There’s no question why beans take a starring role in so many types of cuisine: they’re a healthy, hearty, and incredibly versatile food. Kidney beans in particular are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They’re rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants while also offering tremendous flavor and texture. 

These 16 easy and healthy recipes using canned kidney beans really show off the versatility of this wonderful bean. From simple yet savory classics like rice and beans, vegetable soups, and refreshing salads to flavorful ethnic dishes like quesadillas, curries, and stuffed peppers, this roundup has something special for every palate. 

Round out your meal with 15 Weight Watchers appetizers and 13 Weight Watchers desserts. If you’re interested in more plant-based dishes, be sure to give these 27 delicious vegetarian Crock Pot recipes a try, too!

1. Healthy Red Beans and Rice 

This better-for-you take on the classic Cajun dish of red beans and rice strikes the perfect balance of flavor, texture, and health. A few simple swaps reduce the fat and sodium normally found in this dish, while smoked turkey sausage, aromatics, and spices retain the comforting meaty and spicy essence that red beans and rice are known for. This hearty and nutritious dish is ready in one hour with just 10 minutes of hands-on prep. 

2. Refried Kidney Beans (Vegan and Gluten-Free) 

These homemade Mexican Refried Red Kidney Beans are the perfect addition to any Mexican-style meal. Using just 7 ingredients and taking just 10 minutes to make, this gluten-free and vegan refried bean recipe couldn’t be any easier. Aromatics and simple spices blend perfectly with the subtly sweet natural flavor of kidney beans in this finger-licking side dish that can also be used to fill burritos and tacos or as a delicious dip with tortilla chips.  

3. Spanish Rice and Beans (Vegan)

Rice and beans are a staple in so many countries because they’re affordable, easy to make, super tasty, and healthy. The combination of rice and beans contains all essential amino acids, making it a perfect protein dish for vegetarian eaters or anyone looking to reduce their meat consumption. This Spanish-inspired dish brings together colorful veggies, savory broth, flavorful aromatics, and olives with smokey spices—a perfect combination if there ever was one. Great for meal prep! 

4. Mediterranean Red Kidney Bean Salad 

Mediterranean food is touted as one of the healthiest diets in the world, and this bright and tangy kidney bean salad is a prime example. A perfect dish on its own or paired with roasted meats, grilled vegetables, or fish, this salad is veggie-packed, colorful, textured, and elevated with a simple garlic and lemon-based dressing. Simply chop, dress, and mix this delightful salad that’s ready in just 20 minutes.  

5. Smoky Veggie Chili with Tofu and Kidney Beans

If you’ve been on the fence about plant-based eating, this smoky vegan and gluten-free chili is a perfect introduction. Beans and tofu are the stars of this dish, and their hearty textures and rich seasoning give such a meaty feel. Onions, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes form a classic flavor base in a chunky sauce that sings with smoky spices and oregano. This recipe makes 6-8 servings that freeze well, making this perfect for meal prep.

6. Kidney Bean Soup

This super simple and hearty Southwestern-inspired soup is bursting with flavor and perfect for a weeknight dinner. Red kidney beans, potatoes, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and fragrant broth form the base of this colorful and well-seasoned soup. Use an emersion blender or food processor to give it a creamy feel or skip this step if you like your soup chunky. This versatile soup is great with any veggies and spices you have on hand. 

7. Kidney Bean Bowls with Sweet Potatoes

These beautiful vegetarian kidney bean bowls are hearty, filling, and packed with nutritious ingredients. Sweet potatoes, frozen corn, and avocado give this easy sheet pan dish a great variety of colors, textures, and flavors. A creamy and rich lemon-herb cashew sauce brings everything together while adding an extra dose of protein. Serve with your favorite grain and garnish with fresh herbs, nuts, or seeds to keep things interesting.

8. Pasta Bean Salad

Fantastic for a family dinner or party, this crowd-pleasing macaroni salad is as easy to make as it is delicious. Elbow pasta is mixed with colorful veggies, fresh herbs, and a combination of kidney beans, chickpeas, and green beans in a sweet relish and mayonnaise-based sauce. Kids and adults will fall in love with this hearty, creamy, and colorful side dish or simple meal. 

