By Diane Vukovic
The author of Disaster Preparedness for Women
Dry beans are one of the best disaster foods to stockpile. They are nutritious, cheap, and last for years when stored properly. But then disaster strikes and you suddenly have to figure out how you are going to use all of those beans. Eating rice and beans gets boring quickly!
I’m lucky because my family already eats beans almost daily. So, when COVID-19 struct and we tapped into our food stockpiles, our diet didn’t change much. Here are some of the bean recipes my family is eating now. Even my kids like most of these.
Tip: When building up your disaster food stockpile, think about how you will use the foods in meals. Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of foods you don’t like. Or you might end up with disproportionate amounts of food, like 30lbs of pasta but not sauce to go on it.
In my book Disaster Preparedness for Women, I show exactly how to plan a food stockpile so you can make healthy, balanced meals. The book also covers all the preparedness essentials so you are ready for anything. Get the book here.
Here are 11 tasty ways to use dried beans
Try these delicious dried bean recipes.
1. Red Bean Pasta Sauce
This disaster recipe couldn’t be easier. Just blend (or mash) 1 cup of cooked pinto beans with 1 cup of tomato sauce to make 4 generous servings. Add seasonings like salt, basil, and oregano to taste. Serve over pasta.
2. Chickpea Nuggets
Of all the beans, chickpeas are the most kid-friendly. They also don’t have as much water as other beans, so are easier to form into burgers, balls, or nuggets. I like this recipe which uses oats to hold the nuggets together. If you don’t have breadcrumbs or cornflakes you can just use more blended oats for the coating. You can also omit the nutritional yeast.
3. White Bean and Olive Oil “Alfredo” Sauce
Here’s another easy bean sauce for pasta. Just blend (or mash) 1 cup of cooked white beans and ¼ cup of olive oil or butter to make the base. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, parmesan, and a splash of lemon juice to make a delicious creamy sauce for pasta.
*You can also sneak this sauce into mac n’ cheese so your kids get more protein without even realizing it.
4. Lentil Bread
Whenever I make bread, I sneak in some extra nutrition. How? I add things like blended kale, pulverized dried mushrooms, or bean puree. The bread comes out great and my kids eat it up.
To make, remove about ½ cup of water from your bread recipe and replace it with ½ cup of bean puree. If the dough ends up being too wet, add more flour. The bread in the picture was made with whole-grain flour and lentil puree.
5. Bean Burgers and Sausages
Beans and lentils can easily be turned into burgers or sausages. All you need to do is:
- Make sure the beans are drained very well or the burgers will fall apart. Lentils are particularly wet so I’ll squeeze them by hand to remove the water.
- Pulse in a food processor with some cooked veggies and seasonings. If you have egg, add an egg to the mixture.*
- Add oats, breadcrumbs, or flour (oats and breadcrumbs work best because they absorb moisture and hold the burgers together well). Keep adding until you form a mixture that sticks together.
• Form into burger or sausage shapes. Bake or fry.
*Egg acts like glue to hold the burgers together. If you don’t have egg, you can usually just omit the egg and the recipe will still work. Another option is to use flax or chia seeds instead of egg. These become a bit like glue when wet and do a good job of holding burgers together. I’ve got a massive stockpile of flax at home specifically for this purpose!
6. Black Bean Brownies
I know this one probably sounds weird, but you can’t taste the black beans the brownies at all. It ends up being a protein-packed treat and your kids don’t even realize they are eating beans. I like this recipe which is simple to make with disaster staples.
7. Dinner Pancakes
Yes, you can eat pancakes for dinner too! I make savory pancakes, which have lots of healthy veggies hidden inside. If my kids can’t see the healthy food, then they don’t complain about having to eat it. Here’s my basic recipe which you can adapt depending on what you have on hand. It makes about 18 smallish pancakes or 9 big pancakes.
- 2 cups of flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1-2 tsp. herbs and spices of your choice (I change mine depending on what veggies I have)
- 1 egg (if you don’t have egg, use 4 Tbsp. flax meal mixed with 8 Tbsp. hot water)
- ½ to 1 cup cooked, mashed vegetables (like mashed beans, peas, corn, carrots, or mushrooms)
- 2 cups milk
- Oil for cooking
1. Mix the all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Add the egg or flax mixture.
3. Add the beans/veggies.
4. Slowly add the milk and stir. If the batter is too thick, add a bit more milk.
5. Using a bit of oil for each pancake, cook on a non-stick skillet or pan.
8. Creamy Soups with Blended Beans
There are lots of great soups and stews which use beans or lentils: Minestrone, Mediterranean white bean stew, bean and vegetable soup…
I personally don’t like eating whole beans in soup though; the texture is too mushy. My picky kids also complain when they can see the beans.
Instead, I will make soups with blended beans. When blended, the beans make the soup creamy, hearty and satisfying. White beans work particularly well for this because they are neutral-tasting. Try a creamy tomato-white beans soup or a creamy roasted red pepper and white bean soup.
9. Bean Spreads and Dips
Have lots of crackers stockpiled but nothing to put on them? You can make tasty spreads and dips out of beans. Just mash or blend the beans with mayo or olive oil and seasonings. You can add vegetables too. I particularly love this combination:
- 1 cup white beans
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- Generous dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and/or dried parsley
- Diced roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes
You can really get creative with what you add to the dips. For example, I use up all my canned beets by adding them to homemade hummus. Fresh mint is awesome mixed into fava bean dip.
Tip: Make sure you have lemon juice stockpiled. Bean dips don’t taste nearly as good without it!
10. Tuna Salad with Beans
Canned tuna is another emergency food staple. You can turn canned tuna into a hearty meal by mixing it with:
- Beans (preferably white beans)
- Sundried tomatoes (salsa also works)
- Seasonings like garlic powder, dried parsley, and onion flakes
Serve with crackers or wrap it up in tortillas for a hearty lunch.
11. Sprouted Beans
If disaster strikes during the cold months and supermarkets aren’t open, one of the things I’m going to miss the most is fresh salad greens. An alternative is to sprout beans for salads. Not only are sprouted beans really healthy but they have the added benefit of not requiring any cooking (though you will need to start sprouting 2-5 days ahead of time).
Here’s how to sprout beans:
- Rinse ½ up of beans.
- Put them in a clean quart-sized jar and cover them with 2 cups of water. Cover the jar with a screen or cheesecloth. Secure in place with a rubber band or twine.
- Let the beans soak for at least 8 hours.
- Turn the jar upside down to drain. Make sure all the water is drained out.
- Put the jar in a bowl so the opening is facing downwards. The jar should be angled a bit. Keep it out of sunlight.
- Every morning, rinse your beans and drain again. After a few days, you should see the beans start sprouting.
- Eat when the sprouts are as big as their body. Store in the fridge. Don’t rinse sprouts anymore or they will mold quickly.
How do you use dried beans?
Do you have any creative ways to use the beans you have stored? Share your ideas in the comments.
Diane Vukovic is the Lead Writer at the prepping site Primal Survivor. For years, she has been working to mainstream prepping and get more women and minorities on board. If you aren’t sure how to get started with prepping or feel like your plan is incomplete, get her book Disaster Preparedness for Women.