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Leftover Pizza Ingredients? Break Out Some Beans

Pizza Bean Casserole dish
Pizza Bean Casserole dish - Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock

Making pizza from scratch is always worth the extra effort. What's not to like about a classic pizza crust loaded with flavorful tomato sauce, shredded cheese, and all your favorite pizza-friendly toppings? However, most homemade recipes often leave you scrambling to find creative ways to repurpose leftover ingredients. If you're looking for a new way to use the residual foods associated with your recently made pepperoni, pepper, and provolone pizza, look no further than beans.

Beans are the perfect ingredient to maximize your pizza extras since they're hearty and filling. These multi-purpose legumes are affordable and contain significant amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, such as folate, iron, and potassium.

Sure, you can add sliced pepperoni and peppers to tomorrow's midday salad, but with beans, you can create another fully-fledged pizza-inspired dinner. With a few simple steps, you'll have another hot, cheesy, tomato-based meal to enjoy. The best part about using neutral-flavored beans is that you can make this new and improved recipe as simple or as complicated as you desire.

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Read more: The 101 Best Pizzas In America

How To Simplify Homemade Pizza Beans

White beans in cast iron pan
White beans in cast iron pan - Ilia Nesolenyi/Getty Images

Even though you can use various beans to make Mexican bean pizza or three-bean chili, specific varieties work best when utilizing leftover pizza ingredients. For starters, use canned beans to create this alternative dish in a flash. Choose a white bean variety such as butter beans, great northern beans, or cannellini beans. Most white beans have a mild yet slightly nutty flavor that pairs well with aromatic ingredients like garlic, onions, and fresh herbs. White beans are also quite sturdy and hold up well in dishes that have a soup or stew-like base.

Whichever white bean variety you choose, combine canned beans, leftover tomato sauce, and shredded cheese in an oven-proof casserole dish. Add your favorite pizza toppings and bake. Simplify this bean-heavy filling by using jarred marinara sauce to reduce preparation time. You can even incorporate a scoop of ricotta cheese for added creaminess. Choose classic toppings like pepperoni slices, crumbled sausage, and fresh spinach, or add unexpected ingredients like sliced jalapenos, cooked chopped bacon, or creamy burrata cheese. While you can choose several toppings to upgrade classic pizza beans, you can also take your time with this recipe and make the base ingredients more flavorful.

Traditional Pizza Beans Can Be Made In A Variety Of Ways

Pizza ingredients on wood surface
Pizza ingredients on wood surface - Gmvozd/Getty Images

Next to repurposing your ingredients to make pizza pasta with turkey pepperoni, make rich and flavorful pizza beans from scratch. Jarred marina sauce is a valuable time-saving alternative, but slow-cooked Italian tomato sauce is a surefire way to elevate this pizza-inspired dish. You can also increase depth and texture by adding fresh spinach or kale to your tomato mixture before adding the beans and cheese. To perfect the consistency of this bean-heavy base, add a bit of vegetable stock instead of water for added savoriness.

Next to using crushed tomatoes and colorful aromatics, get creative with pizza beans by transforming your favorite flavor-specific pies into bean-friendly bakes. Instead of recreating the pepperoni and cheese classic, use this tomato bean base to make a Mexican pizza alternative with your favorite taco toppings. Pizza beans can also be made Margherita-style with raw tomatoes. If you want to skip the tomatoes, try making white pizza beans with added vegetable stock, fresh herbs, and your favorite Italian cheese varieties. Whether you're using leftover pizza toppings or making a homemade version of this savory dish, pizza beans are a delicious, versatile meal that can be scooped up with a spoon, eaten over toast, or served atop cooked noodles.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.