Let's face it. Beans are nutritious, economical, and good for the earth, but aside from refried beans and some Indian and Italian recipes for chickpeas, I didn't spend a lot of time in the dried bean aisle until recently. Here are a couple of books from the public library that expanded my cooking repertoire.
Diet for a Small Planet (Frances Moore Lappe)
Bean by Bean (Crescent Dragonwagon)
Intimidated by dried beans? Have no fear, Crescent is here. While canned beans are still less expensive than meat, there's no arguing that dried beans cost even less. Author Dragonwagon walks you through several methods for cooking beans. If your first thought about beans is stodgy New England baked beans, you are in for a big surprise. She has recipes for every meal course featuring cuisines from all around the world. From soups to salads to casseroles, this book combines new recipes with witty commentary.
Spilling the Beans (Julie van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan)
Looking to stretch your grocery budget? Tired of carb heavy meatless meals that leave you hungry later? Want to serve the more economical dried beans but can't get away from the convenience of canned?
Spilling the Beans contains recipes for supplementing the meat in your favorite recipes with beans and lentils, some new ideas for bean based entrees, ideas for preparing dried beans ahead of time, and most intriguing, incorporating pureed white beans into a variety of foods (including baked goods) to create whole proteins.