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Cook a Pot of Beans in Advance -- It's the Easiest Trick for Tasty Weeknight Meals

Making dinner is a breeze if you have cooked beans on hand. It's like money in the bank! Here's how to go from pot to plate.

The next time you're cooking dinner, start with beans. There's a lot to love about these humble legumes: They’re filled with fiber, easy on the wallet, and extremely versatile. When you cook a pot from scratch, most of the time is hands-off -- and you’ll be rewarded with a hearty building block for fresh, satisfying meals all week long.

cannellini, kidney, black, and pinto beans
Photography by: Armando Rafael

Get Prepped

Soak 16 ounces of your favorite beans overnight in enough water to cover by a few inches; drain. In a large pot, bring beans, 1 bay leaf, 3 cloves garlic, 1 peeled and halved onion, 4 teaspoons kosher salt, and 10 cups water to a boil. Simmer for time indicated above; if tender and creamy, remove from heat. If not, check every 15 minutes until they are. Let cool completely in broth. Discard aromatics. Refrigerate in broth for up to 5 days. 


3 Delicious Ways to Cook with Beans

one pan cuban chicken with rice beans
Photography by: Armando Rafael

One-Pan Cuban Chicken with Rice and Beans

Roasted chicken thighs sit on a bed of black beans and white rice flavored with bacon, cumin, oregano, chicken broth, and the trinity of onion, bell pepper, and garlic in this Cuban-inspired supper.


Get the One-Pan Cuban Chicken with Rice and Beans Recipe
pinto bean burgers
Photography by: Armando Rafael

Pinto-Bean Burgers

No bun, no problem! These California-style veggie burgers are plenty filling on their own. They're served with roasted red pepper-studded Greek yogurt, toasted almonds, sprouts, and sliced avocado. A squeeze of lemon brightens the whole dish.


Get the Pinto-Bean Burgers Recipe
herbed bean salad
Photography by: Armando Rafael

Herbed Bean Salad

A true make-ahead wonder, this simple side dish tastes even better if you give the flavors some time to mingle in the fridge. The marinated beans also couldn't be more versatile -- serve them over meat or fish, on toasted rustic bread, or mixed into greens.


Get the Herbed Bean Salad Recipe