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20 Tasty Ways to Cash in on Grains and Beans

By Value Guru, December 29, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Value Guru

You’ve likely heard a lot of talk about grains and beans recently for good reason. They’re delicious, nutritious and can be very economical. Plus, they’re easy to cook and versatile so you can experiment with them at any meal – morning, noon and night.

Cook a batch of grains and a pot of beans on the weekend to use in these 20 simple suggestions for grains, beans or both. Here’s a tip: portion out and freeze what you won’t use within a few days and then thaw as needed to take advantage of even more of these easy ideas!

GRAINS

Grain goodness! Mix ‘em up, try something new: barley, quinoa, brown rice, spelt, wheat berries, bulgur or millet. They’re simple to cook; try our “Learn to Cook Whole Grains” recipe.

  1. Whole Grain Mornings. Top warm grains with fruit and a sprinkle of cinnamon; add milk or your favorite nondairy beverage.
  2. Whole Grain Flapjacks. Stir 1/2 cup cooked and cooled whole grains into your pancake batter.
  3. Meal-in-a-Bowl Tomato Soup. Combine a carton of 365 Everyday Value® Organic Tomato Basil Soup with 1/2 cup cooked grains and 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken. Heat and garnish with croutons. 
  4. Mediterranean Shrimp and Grain Salad. Mix cooked cooled grains and peeled cooked shrimp with citrus sections, thinly sliced red onion and fennel, chopped pitted black olives and vinaigrette.
  5. Whole Grain Parfaits. Make layers of cooked whole grains, honey, Greek yogurt and strawberries or other fresh fruit in parfait glasses for dessert or breakfast.
  6. Whole Grain Cinnamon-Raisin Pudding. Combine cooked grains, milk or nondairy beverage, raisins, cinnamon sticks and a little brown sugar in a saucepan and simmer until rich and thick. Serve warm or chilled.
  7. Easy Grain Cakes. Mix cooked grains with beaten egg, diced onion, chopped fresh herbs and just enough flour to make a thick batter. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls into a hot oiled skillet and cook, turning once, until golden.

BEANS

Pick a new bean every week: pinto, black, white, red, kidney, navy and heirloom varieties. Peas and lentils count too! Check out our “Learn to Cook Beans” recipe to get started.

  1. Lunch Pita with Beans and Tahini. Stuff pitas with beans, shredded lettuce, grated carrot and sliced green onions; drizzle with tahini sauce (tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic and water).
  2. Toasty Bean and Parmesan Subs. Split submarine rolls or hot dog buns and top with beans, marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan. Broil until cheese is bubbling and garnish with fresh oregano or parsley.
  3. Quesadillas with Beans and Goat Cheese. Spread tortillas with mashed beans, add cooked diced beef (optional), dot with goat cheese and sprinkle with cumin. Top each with another tortilla and brown on both sides in a skillet.
  4. Bean-Stuffed Jacket Potatoes. Split warm baked russet potatoes and fill with beans. Spoon on a little pesto and top with smoked gouda. Broil until cheese is bubbling.
  5. Garlicky Pasta and Beans. Cook lots of garlic in extra-virgin olive oil until just golden around the edges. Add cooked sliced sausage, beans and red pepper flakes; toss with hot cooked pasta.
  6. Sweet-and-Savory Beans and Greens. Braise sliced kale, chard or collards in a little water with onion and raisins. Toss in beans and drizzle with sherry vinegar.    
  7. Go For a Dip. Try our Cajun Bean Dip or combine beans in a food processor with lemon, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and cayenne pepper; process until smooth.  

BOTH BEANS AND GRAINS

Your meal will be twice as nice with beans and grains. Try these favorites.

  1. Hearty Beans and Grains Breakfast. Top a scoop of hot cooked beans and a scoop of hot whole grains with a fried or poached egg and garnish with salsa.
  2. Easy Bean and Grain Minestrone. Cook chopped vegetables and diced tomatoes in broth until vegetables are tender. Stir in cooked grains and beans and heat through. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
  3. Beans and Grains Gratin. Cook onion and garlic in extra-virgin olive oil. Toss with cooked beans and grains, chopped rosemary and 2 tablespoons wine or broth. Spoon into a casserole dish, sprinkle with Le Gruyère and bake at 375°F until cheese is bubbling.
  4. Beans and Grains 7-Layer Salad. Layer cooled cooked grains, chopped vegetables (romaine, tomatoes, onion, avocado), mashed beans and salsa in a glass bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice and chili powder.
  5. Stuffed Bell Peppers. Sauté onion, garlic and ground turkey. Stir in beans, grains and marinara sauce. Spoon into halved bell peppers, top with Parmesan and bake at 375°F, covered, until tender. Serve with more sauce.
  6. Grain Loaves Rock! Grains are a perfect base for protein-packed, family friendly meals like our Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peas recipe or simply enrich your favorite meatloaf recipe with a cup of cooked whole grains.

Check out our online guides on beans and grains for a description of types and tips on storage, preparation and other helpful suggestions.

Looking for more ways to reach fiscal heath? The Whole Deal value guide always has deals, coupons, budget-friendly recipes and more!

What’s your best bean, greatest grain or dish that uses both?

 

5 Comments

Comments

GreenAppleHealth says ...
okay that grain loaf looks like well, a grain loaf... I bet its very moist though. I use quinoa in my meatloaf instead of breadcrumbs & it always comes out moist, delicious & super good! & I really want to make a bean dip now! Good reason to dig out the food processor :) I'm gonna put the bean dip in the 7 layer salad, yummmmm
01/02/2013 4:14:03 PM CST
Rebecca says ...
This list is amazing! Thanks for compiling these wonderful and inspirational ideas...I can't wait to try them. :-)
01/02/2013 8:28:40 PM CST
Sharon Eisen says ...
I wish you compiled all your recipes into a cookbook. I would buy it.
01/02/2013 10:00:34 PM CST
Lauren says ...
Just wanted to say thanks, this was a pretty creative list. We've recently gone vegetarian and it's always good to have new ideas!
01/10/2013 3:49:12 PM CST
Marisa Procopio says ...
I agree with Rebecca--amazing stuff! The Whole Grain Cinnamon-Raisin Pudding would make a really nice breakfast :) Thanks! mcproco.wordpress.com
02/01/2013 7:55:40 PM CST