Cooking with pantry staples

Black Bean Brownies

What better time than the present to get creative with making meals from items already found in your pantry.  Below are four different ways to use a common pantry staple: canned black beans.

Three Ingredient Black Bean Soup

  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Optional Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, jalapenos

Directions: Combine all ingredients in medium pot. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from stove and blend using an immersion blender or a traditional blender.  Makes six servings. One serving contains 226 calories and 42 grams of carbs.

Five Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 2 cans (14.5-ounce) chicken broth
  • 1 can (10-ounce) chunk chicken
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chili peppers
  • Optional Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, lime wedges

Directions: Pour contents of the cans into a large saucepan or stockpot. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or longer if desired. Makes six servings. One serving contains 221 calories and 34 grams of carbs

 Black Bean Tacos

  • 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1-½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Optional Toppings: shredded cabbage or lettuce, avocado, salsa, lime wedges

Directions: Heat oil in skillet and add onions.  Cook until softened (around 2 minutes). Stir in seasonings then add beans and water.  Reduce to simmer and cook with pan covered for 5 minutes.  Uncover and mash half of the beans. If any water remains, continue to allow mixture to simmer until liquid absorbed.  Serve in heated tortillas with toppings of choice.  Makes four servings. One serving contains 293 calories and 51 grams of carbs.

 Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 box chocolate brownie mix

Directions:  Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to can and fill can with water. Put beans and water in blender until smooth. Combine pureed beans with brownie mix. Transfer mixture into a greased baking dish and cook according to instructions on brownie mix. Makes 20 brownies. One brownie contains 138 calories and 28 grams of carbs.


As you can see from the recipes listed above, black beans are as versatile as they are tasty. Beans of all types are a great source of protein and a lower cost alternative for meat. You also get the added bonus of fiber, which is essential for proper bowel function and helps keep you full longer!

*Nutrition facts calculated using


Jessica Meek, MS, RD, LD

Jessica Meek, MS, RD, LD, developed a passion for nutrition during her teenage years and strongly believes in the healing power food. After completing her undergraduate and master degree program at Ohio University, she became a registered dietitian in 2006. She has been practicing professionally for over 10 years in the tristate area. She uses her knowledge of nutrition to empower individuals living with diabetes to make positive lifestyle changes and lead healthier lives. Jessica is a dietitian with the Bruce Chertow Diabetes Center.