Beans get a bad rap for being boring. And I have to admit that a lot of the time they can be. As a child the thought of pinto beans sounded so dry and gross. It was clearly something that only my parents would eat.

However, there are SO many great ways to fix beans to make them more exciting. I have a sweet tooth, so for me adding some honey, ginger, and other spices to my beans gave them much more of a comfort food taste. I've even made these beans for people who originally heard pinto beans and thought "great, should have come for dinner a different night" and ended up really liking them!

There's no exact science called for in this bean recipe. Feel free to add more, or no, meat. Add more honey, ginger, or any other spice you want/have in the pantry. Enjoy!
 
 
I love Mexican food. The mounds of cheese. The refried beans that seem to have been soaked in butter. The unlimited sauce. All delicious, but it can be a bit much on the stomach if I overindulge (which of course happens most times I eat Mexican). 

So... during vegan month I decided to explore a little bit and found I really like these bean quesadillas. Enough that I plan to make these vegan or not. I think the guacamole and salsa are an essential part of the quesadillas. They replace the cheese and keep the quesadillas from being a bit "blah". I also put some cayenne pepper in there that you can increase or decrease based on your spice tolerance. Enjoy!
 
 
I was at a party last summer and someone had brought the most delicious cold avocado salad. Of course I asked for the recipe and this is my version of that dish. One of the main differences is that I eliminated the cilantro. I'm not a fan, but many people love it and I'm sure it would be a good addition here if you like it.
 
 
Despite the "vegan" name, these enchiladas are very flavorful. It's a version of a recipe I found online. This recipe uses tofu instead of ground beef and adds some tasty (and healthy) black beans to the "stuffing". And then top with guacamole to give it a nice sauce on top without having to add cheese. It has some kick though so tone it down if you don't like spicy. 
 
 
A friend made a dish similar to this and I just had to recreate it - hers was delicious! This version has a good mix of veggies, plus black beans and feta cheese to give it a pretty mix of colors. I used a green apple balsamic vinegar in this salad but a red wine vinegar would also work well. This Tangy Black Bean and Feta Salad is a great dish for experimentation! 
 
 
As soon as the really warm weather hits I feel the need for a cold pasta. This cold chickpea, sun-dried tomato, and feta pasta is a twist on using traditional noodles, although I've made it with penne pasta recently and that was also good.

This pasta uses barley and chickpeas instead of noodles. It also has sun-dried tomatoes, feta, spinach, pesto, and chicken for flavoring. Plus the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes make for a colorful dish.
 
 
This is one of my favorite soups. It's easy, very healthy, and has a lot of flavor. I first thought about some sort of kale soup when I read about the health benefits of kale. Kale is high in antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K. It helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

The problem is that kale's a bit tough and it doesn't seem to be a common ingredient in many recipes. Cooking your kale in the crock-pot for several hours gives it a chance to soften up. Plus kale is one of the vegetables in season during the winter months, making it perfect for a warm winter soup!

In addition to the kale there are carrots, beans, onions, garlic, and tomatoes in this soup -  all of which are also great for you!

Hope you enjoy this White Bean & Kale Soup!
 
 
I love lima beans and I'm always looking for new ways to eat beans. The Lima Bean Delight is a favorite I've been making for a while now. It's pretty straight forward. A bunch of lima beans, ingredients for a cheese sauce, and Ritz for a nice crunch on top.

I usually get frozen limas because they're easy to find and most are low sodium or sodium free (as opposed to canned limas which can be high in sodium and preservatives). 

Also, for those who can't eat dairy, I've found cheese substitutes to work well and lactose-free milk or milk alternatives will work great in this recipe as well.

Try it now - Enjoy!