When it comes to plant-based meals, canned black beans are a must-have pantry staple. Not only are they an amazing source of plant protein, but they’re inexpensive and tasty too!
What’s more, canned black beans last a long time in the pantry, so it’s definitely worth keeping a stash for those busy weekday nights.
And while you can eat canned black beans on their own, they can be pretty bland and boring. Luckily, with other kitchen staples like onion, garlic, and spices, you can elevate basic beans into a delicious dish.
Key Ingredients for Better Canned Black Beans
- 15-ounce can black beans: I recommend a can of high-quality organic black beans, like Eden or Westbrae. If possible, use low-sodium or no-salt canned black beans. This will allow you to control salt content of your final dish. And don’t drain the liquid from the can as it offers a lot of flavor.
- Yellow onion, tomato, and bell pepper: These vegetables add a lot of flavor, but feel free to omit them if you want to make something simpler. For an extra kick, add some diced Jalapeño.
- Garlic, oregano, salt, black pepper, paprika: a delicious combination of mild spices that will really bring your canned black beans to life.
- Fresh lime juice: the lime juice is optional, but it can elevate your canned black beans. This is especially tasty if you’re making a Mexican-inspired meal.
- Cilantro or other herbs: cilantro also works well for Mexican-inspired flavors, and with its distinctive citrus notes it goes well with the lime juice. Parsley can also really bring out the flavor and looks very similar as a garnish. Learn more about cilantro vs. parsley.
- Oil of choice: I typically use olive oil, but other options include store-bought vegan butter, canola oil, avocado oil, or even coconut oil.
How to Cook Canned Black Beans
In a medium saucepan or pot over medium heat, warm the oil or butter. You’ll need about one tablespoon.
Add the onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the beans, including the liquid. Add the spices and mix well. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through.
If you prefer more soupy beans, you can also add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth. This is ideal if you’re serving the beans with rice or as a side. Otherwise, you can leave the beans as is.
Just before removing the beans from the stovetop, add the lime juice, if using. Give it a taste and add more seasoning, if needed. Want a little heat? Stir in a bit of your favorite hot sauce, too.
Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.
As far as seasonings go, you can get really creative. Cumin, coriander, bay leaves, and cayenne pepper all work well with black beans.
If you’re making beans for tacos or burritos, you can even use a packet of taco seasoning for one can of beans. Again, just be sure to use low-sodium taco seasoning, and omit the additional salt in the recipe.
Can’t get enough of bean recipes? Here are a few of our favorites at Clean Green Simple:
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
- High-Protein Vegan Breakfast Burrito
- White Bean Dip and Homemade Pita Chips
- Zesty Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa
- BBQ Baked Beans
- Vegan Refried Beans
Better Canned Black Beans
- 15 ounces canned black beans undrained
- ½ medium yello onion diced
- ½ medium tomato diced
- ½ medium bell pepper deseeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil or vegan butter
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
- fresh cilantro or parsley
- In a medium saucepan or pot over medium heat, warm the oil or butter.
- Add the onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the beans, including the liquid. Add the spices and mix well. If you prefer more soupy beans, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth. This is ideal if you’re serving the beans with rice or as a side. Otherwise, you can leave the beans as is.
- Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through. Add the lime juice, stir well, and taste test. Add more seasonings as necessary, then serve.
- If possible, use low-sodium or salt-free canned black beans.
- Nutrition information for this canned black beans recipe is a rough estimate automatically calculated by the Spoonacular food database.