Beans Create a Complete Meal: Food Pairings for Popular Dishes

Sometimes we're stymied by what side dish to pair with our main course. Fortunately, beans are a go-to solution in many of these situations. Here are some great ideas for completing your meals with the ever-versatile legume.

Burgers: What to Cook With Hamburger Meat Hamburgers with a potato bun and great toppings keep this classic new and interesting. Try your burger with fresh tomato, avocado, grilled onions, Swiss cheese, lettuce and barbecue sauce or experiment with other flavor combinations. Great sides for burgers include potatoes roasted with seasoning salt, coleslaw and baked beans with a Tex-Mex kick.

Flank Steak: What to Eat With Steak Show off your grilling skills with this meat. It's a perfect cut to marinate and serve with bold-flavored beans. Complete the meal with a green salad and, if you're feeling indulgent, a chocolate mousse for dessert.

Beans can be a lifesaver any time you're looking to create a complete meal.

Roast: What to Eat With Beef Add the classic combination of carrots and potatoes along with the roast for extra sides without the extra work. For an updated — but still easy and delicious — version of the classic, use cannellini beans in place of or in addition to the potatoes.

Grilled Veggies If you aren't planning on having meat for dinner, pair beans with grilled veggies for a complete meal. Chile rellenos are a hearty, spicy choice. Satisfy craving for Italian flavors with Tuscan-style stuffed tomatoes.

Some other great (and easy) meal pairings include:

  • Loaded baked potatoes — Top your baked potatoes with your favorite combination of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, corn, sour cream or chili.
  • Hot dogs — Almost any kind of beans make a great side dish with hot dogs.
  • Taco salad — Use beans as a primary topping for your taco salad to make this meal hearty and delicious. Layer crushed corn chips, beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa and sour cream on a plate for a full meal.

As you can see, beans can be a lifesaver any time you're looking to create a complete meal, and you'll feel good about making a well-rounded dinner your family is sure to love.