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10 Great Casseroles on a Budget

Spicy Three-bean Casserole (Vegetarian)
Beans provide inexpensive protein in this dish.
Beans provide inexpensive protein in this dish.

Yield: 12 servings

Beans are a primary vegetarian protein option, but they're not just for vegetarians. Cost-cutters love beans, too. As far as protein sources go, they're cheap.

This casserole is about as healthy as it gets: vegetarian protein, lots of dietary fiber and some of the lightest veggies around, so it's low in calories and fat. It's high in flavor, though -- hot and spicy flavor, to be exact.

Get cooking!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (about 15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (about 15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped tomato
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers,* minced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 11/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 21/2 cups (10 ounces) frozen cut green beans
  • Fresh oregano for garnish (optional)

*When handling jalapeño peppers, wear cooking gloves and keep your fingers away from your eyes. For a non-spicy casserole, omit them.


  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onions, celery and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except green beans and oregano. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.
  3. Add green beans. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until beans are tender. Garnish with fresh oregano.

(For nutritional information, see TLC Cooking.)

Next, for chicken lovers ...