9. Healthy Turkey Chili with Kidney Beans 

You don’t have to give up meat to enjoy the health benefits of kidney beans, as this classic turkey and bean chili shows. This easy one-pot meal is comforting, packed with flavor, and undeniably healthy thanks to the combination of ground turkey, kidney beans, and loads of veggies. Learn how to spice your ground turkey to perfection in this recipe that comes together in under an hour with just 10  minutes of prep.

10. Indian Rajma Masala 

Rajma masala is a flavorful North Indian curry made by cooking hearty kidney beans in an aromatic sauce of tomatoes, onion, ginger, and spices that warms you from the inside out. Perfect for the colder months, this lip-smacking curry dish is a delicious one-pot option for lunch or dinner that is gluten-free and vegan as written. Enjoy this chili with rice, naan, or roti to keep things authentic.  

11. Easy Italian Vegetable and Bean Soup 

This Italian-style kidney bean and veggie soup is so easy to make, plus it’s incredibly customizable. It’s a great recipe for cleaning out the fridge and using up scraps of produce that you have on hand. This hearty soup freezes well, making it a great option for meal prep. It’s packed with chunky veggies and nutrient-dense greens and the tomato-based broth gives classic Italian restaurant vibes. 

12. BBQ Kidney Bean Burgers (Vegan) 

These BBQ kidney bean burgers can be pan-seared, grilled, or air-fried while retaining their shape and meaty texture. Flavorful spices, liquid smoke (optional but recommended), and tangy BBQ sauce ensure these burgers are bursting with flavor in every bite. Oats serve as a binder while giving the patties a great meaty texture. Your whole family will love these, vegetarians or not!

13. Kidney Bean Quesadilla 

These crunchy kidney bean and cheese quesadillas are a healthy, delicious, cheesy, protein-rich dish that works well in a Mexican meal or as a hearty snack. Great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these protein-rich quesadillas make a seriously crowd-pleasing meal that is so easy to whip up. Plus, it’s a great way to sneak in some veggies without compromising on taste. 

14. Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Kidney Beans 

Stuffed peppers are an ultimate comfort food featured in many cuisines. These kidney bean vegetarian stuffed peppers are a better-for-you version that will leave you feeling full and satisfied, not weighted down. A mixture of brown rice and wild rice accompany the beans as the base of this dish, and a well-seasoned tomato sauce filled with colorful veggies brings things together nicely. It’s so easy to change the flavor profile, too!

15. Skillet Vegetarian Shepperd’s Pie with Kidney Beans

This vegetarian Shepperd’s Pie with Kidney Beans features loads of nutritious vegetables cooked in a single skillet. This healthy take on the Irish classic dish is both hearty and comforting. The focus of this dish is whole foods and hearty veggies that offer a great range of textures and colors. An umami-rich and aromatic sauce takes things to the next level. This one-pot meal is ready in 45 minutes.  

16. Healthy Sloppy Joes with Kidney and Pinto Beans 

These healthy Sloppy Joes are tangy, sweet, and savory all at once! The easy and saucy two-bean filling is so hearty and satisfying, you won’t miss the meat at all. Minced onion and celery form the aromatic flavor base while ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire, hot sauce, vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper bring the perfect combination of tanginess and spice. This family-friendly meal is ready in just 15 minutes!

And I will leave you with my Red Beans And Rice Recipe.

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16 Simple Healthy Recipes That Begin With a Can of Kidney Beans

Servings: 4
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
bowl of red beans and rice
This super easy Popeye’s copycat recipe offers the tender, smoky beans and rice from your favorite restaurant that are ready in less time than it takes to place a takeout order! 


  • 2 cans red beans
  • 3/4 cup rice
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, or chicken bacon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt, or bacon salt if you have it
  • ground black pepper


  • Place water and rice in a pot with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat down to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat but leave the lid on to rest for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • Roughly chop the bacon and heat a large frypan over a medium heat. 
  • Add the bacon and cook until crispy and brown.
  • Add the beans, seasoning,  beef stock and simmer for 15 minutes until the beans are soft.
  • Remove about a quarter of the beans and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  • Return the mushed beans to the pan and combine. If the mixture is too thick, add a Drizzle 😉 of water.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve the beans piled on a plate with a scoop of the rice in the center.


Calories: 346kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 18gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 973mgPotassium: 670mgFiber: 10gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 160IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @drizzlemeskinny or tag #drizzlemeskinny!

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