Baked beans are not only filling and inexpensive, they’re also incredibly versatile. Try these easy ideas next time you’re stuck for meal inspiration.
1. Bean dip
Mash or purée your favourite baked beans or chilli beans with fresh herbs such as coriander or parsley, and spices such as smoked paprika and ground chilli. Season with salt and pepper and add a dash of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with pita or tortilla chips.
2. Cowboy casserole
One of the all-time top 20 HFG recipes, Cowboy casserole combines mince, baked beans, pasta and a tasty cheese topping. Vary the classic by using spicy Mexican beans and adding veges such as broccoli and spinach.
3. Surprise cheesy baked bean muffins
Make savoury muffins. Fill the muffin cases half way, then place a spoonful of baked beans into each muffin. Top with the rest of the mixture and bake as normal.
4. Beany pasta sauce
Mix baked beans with sweet chilli sauce, chopped cooked sausages, tomatoes and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach or carrot. Warm through and serve over pasta with a salad on the side.
5. Baked bean mash
Next time you have sausages try a quick and healthy mash alternative. Warm then mash baked beans or cannellini beans with olive oil and black pepper.
6. Baked bean mini frittatas
Mix eggs, a little milk and a little lean bacon with baked beans and mix well. Spray a muffin tin with oil and pour mixture into the tin. Bake in a moderate oven until set.
7. Boston beans
Jazz up plain baked beans by adding a dash of barbecue or chilli sauce and a little chopped bacon or lean chorizo sausage. Serve on toast or with a baked potato.
8. Bean soup
Puréed beans add creaminess to soups. Next time you make a vege soup, add a can of beans and stir through. Remove half the soup from the pot and blend or purée with a stick blender before combining again.
9. Baked bean mini pies
Place slices of wholemeal bread (crusts removed) into the holes of a muffin tray. Add baked beans and a grating of tasty cheese. Bake in the oven until beans are warmed through and bread cases are toasted.
10. Bean and cheese toasty
Don’t forget the good old baked bean toasted sandwich, made in a toasted sandwich machine. Add a slice of reduced-fat cheddar for extra tasty flavour. An egg broken in on top of the beans makes a portable breakfast.