How to Cook Canned Black Beans

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Learn how to turn this pantry staple into a delicious plant-based dish. With ingredients like onion, garlic, and paprika, you can make canned black beans and taste much better than straight from the can.

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.

Black beans in a bowl with onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, garnished with cilantro.

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.
ingredients for making canned black beans taste better
oto: Kirsten Nunez

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.

Sautéing onions, tomatoes, and green peppers in a pan
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

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.

Pour the Black Beans into the pan
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.

canned Black Beans prepared much better!
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

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:

How to Cook Canned Black Beans

Better Canned Black Beans

Learn how to turn this pantry staple into a delicious plant-based dish. With ingredients like onion, garlic, and paprika, you can make canned black beans and taste much better than straight from the can.
Click stars below to rate, or leave a full review in the comments
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate it Now Pin Recipe
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: canned black beans, how to cook black beans
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Calories: 191kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces canned black beans undrained
  • 1/2 medium yello onion diced
  • 1/2 medium tomato diced
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper deseeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil or vegan butter
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • fresh cilantro or parsley

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 935mg | Potassium: 554mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 792IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!

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