Here's a quick easy Cuban Black Beans recipe using canned black beans, aromatic vegetables and smokey bacon. For when you want delicious black beans fast!
Cuban Black Beans (Frijoles negros) are central to Cuban cuisine, served as a side dish with almost every meal and as a main course, scooped onto steaming rice with toppings like sliced avocado and lime wedges.
Black beans from scratch are great, but the fact is many of us don't always have time for an overnight soak and hours of cooking. When you want your black beans fast this recipe will give you delicious Cuban black beans in 35 minutes.
I was back home in Boston recently, where my slow cooker lives. I've been missing it in London and couldn't wait to pull it out for slow cooker ropa vieja (Cuban shredded beef stew).
The combo of being back in my home kitchen and having a delicious meaty stew simmering away that needed a side of black beans, inspired me to do some recipe testing.
I developed this quick Cuban black beans recipe using canned beans instead of dried and I have to say it is muy delicioso - rich and creamy, infused with flavors of cumin, garlic and smoky bacon. It's the perfect side dish with Ropa Vieja. Also delicious the next day as a main dish, scooped onto rice and topped with sliced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
How to make quick and easy Cuban black beans
Canned black beans is the main ingredient in this easy recipe.
A key component of authentic Cuban black beans is the sofrito which consists of onions, garlic and green or red bell pepper. These aromatic vegetables are used in this easy recipe - sautéed to create the flavor base for the beans. Pork is a popular ingredient in Cuban cuisine. A small amount of bacon adds a wonderful smokiness to this dish. Vegetarians can substitute vegetarian bacon. It's amazing how much flavor is created by sautéing aromatic vegetables and a little bacon!
- Start by sautéing the bacon in a bit of olive oil.
- Once the bacon is nicely browned in spots and has rendered some fat, add the aromatic vegetables: red bell pepper, onion and garlic. When the sofrito has cooked for a few minutes add the first can of beans to the pot and smash them with the back of a fork. This will give the beans a creamy texture.
- Add the rest of the canned beans with their liquid, along with vinegar and spices. Cumin and oregano are predominant spices in traditional Cuban black beans. I love cumin and I wanted its flavor to dominate so I decided not to include oregano in this recipe. If you're a big fan of oregano, feel free to add a teaspoon. I'm sure it will be delicious.
- After 15 minutes of simmering, the Cuban Black Beans are ready to enjoy.
How nutritious are black beans?
Black beans are extremely healthy. They're a good source of protein and a rich source of soluble fiber, the kind that lowers cholesterol. They also provide a good amount of calcium, iron, folic acid, and potassium.
Are canned black beans as healthy as dried?
If you're wondering about the relative health benefits of canned vs dried beans, here's the scoop: they're about the same except that some brands add lots of salt to the can. You can reduce the amount of salt by draining and rinsing the beans but then you lose other nutrients as well as salt. So if you're concerned about too much salt I suggest you look for low salt or salt free black beans.
Wondering what to serve with Cuban Black Beans?
Black beans and rice is a classic combo in Latin America and beyond, and makes a tasty, affordable, nutritious meal. Jazz it up with garnishes such as sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
If you're making these Cuban black beans as a side dish, here are a few delicious main dishes that pair well:
- Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja: Cuban Shredded Beef Stew with Peppers and Tomatoes
- Cuban Picadillo: Ground Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Olives
- Chicken Enchiladas Verdes with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
You might also like:
- Spicy Black Bean Soup from Scratch
- Gallo Pinto: Costa Rican Rice and Beans Breakfast
- Slow Cooker Brazilian Feijoada: Meat and Black Bean Stew
- Red Beans and Rice, New Orleans Style
Here's the Quick Easy Cuban Black Beans Recipe. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!
This recipe first appeared on Panning The Globe March 11, 2018. The post was updated on September 25, 2020 with clarifying details in the written post. Same delicious recipe!