Beans are a genuine comfort food—and eating them is among the best things you can do to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and prostate, breast, and colon cancers. Naturally high in protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, and antioxidants, beans are truly a superfood. Plus, they’re the least expensive, leanest protein source on the planet. Whether dried and cooked or canned and ready to go, using your bean is smart cooking.

Black Bean Enchiladas

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves 4–5 / In this unusual variation of enchiladas, the sauce is made from beans instead of tomatoes (in Mexico it’s called enfrijoladas, from frijol, the word for bean). To make this a vegan dish, use seitan instead of chicken, plus your favorite vegan cheese. view recipe

Cannellini with Leeks and Golden Beets

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  20 minutes

Serves 4/Vegan/ Cannellini have a delectable creamy texture and mild buttery flavor that allows them to stand out as a bean should, yet blend harmoniously with delicate ingredients.  In this quick stew, each element has a subtle but unmistakable presence.  Serve in shallow soup bowls, along with crusty whole-grain bread.  view recipe

Chili con Tempeh

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  20 minutes

Serves 4/Vegan/ Far East meets Southwest in this daring version of a well-loved classic.  Tempeh, a high-protein fermented soybean cake, is an Indonesian staple; substitute ground beef if you prefer.  White-corn masa harina ("dough flour") is a traditional thickener; though optional, it adds flavor and complements amino acids that some beans lack, making a complete protein.  Top with chopped red or spring onions and grated cheese.  view recipe

Legume and Squash Stew

Prep time:  10-15 minutes
Cook time:  25 minutes

Serves 4/Vegan/ Beans and corn together provide a complete protein in this peasant-style, one-dish meal, alive with fiery spice.  Chiles, somewhat counterintuitively, are among the most potent anti-inflammatory foods.  Serve in shallow soup bowls, with slices of crusty Italian bread.  view recipe