Dinner Plans: Black Beans

Prep 3 Delicious Meals From 1 Batch of Black Beans

Easy Homemade Vegetarian Black Beans

The Spruce 

Homemade black beans, cooked from dried with aromatics, are far and away better than their canned brethren. Not only are they cheaper, they're superior in texture and flavor. They do take time, making them a good weekend project. Luckily, cooking dried beans is mostly a hands-free process, so you can use that time to prepare the rest of your dinner and prep for a couple more delicious meals.

Game Plan

Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

  1. Make a batch of black beans, increasing the dried beans to one pound, and serve 1/3 of the beans on prep day.
  2. Divide the remaining beans into two portions, store in the refrigerator, and use to make two more dinners. Leave some cooking liquid in the containers with the beans to keep them hydrated.
  3. Make a double batch of white or brown rice, using half for prep day dinner and storing half for burrito night.

Prep Day Grilled Salmon and Black Beans

Time: 2 hours

Serve your homemade black beans with fluffy rice, grilled salmon, and store-bought or homemade salsa. Prep these other dishes while the beans cook slowly on the stove.

Easy Homemade Black Beans Recipe From Scratch
The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak 

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Increase the dried beans to 1 pound. Add a little more water or broth if needed.
  • Cooking the dried beans is largely hands-off, giving you time to prep the remaining dishes as well get some prep done for the other two meals.
  • Divide the leftover beans between two containers and store in the fridge.

Black Bean Veggie Burger Night

Time: 35 minutes

Make this vegan-friendly black bean burger recipe with one container of your reserved black beans. Just before assembling, put a baking sheet of fries in the oven to cook. Add your choice of toppings, including guacamole, vegan mayo, or cheese.

Vegan Black Bean Burger
The Spruce

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Replace the 14-ounce can of black beans with 1 3/4 cups of cooked black beans.
  • Drain the cooked beans very well in a colander to ensure the patties are not too mushy to hold their shape. Make sure the rest of the ingredients are dry as well—too much moisture will make it difficult to form burgers.
  • Get ahead on prep day: Put together the burger patties. Store in a container in the fridge, using wax or parchment paper to separate each patty.

Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito Night

Time: 15 minutes

Bean and rice burritos are a great way to use the rest of your homemade black beans. Quickly reheat your leftover beans and rice and gently warm the tortillas. Lay everything out with lots of toppings like spiced ground beef or chicken, salsas, avocado, cheese, and sour cream.

Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burritos
The Spruce 

Getting Dinner on the Table

  • Use about 1 3/4 cups of cooked black beans instead of a can.
  • These burritos can be made vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free (using gluten-free tortillas).
  • If you made homemade salsa for your prep day dinner, use any leftovers to top your burritos.

Bonus Make-Ahead Quesadilla Breakfast

Time: 30 minutes

You may end up with a few black beans leftover. Use them to make protein-packed, vegetarian breakfast quesadillas that you can freeze and reheat when you're on the go.

 The Spruce Eats

Essential Info

Making quick weeknight dinners is easier when you start with a few building blocks. Dinner Plans is a realistic roadmap to help you achieve that goal, by putting in a few hours of work (planning, shopping, and prepping) at the outset. Preparing a big batch of one ingredient (protein, vegetables, or grains) gives you the flexibility to plan a variety of meals. And who knows? You just might discover your new favorite weeknight recipe in the process!

Show everyone how together you are: Instagram your meal prep photos and tag them #thespruceeats.

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Watch Now: Easy and Vegan-Friendly Black Bean Burger