15 Recipes That Put Black Beans In The Spotlight

Beans, beans, they're good for your heart; the more you eat, the more you ... we'll spare you the rest. The nutritional profile of these legumes, specifically black beans, is unmatched. Each serving provides lots of plant-based protein and fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals like folate, manganese, and iron. Further, black beans are a blank canvas to add your favorite flavors to; they pair well with warm spices like cumin and cayenne or crunchy veggies like peppers and onions. Many recipes also call for black beans as a binding agent thanks to their unique consistency — which makes them an integral food for vegan burger patties, meatballs, and other foods. 

If you're looking for a way to use up the surmounting cans of black beans in your pantry or seeking nutritious alternatives to meat, check out some of our favorite ways to cook with these powerful pulses. 

1. Cuban Black Beans

No Cuban fare is complete without a side of these black beans. The legumes are seasoned liberally with cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano and brought to life with a bit of lime juice and cilantro. The dish can be served garnished with chopped scallions or pickled onions or served over a grain like rice, freekeh, or farro. Who knew getting a healthy dose of fiber into our diets could be so tasty? 

Recipe: Cuban Black Beans

2. Spicy Black Bean Soup

On a cold winter day, we warm up with a bowl of this wholesome and nutritious spicy black bean soup. Each spoonful contains hunks of veggies like peppers, carrots, onion, and such bright Southwestern ingredients as canned chilis, red pepper flakes, lime juice, and cilantro. You can tweak this recipe to turn up or down the heat or top it with cooling elements like crumbled cotija cheese, a dollop of sour cream, or diced avocado chunks. 

Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Soup

3. Limey Black Bean Couscous Salad

The perfect summer salad to eat with soup, grilled chicken, or straight from the bowl couldn't be easier to make. It calls for pearl couscous, which has a squishier texture than other varieties of the pasta and can soak up all of the vinaigrette flavors. The salad itself is versatile and can include an array of colorful peppers, corn, and herbs. It will also keep in an airtight container in your fridge for a few days, which means you'll have a midday pick-me-up ready to go. 

Recipe: Limey Black Bean Couscous Salad

4. Spicy Black Bean Dip

This dip will do anything but weigh you down. Just put your ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy and thick; there's no cooking required. You can also add more or less seasoning to get the perfect amount of spice for your palate. It's an excellent choice for serving with your favorite tortilla chips or sliced veggies, schmearing it onto your favorite sandwich, or scooping it into a ramekin and placing it on your charcuterie board. 

Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Dip

5. Hearty Black Bean Burger

This burger makes an excellent choice for folks looking to eat less meat or add more fiber to their diets. Each vegetarian patty is seasoned with veggies and bound together with crumbled black beans, rolled oats, and an egg. Once you've combined ingredients in a food processor and then shaped the patties, pop them in the fridge for a little bit to ensure that the burgers stay together in the pan.

Serve your black bean burgers with a toasted bun and your favorite condiments. We recommend a side of potato wedges or salad to round out the whole meal. 

Recipe: Hearty Black Bean Burger

6. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

A plate of meatless fajitas gets boring sometimes, so we turn to inventive recipes like these sweet potato and black bean tacos. Serve the seasoned, baked sweet potato filling with fresh black bean salsa, creamy avocado mash, and lime wedges for a filling and flavorful dinner. We recommend complementing your tacos with iced tea or a cold beer, or grab the tequila and make yourself a margarita — you deserve it. 

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

7. Spooky Spicy Graveyard Bean Dip

Dips are essential for Halloween parties because you can snack on them as the evening goes on. The base of this dip consists of layers of pureéd pinto and black beans and topped off with black bean chip tombstones, cherry tomato pumpkins, and sprinkles of cotija cheese. It's more exciting than a boring bowl of salsa or queso, and it will surely fill up any hungry bellies at your gathering. 

Recipe: Spooky Spicy Graveyard Bean Dip

8. Beef in Black Bean Sauce

We're always looking for ways to whip up takeout-level fare on a stay-at-home budget. This dish features many staple Chinese ingredients you can pick up at your local ethnic food market, including Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, and fermented black beans. These beans are not the same as those you'd get from the Mexican grocery store aisle; they have a saltier and more bitter flavor. This dish can also be made with chicken or pork, and amped up with chilis. 

Recipe: Beef in Black Bean Sauce

9. Baked Black Bean Flautas

Flautas often come fried, but this wholesome baked recipe with a black bean filling tastes just as delicious. Each tortilla is stuffed with seasoned beans and cheese before being baked and topped with a garnish of homemade guacamole, tomatoes, and cilantro. It's super easy to prepare a large tray of these flautas to feed the whole family, and you can also customize them to include more seasoning or make them vegan by swapping in plant-based cheese (or omitting it entirely). 

Recipe: Baked Black Bean Flautas

10. Jalapeño-Lime Three Bean Salad

Every party needs a light side dish like a bean salad. This version, made with black, red kidney, and garbanzo beans, is full of plant-based fiber and protein. The rest of the salad is bulked up with fresh veggies like chopped cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, and the star of the show: the jalapeño. Although this recipe only uses one of them, you can always add more spice with another one or add some more warming spices to your dressing. 

Recipe: Jalapeño-Lime Three Bean Salad

11. Vegetarian Black Bean and Corn Chimichangas

You can skip the line at Taco Bell with these vegetarian chimichangas. Instead of the traditional meat filling, these fried wraps contain black beans, crunchy produce, and brown rice. These wraps are best served hot topped with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and a drizzle of lime. You can also pop them in the air fryer or the oven when you want to reheat them; just avoid the microwave because it will make them soggy.

Recipe: Vegetarian Black Bean and Corn Chimichangas

12. Vegan Beet and Black Bean Meatballs

You won't miss your grandmother's meatballs after trying these plant-based ones made with a colorful base of black beans and beetroot. You can shape these meatballs ahead of time and freeze them or cook them on the spot for a spaghetti dinner you won't forget. Besides Italian fare, these meatballs can also be served in a grain bowl with farro or couscous or atop a salad with freshly sliced veggies. 

Recipe: Vegan Beet and Black Bean "Meatballs"

13. Pumpkin Queso and Black Bean Nachos

Fall brings with it pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spiced lattes, and pumpkin ... queso? This recipe uses canned pumpkin pureé, which gives the queso its distinctive orange color and sweet flavor. After the queso has been cooked, you can assemble your nachos with layers of seasoned black beans, guacamole, and chopped jalapeños. You can also add a meaty, crumbled chorizo or cheddar cheese to your autumnal nachos. 

Recipe: Pumpkin Queso and Black Bean Nachos

14. Taco Salad

Taco salad was made for the people who decided they were too cool for a burrito bowl but still wanted an edible shell anyway. This dish includes a fried tortilla, homemade crema, seasoned black beans, skirt steak, and almost every taco topping you could ever want. Each bite of this dish is filled with creamy avocado, crunchy lettuce, and salty cotija, making it perfect for anyone obsessed with Tex-Mex cuisine. And the best part? You won't have to go into a grimy food court to get your hands on one.

Recipe: Taco Salad

15. Veggie Guacamole Burger

Veggie burgers and creamy guacamole ... a match made in heaven. This plant-based patty includes the diverse textures of quinoa, sweet potato, and black beans. We also love that there are predominant notes of warm spices like cumin and coriander that pop through and play so well with the homemade chipotle aioli. Serve your burger on a soft roll with tortilla chips, lettuce, and sliced tomato pieces layered in between, and feel your tastebuds be amazed. 

Recipe: Veggie Guacamole Burger