With the holiday season behind us and winter in full swing, it’s time for a bit of comfort.

There’s perhaps no better way to create warmth than with a steaming bowl of bean soup or chili with beans—or, for that matter, any type of bean dish.
Beans can pull double duty, offering wonderful taste and texture while being a delicious meat substitute.

Whether black, red, white or brown, beans are a great source of fiber, protein, iron, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and many other beneficial nutrients.
If you choose dried beans over canned, you will save money and reduce your sodium intake. If you use canned beans, rinse them to reduce excess salt.

Tuscan White Bean Skillet

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Parsley, for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering in a 10-inch, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the mushrooms to the pan in a single layer. Brown for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining mushrooms.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan. Add onions and sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until fragrant and softened, another 2 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes to pan, along with beans, artichoke hearts, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and sugar. Cover pan and turn down heat to medium. Cook until hot, about 10 minutes. Return mushrooms to pan and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

Spoon bean mixture into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Nutty White Bean and Wild Rice Soup

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into rounds
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup wild rice (not a wild rice blend)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos

Place cashews in a bowl and cover them with water.
Let soak.

In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil and sauté onion, celery and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add garlic, thyme and oregano. Stir for another 2 minutes.

Add broth, wild rice, 11/2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Add the beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes more, or until rice breaks open.

Using a liquid measuring cup, carefully remove 2 cups of the hot soup, including broth, veggies and rice. Put it in a blender with 1 cup of water. Drain cashews, then add them and dried sage to the blender. Blend on high for about 1 minute, until creamy.

Pour the mixture back into the soup. Add the soy sauce. Taste and, if needed, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Adjust seasonings as desired.
Garnish with freshly ground pepper.

Black Bean Enchiladas

  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 3 cups red enchilada sauce, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups guacamole
  • 12 8-inch corn tortillas


  • 1 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • 1 to 2 radishes, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • Cilantro or parsley, torn
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt

Heat oven to 400 F.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté sliced veggies for 6 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add black beans, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, paprika, kosher salt, lime juice, and vegetable broth or water. Cook for 2 minutes, until liquid is thickened into a sauce.

Spread 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish.

Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with olive oil. Heat a large griddle to medium-high heat. Cook tortillas in batches for 15 seconds per side until lightly browned.

Fill each tortilla with 1/4 cup of vegetable filling and about 2 tablespoons guacamole, running in a line down the center. Roll tortilla and place it in baking dish, seam side down. Once all tortillas are in the dish, pour remaining 2 cups of enchilada sauce over the top.

Bake for 5 minutes, until warmed through. Top with garnishes and serve.


Recipes by Anne P. Braly