How to Prepare Canned Kidney Beans

Canned kidney beans are affordable, accessible and nutritious. There are many reasons to want to include more beans in your diet, but cooking dried beans from scratch is time-consuming. Fortunately, you can make simple kidney bean recipes using pre-made canned kidney beans.

Canned kidney beans are affordable, accessible and nutritious.
Credit: Vladimir Mironov/iStock/GettyImages

A popular kidney bean recipe is red beans and rice. This is a popular dish in Louisiana and other places where Cajun food is culturally integrated. With the convenience of canned kidney beans, you do not have to travel to another state to enjoy red beans and rice.

Kidney Beans Nutrition

Like other legumes, kidney beans are a plant-based protein source. Many people think beans count as a vegetable serving, but they are usually placed in the protein category. Vegetarians and vegans are especially encouraged to consume a variety of plant-based proteins in place of animal protein sources.

Kidney beans nutrition facts contain more than just protein. According to the USDA, 1 cup of cooked kidney beans contains the following nutrients:

  • 225 calories
  • 0.9 grams of fat
  • 40.4 grams of carbohydrates
  • 13.1 grams of fiber
  • 15.3 grams of protein
  • 29 percent daily value (DV) of iron
  • 19 percent DV of magnesium
  • 17 percent DV of zinc
  • 15 percent DV of potassium
  • 12 percent DV of vitamin K

Some people wonder whether fresh beans contain more nutrients than canned kidney beans. According to Mayo Clinic, canned beans make a healthy substitution. They recommend thoroughly rinsing canned kidney beans to remove some of the sodium. If you follow a low-sodium diet, opt for canned kidney beans that are made with no added salt.

Read more: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Health Benefits of Red Beans

Cooking Canned Kidney Beans

Since canned kidney beans are precooked, you simply have to reheat them. However, they will taste better if you incorporate them into simple kidney bean recipes that are full of flavor.

When cooking with beans from a can, you can still follow recipes that use dried beans — just decrease the cook time. For example, many recipes like red beans and rice are made on the stove top. Instead of simmering for hours until the beans are soft, you only have to cook long enough for the other ingredients to cook. When cooking with other ingredients, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends heating to at least 145 to 165 Fahrenheit.

To heat canned beans for a side dish, you can warm them on the stove or in the microwave like you would with leftovers. According to the USDA, you can refrigerate any unused portion of canned goods.

Read more: List of Types of Beans You Can Eat

Simple Kidney Bean Recipes

The most popular red kidney bean recipe is red beans and rice. Some recipes for this flavorful dish require up to 12 hours of cooking time. However, you can cut that time drastically by swapping in canned kidney beans. The American Heart Association has a heart-healthy red beans and rice recipe that comes together within minutes.

You can also use a slow cooker to incorporate canned kidney beans into recipes like soups, stews and chilis. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends using canned kidney beans in their slow cooker minestrone soup recipe.

For more simple kidney bean recipes, try our LIVESTRONG.com recipes for Spicy Bean Chili and Vegan Cajun Red Beans and Quinoa.

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