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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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)

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.

Dry-Fried Sichuan-Style Green Beans with Shrimp

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.

Smoky Beans and Greens in Tomato Broth

This soul-satisfying bowl of beans and greens hits the spot on a night when you’re low on time and energy and the fridge seems a bit bare. Smoked paprika adds a welcome hint of smokiness, while the combination of tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes delivers an aromatic broth in record time. Can’t find collards? Swap in kale or chard instead. Want to keep it vegan? Just skip the cheese. Feel free to use your favorite canned or home-cooked beans as well.
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More Beans + Legumes

Smoky Simmered Beans with Sofrito

The foundation of flavor for these savory, creamy beans comes from sofrito, a base of sauteed aromatics that Diaz grew up eating thanks to her Puerto Rican family. You will produce more sofrito than needed for this recipe, but you can store additional sofrito in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Use it as a base for soups, stews, and other bean dishes. Note: If using home-cooked beans instead of canned, you may need 1/2 to 1 cup of additional broth.

The Food & Wine Guide to Tofu

Tofu is a nutritious, versatile ingredient with a long, rich culinary history. Whether or not you're familiar with cooking with tofu, we've got plenty of ways to explore its possibilities.

How to Press Tofu

Getting the moisture out of a block of tofu just takes a heavy object, a clean dish towel, and 30 minutes.