Beans are one of my favorite foods. They are completely underrated and overlooked. Being a vegetarian, I have to find foods that give me enough iron and protein, and beans are super rich in both. They're also extremely cheap, usually less than a dollar for a can, which is great for college students who are ballin' on a budget. They're creamy and versatile, and I could rave about them for days (which is super weird but I don't care.) Here are some of my favorite, easy bean recipes.

1. Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

tomato, sauce, meat, soup, vegetable, chili
Marissa Arnett

Slow cooker chili is such a great recipe for college students who are busy and don't have much time to cook. You can just throw all of the ingredients together in your slow cooker in the morning and come back to a delicious bowl of chili after class. Plus, you can make a big batch and eat it all week. There are so many recipes out there for crock pot chili, but this one that uses white beans.

2. Black Bean Tacos

tacos, vegetable, chili, bread, tomato, lettuce
Katherine Baker

Another one of my favorite dishes to make are black bean tacos. I usually add sweet potatoes and use whole wheat tortillas to make them healthy and delicious. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy complex carbohydrates. Add that to black beans, which are full of protein, fiber, and iron, and you have a balanced meal, high in many nutrients.

3. Healthy Refried Beans

legume, vegetable, cereal
Eva Reynolds

At most restaurants, refried beans are made with animal lard and are very high in fat. When made at home, they're a great way to enjoy the nutritional benefits of beans. 

4. Black Bean Brownies

sweet, candy, cake, brownie, cookie, chocolate
Reed Erickson

These aren't exactly a meal, but they're definitely worth trying out. I've made them a few times and made my family try them, and you truly cannot tell there are beans in them. They're moist, chocolatey, and delicious. Try these ones out and enjoy this nutritious dessert for lots of fiber and only 118 calories.

5. Baked Beans

cereal, kidney bean, meat, sausage, vegetable
Vernell Dunams

Baked beans are a classic, and although they are often a side dish, they can make a hearty meal. Making homemade baked beans is even better because you can control the amount of sugar that's used in the recipe to make them even healthier.

6. Falafel

mince, bread, falafel, pork, beef, parsley, vegetable, meat
Becky Hughes

If you haven't tried falafel, you definitely need to put that on your list of foods to try. You can even make your own baked falafel at home! Falafel is made of mashed garbanzo beans and spices that are formed into balls and are usually fried. You can eat them on their own or put them in a pita pocket with some hummus. In addition to being delicious, they're also full of protein and iron.

7. Black Bean Burger

guacamole, avocado
Parisa Soraya

Veggie burgers aren't only for vegetarians. Making veggie burgers out of beans provides fiber and protein. Add your favorite toppings, like cheese, ketchup, and pickles, and you'll have a delicious burger that's healthier than a beef burger. Try out these black bean burgers and I promise you won't even miss the meat.

8. Red Beans and Rice

pork, curry, paella, vegetable, meat, chicken, rice
Antonia Drummond

When you grow up in a family from New Orleans, red beans and rice is a staple in your diet. This super simple dish can be spiced up with the addition of onions, peppers, tomatoes, and many spices. Louisianians often add some spicy sausage. Another great thing about this combination is that it offers all of the nine essential amino acids our body needs to get from vegetarian sources.

9. Bean Dip

vegetable, cheese, salad
Maddy Shannon

Bean dip is always a huge hit at parties and potlucks and it's super easy to make! There are also a ton of variations to choose from depending on what you're looking for. Try out this fiesta baked bean dip and start munching.

10. Bean Salad

cucumber, onion, pepper, tomato, vegetable, salad
Rose Gerber

Beans can make an amazing and hearty salad that's way more interesting than your everyday lettuce and veggies. Bean salads can be made with so many different ingredients and are super healthy AND filling. This black bean and mango salad is sure to add some freshness to your diet.

If these delicious bean recipes don't inspire you to start eating more legumes, then I don't know what will. Beans are such an underrated food and they pack huge amounts of nutrition into each bite. They really are the magical fruit!