We know they're especially great for stirring into salads or pastas to bulk up a meal. But in those cases, beans are rarely the ingredient that makes a dish really dazzle.

So, how can we bring back the bean's groove?

Smash them until smooth as velvet; season generously.

These creamy bean recipes will have you scraping your plate clean for the bean itself. Equipment needed? A fork or potato masher and a large plate or bowl for mashing.

Play with texture Chickpeas do double duty in this salad: they’re tossed with greens and puréed into a quick hummus. The mashed beans are flavored with lemon zest, garlic and plenty of salt and pepper. They’re topped with a cleansing and crunchy cucumber and romaine salad.

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Warm them through Take out your pan and warm your mashed beans with some garlicky oil to make a rich base for something extravagant like a cauliflower steak. It’s a good alternative to mashed potatoes. Dinner should sometimes (always) feel like a feast.

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Shape them into a patty Mashed beans are the secret to a soft and moist veggie burger. The trick is to seasoning your beans with bold condiments such as sriracha. Throw in some chopped garlic, vinegar and toasted sesame oil for an explosion of flavors. We like to coat ours with sesame seeds for a crust exterior.

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