Got beans and not sure what to do with them? Here are all the best black bean recipes for turning this healthy protein into a filling meal!
Looking for meals to make with black beans? We’ve got you! Black beans are a nutritious source of plant-based protein, and they’re seriously versatile. You can use them in anything from salads to bean burgers, from enchiladas to salsa to chili. Stock up your pantry with a few cans of black beans, and you’ll be eating for days!
Here’s a list of our top black bean recipes! These are our best tried and true favorites that have gone over well with family and friends. And if you’re in need of more inspiration, we’ve got 45 Bean Recipes to choose from: starring beans of all kinds.
First up in our black bean recipes: black beans and rice! This classic Latin-style side dish stars tender black beans, jumbled with rice and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro. It’s full of flavor and the perfect side to serve with side to serve with tacos! It also works as a lunch idea and saves well for eating throughout the week.
These refried black beans are one of the simplest recipes there is. In just 15 minutes you've got a creamy side dish full of garlicky cumin flavor! They bring in a hit of plant-based protein, which makes any meal more filling. Serve them as a side dish, or as part of our Refried Bean Tacos.
Here's another black beans and rice recipe: this time Cuban style! These black beans and saucy and rich, and taste just as good as restaurant-style. They're sauteed with a little butter, green pepper, onion and jalapeno into a creamy savory mess. Serve with rice for a simple dinner!
This black bean burger recipe is a crowd pleaser! It's made with sweet potatoes and oats, and then flavored with soy sauce and mirin to mimic a teriyaki flavor. For the topping a few sauteed shiitake mushrooms and sriracha mayo, which makes for a killer combination. Or go big and slather the whole thing in our Homemade Teriyaki Sauce!
Want to cook black beans from dried? One of the very best ways to do it is in an Instant Pot! Dried beans are so much quicker in a pressure cooker: you can cook them in about 1 hour, versus 3 hours and an overnight soak. It's a total game changer.
Black beans are the perfect protein-packed addition to “salsa fresca”, salsa that uses fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Use it for dipping tortilla chips, spooning into a burrito or quesadilla, or use it as a topping on tacos, baked potatoes, or grilled avocado.
This black bean salad is tangy and delicious, perfectly seasoned with cumin, garlic, and vinegar, and mixed with colored bell peppers, green onions and rice. It’s kid friendly and a great healthy lunch idea or dinner time side. It’s plant based, vegan and gluten free, so it works for a variety of diets! It can sit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days without losing flavor, so it’s great for making ahead and eating off of all week.
This mango black bean chili recipe is an unexpected spin on the standard! Chunks of fresh mango add a subtle sweetness, and there’s a hint of allspice for a bit of complexity. A squeeze of lime takes this vegetarian chili over the top. One of our reader said: “This chili got rave reviews! It’s freaking delicious, high in vitamins and protein, lower in carbs and sugar, and literally took me 30 minutes to make (plus simmering and cleanup)."
This black bean lettuce wraps recipe is outstanding. The combination of guacamole, spicy chipotle black beans, and mango salsa is an explosion of flavor and textures. For a vegetarian lettuce wrap, they’re surprisingly filling. And you can’t beat the health factor: they’re chock full of vegetables and accommodating for many diets.
This black bean tortilla soup recipe has the most savory, zesty broth flavor that you'd think had to simmer all day: but it takes only 30 minutes. The secret? A touch of canned adobo sauce, which brings nuanced flavor without the heat. Add to that bell peppers, black beans, corn and onion, and top it with crunchy tortilla strips.
These colorful Mexican sweet potatoes are the perfect blend of sweet and savory. The zesty black bean salsa is the perfect complement to the light sweetness of the potato. And topped with creamy cilantro sauce, it’s a little bit of heaven. It’s 100% plant based, too, and one of our very favorite black bean dinner recipes.
Here's another great black bean salsa recipe: this time with corn! It embodies everything that’s good about summer. Lightly roasted corn, black beans, garden cherry tomatoes, and a bit of lime and cumin. Perfect for dipping tortilla chips or throwing into tacos!
This black bean enchiladas recipe is a total crowd pleaser! They're one of our fan favorite vegetarian dinner recipes, with a hearty and savory filling of sweet potatoes and black beans. They're topped with green salsa verde and gooey cheese.
Delicata squash is an extraordinarily sweet squash that cooks quickly and is delicious stuffed. Here make it into a black bean recipe by stuffing it with rice, salsa, and black beans. Then, you'll paint on a chipotle glaze. You’re going to want to try this one ASAP!
Black beans are the perfect filling for quesadillas! These Loaded Veggie Quesadillas are chock full of veggies and flavor, including sweet potato, black beans, and cumin. If you’d like, make our Homemade Spinach Tortillas, a fun kitchen DIY project, or use store-bought for a shortcut.
Black bean recipes aren't just for Latin-style flavors: this dal makhani is full of them! Dal makhani means “buttery lentils": it's a traditional Indian dish made with black lentils, black beans, butter and cream. Using canned beans and lentils shortens the cook time for this flavorful vegetarian dish. It’s super savory and rich, featuring lots of garlic, ginger, and garam masala.
These tasty Mexican fries are wedges of sweet potato wedges loaded with black beans, salsa, and a vegan cumin lime crema made with tahini. The sweet potatoes and savory black beans compliment each other perfectly! Top with salty feta crumbles, or keep it vegan and go with chopped cilantro and a squirt of lime. It works as a snack or an easy plant based dinner!
This black bean tostada recipe is quick and tasty, featuring a grilled tortilla (instead of the traditional fried one). Top with black beans, roasted tomato salsa, and queso fresco crumbles: and slather it all in a zingy sour cream dressing made with cumin and lime zest.
Here's another black bean chili recipe, this one is as savory, hearty chili is full of good-for-you ingredients! It features a trio of protein-packed beans, quinoa, and loads of spices. If you'd like, add the optional flax seed for a boost of protein. And of course, the toppings are where it's at in chili. We like a dollop of sour cream (or cashew cream for dairy-free) and crunchy roasted pepitas.
Last up in our black bean recipes: Mexican lasagna! It's the perfect fusion when you're not sure whether you want Italian or Mexican food. The noodles are layered with black beans, corn, tomato sauce, and gooey cheese. Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy!
How to cook dried black beans
Is it better to use canned beans or dried beans? Can you use both in all of the recipes above. But the advantage to cooking dried beans at home is that they have a little firmer texture and enhanced flavor. We often use canned beans in our recipes since they’re so quick and easy. (Many brands that offer BPA free cans or cardboard cartons.)
The best way we’ve found to cook dried beans is in an Instant Pot! It cooks so fast: it only takes 1 hour. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can use our Dutch oven method: it’s also easy and faster than the traditional method.
If using canned beans, use a strainer to drain the black beans over a glass measuring cup, reserving the can liquid (no need to rinse).
In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Once melted, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and lightly browned. Add the beans, cumin, oregano, and kosher salt and stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes until warmed and fragrant, then stir in rice for 1 minute until heated through.
Remove from the heat and add the lime juice. Serve garnished with fresh cilantro.
Keywords: Black Beans Recipe, Black Beans and Rice
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.