Better Bean Co. Sides, Dips and Sauces

Better Bean Co.'s healthful sides, dips and sauces

The health benefits of beans have been widely extolled.

Better Bean Co., a father-and-daughter enterprise out of Portland, Oregon, takes the protein- and fiber-rich legumes one step further. Beans are the base for the company's line, which includes Rethought Red Beans, flavored with tomatillo; Three Sisters Chili; and Cuban Black Beans, seasoned with onion and poblano pepper.

The Wholly Chipotle Bean Dip, brightened with lime, will become a new entertaining staple; we were also partial to the Uncanny Refried Black Beans, which get a subtle spicy boost from serrano and habanero peppers (each $4 for 14 ounces).

Better Bean Co.'s products have to be refrigerated, because they're made from fresh, all-natural ingredients, such as Oregon-grown safflower oil. We like their time-saving factor, and that even the packaging is mindful: The containers are recyclable and BPA-free.

The beans' summertime uses are obvious–tacos, huevos rancheros, as a side for grilled fish and corn–but we'll use them as a quick, pre-flavored addition to soups and stews when the weather turns colder.

But for now, they'll be cool beans.