches, salads, and more.