Spicy Black Beans

This recipe was particularly exciting for me because A) I love black beans B) I’ve never made my own C) I hadn’t had black beans in a really long time. The dish is semi-spicy but can be adjusted if you like less or more. If you like less, remove the seed and the inner guts of the Serrano pepper and cut down on the chile powders.

This is a great as a side dish or as filler in a quesadilla or taco.


  • 2 c. dried black beans
  • 5 c. water
  • 2 to 3 fresh sprigs oregano
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 Serrano peppers, chopped
  • 6 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 T. New Mexico red chili powder
  • 2 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 1 T. cumin
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Discard any stones or shriveled beans. Soak the beans overnight in cold water (cover with several inches of water as the beans will absorb the water).  Soaking speeds up the cooking process.
  2. When you’re ready to begin cooking, drain the water from the beans and discard the water. Rinse the beans again and drain.
  3. Add beans to a pot with 5 cups of water. Add oregano, bay leaves, and sage. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are soft, but not quite done, approximately 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. While the beans are cooking, sauté onions and peppers in olive oil until soft. Add chili powders, cumin, and garlic. Sauté until spices are fragrant.
  5. Remove and discard the herb leaves from the pot of beans. Remove, but reserve, extra cooking liquid until there is about 1/2-inch of liquid above beans.
  6. Add the pepper and onion mixture and salt to the pot of beans. Cook another hour or so until thickened. Add reserved liquid if needed.
  7. Simmer. Adjust chili heat or salt at this point – you may or may not want to add more.
  8. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
  9. Serve with corn tortillas, rice, sour cream, and salsa.
* Serves 4 *

You could probably soak your beans for a few hours during the day. I soaked mine at least 12 hours and found that they absorbed mega amounts of water, even though I covered the beans in plenty of water before soaking. I had to add water three times!

I found that there was no extra juice to use as ‘reserve’ juice. The beans continued to absorb the water and turned out the perfect amount of thickness.

These beans were so yummy I couldn’t stop ‘tasting’ while they simmered on the stove. Word of warning: these beans have more heat the following day!

Recipe rating: 

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