20 Cheap, Delicious, and Healthy Black Bean Recipes


Black beans are my favorite food. They’re cheap and can be used for a variety of dishes, but more importantly? They’re nutritious. They provide special support for the digestive tract (even better than lentils or chickpeas). In fact, lowered cancer risk is associated with black bean intake. They also can regulate blood sugar and improve cardiovascular health. It probably helps that the beans are usually paired with corn or spinach, as you’ll see in many of the recipes below, but black beans alone are very good for you! (See also: Make-Ahead Food: 10 Things to Cook on a Sunday)

As for canned versus dry? I usually go straight for the cans of black beans because I’m lazy and don’t like waiting 14 hours to eat, but if you’d like to make them the old fashioned way, this recipe for black beans from scratch works well. And of course, you can always cook them in a crockpot. Some people believe that made-from-scratch is better than canned, while others believe they lack flavor. It’s really up to you.

I’ve put together 20 recipes that show the versatility of black beans (OK, they are used a lot in typical Latin dishes and dips, but still). You’ll notice that cumin is your best friend for most of these recipes.

1. Chicken Tortilla Soup

One of the best soups ever, this tortilla soup is not for the faint of heart. Make sure you have lots of sour cream to go with your ancho chiles. Or at least milk.

2. Taco Pie

I grew up eating taco pie (which is basically meat on bottom, cornbread on top), but never with black beans. Once I found this taco pie recipe, I was hooked. It’s quick and lasts for a quite a few leftover lunches. Adding jalapenos to the cornbread crust makes for a nice, spicy addition.

3. Burgers

Black bean burgers are the best. I don’t always eat veggie burgers, but if I know they have black beans, I usually prefer them over beef. This recipe is a flavorful choice, including garlic and onion in the patty.

4. Quinoa Taco Salad

Oh, quinoa. The grain that I sometimes completely screw up although it’s a cinch to make (please don’t judge me!). This yummy taco salad includes peppers, spinach, feta cheese, avocados, diced tomatoes, and every spice you have in your pantry.

5. Sweet Potato Chili

As with most of the other recipes here, this black bean and sweet potato chili includes cumin as well chili powder, crushed tomatoes, peppers, salsa. The kicker here is the sweet potato, adding a, well, sweet flavor and some beta-carotene to the mix.

6. Salsa

Using all the basic ingredients of salsa, but subbing tomatoes with corn and black beans, this black bean salsa is sure to be a hit at any party or on top of some fresh tacos.

7. Dip

Using some black beans in a food processor and grated carrots, lime juice, green onions, cilantro, and garlic, this lime-spiked black bean dip is sure to turn some heads. The only letdown is you have to wait 30 minutes before serving. If you can last that long.

8. Jamaican Jerk Salmon With Mango Pineapple Salsa

The omega-3 packed salmon is perfect with Jamaican jerk seasoning for some spice and topped with a mango pineapple and black bean salsa for some sweet.

9. Chicken Enchiladas in Sour Cream Sauce

Enchiladas are a seemingly obvious choice for black beans, but the selling point here is the "sour cream sauce." (Unless you hate sour cream, then it wouldn’t be.) I personally love it, so adding butter, flour, and chicken broth sounds delicious to me. So forgo the typical enchilada sauce just once, and try this one out!

10. Refried Black Beans

Pinto beans are usually the go-to refried option, but black beans can carry more of a punch. You can opt to use dry beans or beans in a can, and with a little oomph and some time, you come out with perfect homemade refried black beans!

11. Vegan Gluten-Free Brownies

Yes, who would have thought any of those words could go together, let alone be associated with black beans? But I can attest to the yummy-ness of these black bean brownies. The most expensive part of this recipe is probably the coconut oil, but as the recipe says, this can be replaced with another oil. If you don’t particularly care if the brownies are vegan or gluten-free, but still want to use black beans, you can also try this recipe.

12. Pizza

Just so everyone is aware — I will eat anything on a pizza. I’m basically a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. So when I found this recipe for a corn and black bean pizza, I was sold. Using those two staples and some barbeque sauce, and now there’s another pizza on my list to try.

13. Croquettes

I mean, can you really go wrong with croquettes? These black bean croquettes can easily be slapped together with some typical ingredients — corn, cumin, breadcrumbs, chili powder — and baked (much healthier than fried!). Serve with salsa and a salad, and you’ve got a meal.

14. Lasagna

Good news: the pantry staple can be used for Italian food too. Add some traditional lasagna ingredients like ricotta cheese and spinach, with some spicier ingredients like black beans, cumin, cilantro, and pepper jack cheese, and you walk to the table with a new twist on an old classic.

15. Quesadillas With Goat Cheese

The particular quesadillas recipe has three of my favorite foods in it: goat cheese, black beans, and red peppers. It seems boring and perhaps obvious, but combine the three between two layers of corn tortillas and boom — taste explosion.

16. Chicken or Sardine Sandwich

The mixture of ingredients on this sandwich makes it stand out. Start with the basics: avocado, black beans, tomato, lettuce, and chicken or sardines; and then add chipotle chile and vinegar, and you’ll have a sandwich that is unbelievably tasty.

17. Zucchini and Rice Skillet

This super easy and reasonably priced recipe is perfect for a quick meal using ingredients from your pantry (or leftover veggies or cheese). Simply dice it up, fry it up, and eat it up.

18. El Pollo Loco BBQ Black Beans

This “top secret” recipe isn’t a meal, but it could certainly fill you up when combined with tacos, burritos or barbeque. This gives you the perfect chance to go a little crazy, especially if you don’t have an El Pollo Loco nearby.

19. Hummus

Hummus with black beans is one of my all time favorites. The main hummus ingredients are still there — tahini, garlic, and olive oil; basically, you’re just substituting chickpeas for black beans. Add some Sriracha (my how I love thee) and go!

20. Edamame

Edamame shouldn’t always just be covered in salt. Throw some ginger, garlic, shallots, mirin, soy, sesame oil, and chili sauce together with some orange peel and black beans, and you’ve got a scrumptious covering for some black bean orange peel edamame.

What is your favorite black bean recipe?

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Guest's picture

Wow. What an array of recipes. I was absolutely shocked by some and pinned one or two to make later. Thanks for sharing!

Guest's picture

Yum! Awesome recipes. Will definitely try these this week and for the next.

Guest's picture

Yum these sound great. You should try black bean and avocado dip. It's black beans, corn, fresh avocados, tomatoes, cilantro a bit of olive oil and lime juice to add some flavor. Absolutely delicious.

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