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What Can You Do With Beans?


Did you buy a lot of beans for the COVID-19 pandemic but are uncertain how to use them? Time to be creative and let your inner chef shine! Here are some basic tips with beans: canned beans are pre-cooked and can be used immediately; but, note that it is recommended to simply rinse and drain with cold before using them. If you are starting with dried beans, you will need to soak them for at least 4 to 12 hours before they are ready to cook with.

Beans are high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. They are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin E, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, and much more. They can keep you full and satisfied, they can be stored for long periods of time, and lastly, they are undoubtedly delicious!

Beans are relatively easy to cook and experiment with! They are good in soups, stews, salads, dips, and much more. They can be roasted, sautéed, baked, boiled, mashed, you name it. If you need a helping hand to jumpstart your new bean life, here is a delicious chili recipe that will put your beans that are stocked at home to good use! This chili dish is a hearty meal that is packed with beans and vegetables, and it will keep you full for long periods of time. This meal can also be stored in the freezer for tasty leftovers!

Pandemic Chili

  • Serves: 4-6 Servings
  • Prep Time: 15-20 min
  • Cooking Time: 45 min - 2 hrs


2 tablespoon oil (Preferred: canola, grapeseed, olive oil)

1 medium onion, chopped (Preferred: red, yellow)

Optional: 0.5-1 pound ground meat (Preferred: lean beef)

Any type of vegetables- fresh, frozen or canned. Suggested vegetables are below: 

1 large bell pepper, 1 cup okra, 2 carrots, 2 ribs celery - chopped and 1 cup corn

1 large can or 30 ounces diced tomatoes with its juices

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cloves garlic

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 can or 45 ounces any kind of beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups broth or water

Optional: 1 bay leaf and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley 


  1. Using a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat the oil until it's simmering. Cook the onion, meat, bell pepper, corn, carrots, celery (or any other vegetables you use), and salt, until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add the spices and cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently. 
  3. Add the diced tomatoes with the juices, the beans, the broth or water, and bay leaf. Bring it to boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 45 minutes - 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the deeper the flavors will be.
  4. Discard the bay leaf and add more salt and cilantro or parsley to taste.
  5. Serve with garnishes of your choice - cheese, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, chips, the possibilities are endless.
  6. Enjoy!

Jenifer Fang is studying her masters in clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and she is currently an intern at Lemond Nutrition. She hopes to become a dietitian that will help individuals understand why food and nutrition are important for the human body. She enjoys singing, dancing, and playing guitar.

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