3 Ways to Use Black Beans

3 Ways to Use Black Beans

If you need some new ways to use beans, our simple black bean meals may be just the thing. We’ll show you how to use canned black beans in whole new ways — and with just a few ingredients!

  • By Leila Kalmbach
  • April 17, 2020

Black beans are a tasty source of vegetarian protein that can be used in a variety of ways in completely different dishes. If you’re still eating black beans as a side dish on their own, now’s the time to experiment with some fun new uses — and no need to get complicated either!

Here are our three favorite three-ingredient ways to use black beans. Of course, if you have the time and energy, these dishes can be vastly improved by adding some spices and additional ingredients. But if you’re just looking for the fastest, easiest way to turn that can of beans into a meal, we’ve got you. Read on!

1. Black Beans + Diced Tomatoes + Cheese = Vegetarian Chili

If you’re a chili fan, chances are you have a strong opinion in the Great Chili Debate — namely, whether chili can or should absolutely never contain beans. But when it comes to vegetarian chili, the debate’s been settled: It’s almost impossible to make a veggie chili without beans. (And why would you want to?)

So put down your sparring gloves and come over to the dark side — dark as in black beans dark. A drained can of black beans mixed with a can of diced tomatoes and topped with some cheddar cheese may be the easiest chili you’ll ever make. For seasonings, add in some chili powder (of course) and / or a can of diced green chilis, plus garlic, cumin, and paprika. We like to start it out with some sautéed onion, and for extra flavor you can throw in some carrot and bell pepper at the same time. Serve it with sliced avocado on top and tortilla chips for dipping — or with a side of fresh-baked cornbread, if that’s more your style. 

2. Black Beans + Rice + Tortilla = Burrito

Black beans and rice can be a meal on their own, but throw a large tortilla into the mix and you’ve got a burrito. This easy lunch is filling and satisfying, not to mention endlessly customizable to what you have in the fridge. 

Drain the beans well to avoid getting the tortilla soggy. We like to sauté onions along with bell peppers and some chopped jalapeño, then add the beans to warm through once the other veggies are cooked. Some other options for layering into a burrito include: 

  • Corn
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Scrambled eggs (for a breakfast burrito)
  • Green onion
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

Warm the tortilla in a skillet before adding your fillings. Fold the tortilla in half over the other ingredients, fold up the ends to hold the filling in, and roll the burrito tightly. 

3. Black Beans + Quinoa + Sweet Potatoes = Veggie Patty

Add a can of drained and rinsed black beans to some quinoa and roasted sweet potatoes, and you have the world’s easiest veggie patty! This meal is an ideal way to use up leftovers, but you can also bake a sweet potato just for this occasion — or even easier, throw it in the microwave for 8 to 12 minutes wrapped in a damp paper towel (be sure to cut some slits in the skin so it doesn’t explode!). 

You’ll use one can of black beans to about a cup of quinoa and one medium sweet potato, but the great thing about this recipe is that the proportions aren’t super important. Use what you have, and it’ll come out great! Mash together the three main ingredients (you can also use a food processor or electric mixer if you prefer a more even texture), then add seasonings and other flavorful ingredients of your choice. Some good options include:

  • Diced red onion
  • Green onion
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne
  • Garlic or garlic salt
  • And of course, salt and pepper to taste

Form into patties. To cook, heat a skillet to medium. Cook in a small amount of oil for around four minutes per side, or until they’re golden brown on the outside. For an added crunch, you can also coat the patties in cooked quinoa before pan-frying. 


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3 Ways to Use Black Beans | Cook Smarts3 Ways to Use Black Beans | Cook Smarts3 Ways to Use Black Beans | Cook Smarts

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