Has anyone else ever been irrationally terrified of canned bean liquid? The viscosity, the cloudy opacity concealing who-knows-what lurking in its depths? (Spoiler alert: It’s just beans.)
Stop Draining Your Beans!
For everyone’s sake, I hope I was the only one. Because bean liquid is magic! It’s starchy and flavorful, adding velvety body to everything it touches. (Soups! Chilis! Pastas!)
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
However, some of our recipes do call for draining and rinsing beans before using; the canning liquid has a decent amount of sodium and can vary from brand to brand, so drained and rinsed beans allow for the most precise seasoning. If you choose to forgo the rinsing step in recipes that call for it, that’s fine! Just be prepared to pull back the salt elsewhere to balance the extra sodium.
Here are some of our favorite recipes that use canned beans and their liquid.
- We really lean into pinto beans’ starchiness in this recipe for Pan-Seared Salmon with Braised Beans and Greens. We cook two full cans of pinto beans until their liquid reduces to an unbelievably creamy consistency. It’s my new favorite way to eat beans.
- The liquid from canned black beans adds a signature earthy color to white rice in this recipe for Black Beans and Rice.
- White beans and their starchy liquid help to form a glossy sauce that clings to the pasta in this weeknight Pasta with Chicken Sausage, Swiss Chard, and White Beans.
- Chickpeas are the only canned bean whose liquid has a name: aquafaba. In this recipe for Greek Spinach and Chickpeas, aquafaba makes a creamy, flavorful broth for the spinach and chickpeas, flavored with garlic, dill, and lemon.