This easy black bean recipe is delicious and perfect for busy days. It's one of those great easy dinners that take 15 minutes to make, and you can make 7 (or more) variations on meals from it.
It’s also a favorite reheated with rice and packed in a thermos (along with some cheese and avocado on the side) to take to school or to have as a hearty after-school snack.
Why You'll Love This Simple Black Bean Recipe
- The recipe comes together in just 15 minutes, and it's very versatile.
- It makes a great main dish or a simple black bean side dish.
- It's a great black beans recipe for toddlers and great for picky eaters because you can serve the beans next to the rice. If beans are a food your child doesn’t eat, just keep offering. It can take MANY tries for a child to accept a new food.
- The perfect afternoon snack. As kids get older they often need a second lunch after school and this is an easy one to reheat on their own.
- Reheats well for a thermos lunch the next day and weekend lunches. This one is back in my "go-to meals" rotation on a regular basis. Especially for lunches and snacks served over rice with grated cheese, avocado, and sour cream I often make a double batch of it along with some rice over the weekend so there's plenty for the week.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Canned black beans: I don’t stick to one brand of canned beans. Any will do. If you’d like to use cooked, dried black beans I recommend cooking them in an Instant Pot if you have one. Use the manufacturer's directions for cooking dried beans.
Canned diced tomatoes: As with the black beans, any brand will do here. You can also use fresh tomatoes if you prefer. 2-3 diced Roma tomatoes will be enough.
Canned sweet corn: I sound like a broken record. Any brand is fine. I sometimes used frozen, fresh corn. Thaw the corn in the microwave while you saute the garlic and onion. Here’s the process for freezing fresh corn.
Canned green chilis are a versatile pantry staple that adds flavor and kick. Don’t love green chilies? You can omit them from this recipe. I often leave them out because my kids don’t like them.
Fresh garlic: You can also use pre-chopped store-bought garlic if you’d rather not deal with peeling and chopping it. If you don’t have either, you can use ⅛th teaspoon of garlic powder.
Coriander: Use dried coriander here to add a hint of lemony flavor to the beans.
Red wine vinegar: Ah vinegar! I love adding a splash of vinegar to dishes like this one, and soups, stews, etc. to add a bit of brightness. I use red wine vinegar here, but you could also use white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.
Salt: For all my recipes (except desserts and other baked goods) I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. If you use table salt, use half the salt in the recipe.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Add about ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika along with the cumin.
- Add lime juice in place of the red wine vinegar.
- Add chopped fresh cilantro at the end.
- Use fresh corn, cut off the cob, and/or fresh chopped tomatoes.
- Make this a salsa instead of cooking it. Omit the water, add the juice and zest of 1 (maybe 2) lime, and chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips or on top of grilled chicken.
- Use cooked, dried beans. Try cooking them in your Instant Pot with about 1 Tablespoon of Red Diamond Kosher salt and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally. Once the pressure has released, the beans should be done.
Ingredients for Serving
Cooked white rice or brown rice: If you only have 15 minutes to get dinner on the table, use precooked frozen or one of the shelf-stable cooked packets of rice found in grocery stores. If you have more time, you can make coconut rice or cilantro-lime rice, or keep the rice plain. (Recipes coming). My favorite brand of rice is Lundberg Rice, but any rice will do.
Ripe avocado: Diced avocado lends a nice creamy element to the beans and rice (or to the burrito if that’s what you decide to make).
Grated Cheese: Any cheese you like will do here. I keep grated cheddar on hand so that’s what I use. Mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Provolone would also work well. And of course, you don’t have to use cheese if you’d rather not.
Sour cream: Sour cream adds a nice cool, creamy tanginess to the beans and rice.
Lime wedges: A squeeze of lime juice over your bean and rice bowl, or over whichever version you choose to make.
Salsa: I typically use jarred salsa, but you can make or buy fresh salsa if you prefer.
Step by Step
Step 1. Add the garlic and olive oil to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat. for 2-3 minutes. Adding the garlic to the olive oil before you heat the oil allows the garlic to flavor the olive oil.
Step 2. Open all the cans. Drain the black beans and corn and add them to the pan. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juice, the water, green chilies, coriander, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- This is one of those versatile recipes that will simplify your life! Let me know if you make it and discover new ways to serve it.
- Rice and black bean bowl with cheese, avocado, and sour cream.
- Think of this as a black bean burrito recipe to use as a tasty filling for vegetarian burritos. Use white or whole wheat flour tortillas.
- Top a baked potato with the black bean mixture, grated cheese, and sour cream
- Serve the black beans over roasted, boneless chicken thighs or with lime yogurt-marinated chicken and rice.
- Top nachos with grated cheese, black beans, guacamole, and sour cream.
- Spoon black beans over roasted salmon (or scallops or shrimp) with farro or rice.
- Top scrambled (or fried) eggs on a warm corn tortilla with black beans, cheese, and avocado.
Expert Tips to Serve Black Beans to Kids
- Try to avoid falling into the trap of not making food because your child (or children) doesn’t like it. Make foods you want them to learn to eat. If your child doesn’t like beans, or corn, tomatoes, or all 3, that’s ok. Most kids do like rice. They can make do with rice and a glass of milk for dinner. Seeing a food they don’t eat is exposure. And as hard as it can be, remember to avoid pressuring your child to eat foods they don't like or are unfamiliar with.
- Or serve it in a medium bowl and allow kids to serve it to themselves (even if they're a toddler). You're maintaining structure by offering the food and then allowing your child to decide if they serve themselves some of it. Serving the black beans separately from the rice is a great way for selective eaters to approach the food in a way that may feel less pressured.
- Before you go to the grocery store, check your pantry to make sure you have the ingredients for this recipe on hand for nights you need a quick meal that takes little effort.
- To make meal prep easier, make a double batch so you can use this in a number of different ways throughout the week.
- Make a big batch of rice and use the leftover rice for a truly 15-minute meal.
Yes, canned beans are. The beans are picked, washed, blanched, and then cooked in cans with water and salt. Both canned and dried beans are packed with protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates along with vitamins and minerals.
If you’re concerned about the salt content, drain and rinse the beans before using them.
Drain canned beans when the recipe calls for it. But you can also use the liquid in the cans! It’s essentially flavorful bean broth.
Once it cools, store it in an airtight container or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
More Easy Recipes for Black Beans
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Easy Black Bean Recipe
- Can opener
- Sauce pan
- Cutting board
- 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic chopped
- 2 - 15 oz cans of black beans, darined
- 1 - 15 oz can of corn,drained
- 1 - 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
- ¾ of a 4 ½ ounce can of chopped green chiles**
- ¼-1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Splash of red wine vinegar about 1 teaspoon
- Cooked rice
- Grated cheese
- Sour cream
- Ripe avocado
- Lime wedges
- Peel and chop the garlic. Add the garlic and olive oil to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Open all the cans. Drain the black beans and corn and add them to the pan.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and their juice, the water, green chilies (if you're using them), coriander, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Then turn heat down to medium low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Serve over rice or one of the 6 other suggested ways to serve these beans.