Simple Black Beans

Simple Black Beans with Lime and Cilantro

Having just read what dining out in California will look like soon, I personally may want to continue dining in the warm, inviting, comforting, welcoming (and lingering) setting of my own home and ideally those of friends, a while longer. The picture that’s being painted for an intensely sterile, masked-up, please-hurry-out-of-here dining out experience just isn’t for me, regrettably. I feel sad for restaurateurs, especially those who love the hospitality aspect of hosting guests.

So many are still finding the at-home cooking and dining experience to be comforting, so this recipe ought to be well received. 

Creamy cooked beans are both nourishing and nutritious, so this recipe is a keeper. I do love to cook dried beans on occasion, but I promised simple here. A quality can of black beans will absolutely do, and it makes the prep a snap. 

There are so many ways these delicious beans can be used, for snacks or meals; don’t miss the suggestions below. Pinto beans may also be used or, a mix of black and pinto beans also renders a delicious result. Use one can of each and double the rest of the ingredients for a perfect bowl of comfort.


Simple Black Beans with Lime and Cilantro

¼ cup oil – may use vegetable or olive oil

1 small onion (I prefer Spanish red onion for this), diced finely

2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped finely

Juice and zest of 2 fresh limes

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cayenne or hot paprika (optional)

1 15-oz can black beans

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems (loosely packed)

Sea salt, to taste

In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook onion and garlic in oil until very soft, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add lime zest and juice, cumin, and red pepper if using. Continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.

Add entire can of black beans (with liquid) and combine contents well. 

Chop cilantro leaves and stems finely and add to beans, stir well. Add a bit of salt only; once beans have simmered you may adjust flavor with more salt if desired.

Cover saucepan and simmer beans over very low heat for up to 2 hours; they ought to simmer for at least 45 minutes – 1 hour. The longer they simmer, the creamier the texture and more delicious the flavor will be. Taste and adjust flavor with more salt if desired.

Yields about 2 cups; about 4 side servings. Recipe is easily multiplied in direct proportion.

Serving suggestions:

  • Fill black bean tacos, enchiladas, tostados, or burritos with shredded greens, crumbled Cotija/Feta/goat cheese, avocado, pickled onions.
  • Breakfast quesadilla: Warm black beans and cheese between 2 tortillas, top with fried eggs, salsa, and/or guacamole.
  • Latin layered dip / nachos: Beans, shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, pickled onions.
  • Puree beans in blender, add desired amount of broth and salsa/hot sauce for soup. Top with tortilla strips or chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream or yogurt, green onions.
  • Puree beans and add salsa, sour cream, top with green onions for a festive dip for chips or vegetables.
  • Mix with brown rice for a perfect protein; top with cheese, avocado, salsa.
  • Add to our Sweet Potato and Grain Bowl for added interest.
  • Spoon beans over mashed potatoes (or soft polenta) and diced cooked vegetables for an extra-comforting meal.
  • Puree beans (or not) and combine with hummus for a delicious dip for raw vegetables and pita chips.
Diana Scalia

Diana Scalia

Your Chef and Tour Maestra

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