In today’s Seasonal Pantry, I suggest a reliable short cut, canned beans, which are pretty good and can save a lot of time on a busy weeknight. The column includes three recipes, Pinto Bean Soup, Cannellini Bean Bruschetta, and Chickpea, Pasta & Tuna salad.

When you have more time, you’ll have even better results using either fresh or dried shell beans. Fresh shell beans, which have a very short season, should start showing up any day now at our farmers markets. Several local farmers also offer dried shell beans. Rancho Gordo, a small company based in Napa, has remarkable selection of nearly three dozen varieties of dried shell beans, along with other New World foods, including corn, grains, seeds, herbs and spice.

Basic Dried Beans

Masquerade Soup

White Bean & Black Bean soup is both delicious and beautiful.

White Bean & Black Bean soup is both delicious and beautiful.

Sausage, Bean, & Rice Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

The Simplest White Bean Soup

Chickpea Soup with Sautéed Celery, Feta Cheese & Black Olive Tapenade