We make this black bean recipe multiple times a month. My kids absolutely love it. We pack it for school lunch all the time and we frequently use it as part of dinner. This is also a very easy recipe to make at volume and freeze portions of it for the weeks to come. It's delicious, we all love it and I am not sure how I would have gotten through the last few years making daycare lunches every day without it.
This black bean recipe is really my mother-in-law's- she gave it to me years ago and it has become a staple in my refrigerator and freezer. I also think it might have been the gateway bean recipe that has become a little bit of an obsession. In fact, I have 21 different kinds of canned and dried beans in my pantry. And I spent a lovely afternoon on the beach reading "Bean by Bean: A Cookbook" by Crescent Dragonwagon like it was a thrilling novel.
Despite all the bean adventures I have tackled in my kitchen since first trying this recipe I still really enjoy making and eating it.
How to make can black beans taste great?
While the answer is not surprising it is wonderfully simple and easy- sauteeing onions and garlic with some spices make this canned pantry staple a delicious meal.
- Onion, bell pepper, and garlic- you know dinner is off to a good start when you smell sauteed onions and garlic.
- Salt- I like to add the salt in at two different times. ½ teaspoon with onions and ½ teaspoon with black bean cans go in. ***I want to try doing this with most dishes after reading "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" by Samin Nosrat- great book!!
- The herds and spices- the simple combinations of Oregon, cumin, and cayenne pepper bring flavor to the beans.
- Vinegar- a tablespoon of vinegar brings a little acid that balances the earthiness of the beans. If you don't have white apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar will work too- I just use whatever is closest to me 🙂
Are Canned Black Beans Healthy? The nutrition facts
- Protein: 1 cup has 15 grams of protein, about 30% of your daily protein needs.
- Fiber: 1 cup also has 15 grams of fiber, about 50% of your daily intake. (1)
- Lower glycemic index: Compared to many other high-carbohydrate foods, they cause a smaller rise in blood sugar after a meal. (2)
- Low in fat: 0.8 grams for 241 calories in 1 cup of canned beans.
- "Beans Beans Good for the Heart"- Studies have found that beans may help you manage your weight and lower your risk for heart disease. (3)
(1) Dietary guidance for pulses: the challenge and opportunity to be part of both the vegetable and protein food groups. Stefanie Havemeier, Jennifer Erickson, Joanne Slavin (2) Bean and rice meals reduce postprandial glycemic response in adults with type 2 diabetes: a cross-over study. Sharon V Thompson, Donna M Winham & Andrea M Hutchins (3) Nutritional and health benefits of pulses. Adriana N Mudryj, Nancy Yu, Harold M Aukema
Learn more about the amazingness of beans and lentils: Navy Beans vs. Great Northern Beans, What to do with leftover lentils (15+ ideas), What do Lentils Taste Like? and more Canned Black Bean Recipes.
Tips and tricks
- Don't rinse the beans!! So many bean recipes call for rinsing the beans I have made this mistake before. The canning liquid turns into the cooking liquid in this case. Don't worry too much if you make this mistake- add a cup of water or chicken broth. Without the starches from the liquids from the can the beans will not be as thick but they are still really tasty.
- Don't caramelize the onions- who doesn't love caramelized onions?? But for this recipe, you just try to sweat the onions, garlic, and peppers.
- Don't worry about time- this recipe only takes 30 minutes of cooking time. But in the chaos of my household, it often sits on the stove longer. I lower the heat while mopping split milk off the floor or running to the other room to break up a fight over who gets to watch what on the TV. I have also sped things up when the troops claim they are starving. In that case, I keep the heat a little higher and stir more frequently.
What can I add to beans for flavor? Alterations
While the seasonings in the recipe card are my go-to I have improvised when I am missing ingredients or just being playful in the kitchen.
- Try chili powder instead of cayenne pepper, it will give the flavor of chilis with a little less heat.
- Onion powder and garlic powder can fill in for fresh onions and garlic if you're in a real pinch and only working with pantry ingredients (ala March 13th, 2020). Be aware this is not a similar substitution- as you are swapping out a dry powder version for a fresh vegetable that is made up of mostly water. But 1 tablespoon of onion powder and ½ tablespoon of garlic powder will give you an umami taste that will incense the beans- if in a very different way.
- Swap out the acid- The vinegar can be replaced with fresh lime juice or lemon juice.
- Add canned green chiles or fresh hot peppers like Fresno.
- Add more heat with red pepper flakes or/and diced jalapeño.
- If you like a creamier consistency, use a potato masher to break up the beans until you get your desired texture.
How to make canned black beans?
Super easy Step-by-Step
- In a medium saucepan, warm oil over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. You're not trying to caramelize the onions; just soften them.
- Next, add the minced garlic and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until the garlic is softened. Next, add the canned black beans, including the liquid from the can.
- Finally, add the spices and vinegar mix to combine fully. Bring the black beans to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your desired consistency.
What to serve it with?
- Burrito bowls- Serve over white rice. I love my black beans with guacamole or sour cream, hot sauce, pickled fresno chilies, and chopped fresh cilantro. Add some tortilla chips for homemade burrito bowls.
- Tacos- black beans are perfect in tortilla shells as the base for veggie tacos or as a delicious side dish to Green Lentil Tacos.
- With sweet potatoes- these black beans taste great with baked and roasted sweet potato and make a filling dinner.
- Taco Bits- black beans are filling to be taco bits, and are one of my kid's favorite party appetizers and sometimes dinner.
- Burritos- are always best with some black beans!
- Add an egg- serve black beans with a fried egg on top for a supper protein pack meal.
Yes! I always have black beans frozen in my freezer. Because it’s a staple for school lunches, I like to have a bunch of them ready to go. Once the beans are cold (no longer frozen), pack them in an airtight container. We pull them out of the freezer Sunday morning so they’re thawed in time to make Monday’s lunches.
Leftover black beans are great in a variety of dishes. My favorites include black bean quesadillas, black beans and pizza with jalapeños, hot cheesy black bean dip.
More recipes with black beans:
- Black Bean Soup
- Southwestern Stuffed Summer Squash
- Southwestern Black Bean Stuffed Tomatoes
- Black Bean and Corn Salad with Honey and Line Dressing
- Mexican Chopped Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette
If you’ve tried this Canned Black Beans Recipe recipe or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals and anything else I’m up to.
Best Canned Black Beans Recipe
- 1 C finely chopped onion
- ½ C chopped bell pepper
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 4 T olive oil
- 2 15.5 oz cans black beans undrained
- 1 T white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Heat oil over medium heat.
- Add onion, green pepper and salt, cook until tender.
- As the onion and pepper cook, add garlic and cook until tender, but not brown.
- Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes to desired thickness.