15 Ways to Cook With Kidney Beans

Go Beyond Chili

Copycat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli

Jennifer Perillo 

Kidney beans appear on many pantry stocking lists for good reason: The red, organ-shaped beans have a soft, buttery interior texture that taste great in a variety of soups, pastas, chilis, and salads. Dried kidney beans will last tightly sealed in a cool, dry place for about a year. Canned beans can be eaten for about 3-5 years, but always check the pop button on the top of the can before using. If the can is bulging, discard and do not eat. These easy recipes will help you use up your stock of beans without the family getting bored.

  • 01 of 15

    Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Taco Soup

    Vegetarian Crockpot Taco Soup I

     The Spruce

    Three kinds of beans add plenty of fiber to this satisfying taco soup that also lends itself to lots of toppings. Try it with shredded cheese, sour cream and cilantro, or squeeze a little lime and crumbled tortilla chips on top. Taco mix adds easy seasoning, and it all comes together in your slow cooker.

  • 02 of 15

    Pasta e Fagioli

    Copycat Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli

    Jennifer Perillo 

    This pasta, bean, and sausage soup tastes just like the Olive Garden favorite, and makes a great way to use up leftover veggies and beans. Any small pasta shape will work, but ditalini will give you the most authentic taste and texture. Try it with a crust of Italian bread for a light lunch.

  • 03 of 15

    Vegetarian Three Bean and Grape Salad

    Vegetarian Three Bean and Grape Salad

    Jolinda Hackett

    Classic bean salads just taste like summer, and this version adds celery for crunch and grapes for a hint of sweetness. Kick the flavor up a notch by using a gourmet flavored oil or a really nice olive oil that will showcase its grassy notes.

  • 04 of 15

    Bean and Vegetable Soup

    Vegetable and Bean Soup. Getty

    This comforting slow-cooker soup comes loaded with veggies and beans and makes a great way to clean out the fridge if you have a few ingredients to use up. Switch out the types of beans if you have others on hand, throw whatever vegetables you've got into the slow cooker, and add some browned ground or diced meat into the mix. Serve with some crusty bread to make a meal.

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  • 05 of 15

    Pasta and Bean Salad

    Vegetarian bean and pasta salad
    Bean and pasta salad photo by Angus Fergusson / Getty Images

    When you can't decide between a pasta salad or a bean dish, split the difference with this cold side salad that has both. Cook the rotini – or whatever pasta you've got – just a hair shy of al dente. That will keep it from getting mushy when you toss it in the dressing.

  • 06 of 15

    Kidney Bean Burger with Mushrooms

    Kidney bean burger with mushrooms recipe

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    If you love a black bean burger, but only have kidney beans on hand, make this one instead. It uses kidney beans and mushrooms for texture, bell peppers and onion for flavor and oats to hold it all together. You'll never miss the meat.

  • 07 of 15

    Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Sausage

    Bowl of red beans and rice with andouille sausage.
    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    Spicy andouille sausage jazzes up this Louisiana classic, but you can add a ham bone, diced ham, or some bacon to the beans if you like even more meat. It's a great way to use up pantry staples in a delicious, different way and it even uses the slow cooker.

  • 08 of 15

    Red Kidney Bean Curry

    Red kidney bean curry in a white bowl

    Scott Veg/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    This bean-based vegetarian curry dish is popular in Northern India, flavoring the beans with a lovely blend of garam masala, ginger, turmeric, coriander, chiles, and garlic. It comes together in under an hour and tastes great served over white rice with a side of pickle.

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  • 09 of 15

    Caribbean Beans and Rice

    Caribbean red bean recipes

    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

    As many variations on this Caribbean classic exist as there are regions of the islands, but this one will get you started. Spiced with nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, it has a warming flavor that complements tender beans and acidic tomatoes perfectly.

  • 10 of 15

    Vegetarian Dirty Rice

    Vegetarian and Vegan Dirty Rice

    Juanmonino/Getty Images

    If you're used to your red beans and rice coming with sausage or ham, try this vegetarian or even vegan version. With Cajun seasoning, bell pepper and onion, it has just as much zest as the traditional and none of the animal products.

  • 11 of 15

    Cheesy Rice and Beans Breakfast Bowl

    Cheesy Salsa Verde Rice and Beans Breakfast Bowl

    Stephanie Kirkos

    Toss brown rice, salsa verde, shredded cheese, and kidney beans in a bowl with a soft-cooked egg and you have yourself a warming breakfast. Add some sliced avocado or grilled tortilla for even more oomph.

  • 12 of 15

    Spicy Vegetarian Chili

    Add TVP to chili in pan and cook

    The Spruce

    This vegetarian chili doesn't skimp on the hearty texture, with texturized vegetable protein subbing in for ground beef or chili. Use kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, or a mix of all three and don't forget to sprinkle in plenty of chili powder for that kick.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

    Bowl of vegetarian beans with rice.
    The Spruce Eats / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Once you try making your own baked beans, you may never go back to the canned kind. This recipe comes together in your slow cooker, making it perfect for a tailgate or backyard gathering. If you prefer your beans with a little meat, toss in a ham hock or some diced bacon.

  • 14 of 15

    Busy Day Chili

    Chili Beans With Ground Beef
    Chili Beans With Ground Beef. Diana Rattray

    Made with ground beef, kidney beans, and diced tomatoes, this flavorful chili works great for a simple weekend dinner or tailgating party. It's also highly customizable: Swap out the beans for another variety or add a can of black beans too, toss in additional chilis for more zip, or squeeze in some tomato paste for a thicker chili.

  • 15 of 15

    Slow Cooker Beef and Bean Casserole

    crock pot beef and beans in a bowl
    Diana Rattray

    With canned lima beans, pork and beans, and kidney beans as well as ground beef and bacon, this is one hearty dish. It can cook up in the slow cooker while you work, with the onion, mustard, brown sugar, and molasses flavoring filling your home with a tantalizing aroma.