11 Black Bean Recipes – And Their Incredible Health Benefits

Black beans are a great addition to your diet, and these recipes prove just how tasty they can be


(updated )

9 Minutes Read

Photo shows a close-up of a burrito bowl recipe created by the Herbivore's Kitchen that includes black beans and sweet potato Have you tried these vegan black bean recipes? - Media Credit: The Herbivore's Kitchen

Black beans are small, dark, shiny legumes humans have eaten for at least 8,000 years. They’re nutritious, sustainable, and widely celebrated for both their versatility and wide availability.

Read more: 20 High Protein Vegan Dinner Ideas

Black beans, or frijol negro – most commonly referring to the black turtle bean – can be found in cultures and meals around the world, but are particularly prevalent in Native American, Latin American, Cajun, and Creole cuisines.

The 11 black bean recipes listed below include a mixture of flavors and draw on a wide variety of different cooking styles, but each features bold flavors and a unique take on the mighty black bean. But first, let’s explore some of the many benefits of eating more black beans.

The health benefits of eating black beans

Photo shows a wooden bowl of thick black bean stew or soup, decorated with red onion, corander, and avocado
Adobe Stock Because black beans are nutrient-dense, they have been linked with a variety of potential health benefits when consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet

Dr Michael McKinney, a nutritionist and primary physician based in Jacksonville, Florida, tells Plant Based News (PBN) that black beans are “versatile, healthy, and are an amazing source of proteins.”

“They have a high protein content, offering about 15 grams per cooked cup, which is significant for muscle repair and growth,” continues McKinney. “Besides, they have high amounts of dietary fiber at around 15 grams per cup; this supports digestion and brings about a sense of satiety.”

According to Medical News Today, black beans may also help support healthy bones, lower blood pressure, manage diabetes, aid healthy digestion, and decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer due to their low caloric, high fiber, and nutrient-dense content.

Healthline reports that a single cup of boiled, unsalted black beans contains around 15g of protein, 41g of carbohydrates, and 15g of fiber, with just 1g of fat and 227 calories.

The same amount contains 64 percent of the recommended daily value (DV) for folate, 40 percent of copper, 35 percent of thiamine, 33 percent of manganese, 20 percent of iron, 19 percent of phosphorous, and 13 percent of potassium, along with B6, calcium, and selenium.

Read more: Is Vegan Food Really Worse For You Than Meat?

Black beans can support ‘ideal health’ as part of a balanced diet

McKinney notes that black beans also contain antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols, which can curb the oxidative stress that can cause chronic ailments. He says this high antioxidant content distinguishes the black bean from other legumes, while its nutrient density – free from preservatives and sodium – compares favorably to plant-based meats.

However, like many other legumes, black beans also contain certain compounds known as “antinutrients” which can impair digestion and limit the effective absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. In this case, these are lectins, protease inhibitors, tannins, and phytic acid.

McKinney also notes that consuming the many oligosaccharides in beans can cause some people to experience gas or bloating. However, the negative effects of both oligosaccharides and antinutrients can be reduced by soaking the beans well, and ensuring they are cooked and drained thoroughly before eating.

McKinney says that pairing legumes with a grain improves the overall amino acid composition of a meal, and also suggests eating vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits and bell peppers alongside black beans can help boost the body’s iron absorption.

“Although the misconception that rice needs to be combined with beans for the absorption of complete proteins has long since been disregarded, preparing black beans along with rice or any other type of grain can still supply a nutritionally balanced meal,” explains McKinney. “[The] black bean is a major ingredient for ideal health if appropriately coupled with complementary foods.”

Read more: 17 Protein-Packed Vegan Bean Recipes

11 irresistible black bean recipes

In addition to their myriad health benefits, black beans are also relatively inexpensive and widely available, whether in their tinned or dried formats. They’re also fairly simple to prepare, and are extremely versatile, meaning they can be added to all kinds of different dishes including salads, burgers, stews, and quesadillas, like in the dishes below.

These 11 recipes vary in simplicity and prep time, but each one emphasizes the black bean with delicious and nutritious results.

Coconut and black bean stew

A coconut black bean stew made to a plant-based recipe
Jenné Claiborne/Sweet Potato Soul This black bean stew is hearty and warming

Jenné Claiborne of Sweet Potato Soul created this recipe, which she describes as “highly nutritious, packed full of flavor, and relatively easy to make.” It also combines black beans with sweet potato and includes fresh lime and bell pepper, which aids iron absorption.

Find the recipe here.

Crispy sweet potato burrito bowl

Photo shows a close-up of a burrito bowl recipe created by the Herbivore's Kitchen that includes black beans and sweet potato
The Herbivore's Kitchen Combining black beans with sweet potatoes (which are high in vitamin C) helps the body absorb iron

This burrito bowl from Kate Friedman, founder and recipe developer at the Herbivore’s Kitchen, pairs black beans with rice, sweet potato, vegetables, and salad for a nutritious and flavorsome meal. It takes just 30 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook.

Find the recipe here.

Smoky sweet potato salad with black beans

smoky sweet potato salad with black beans, bell pepper, lime, maple syrup, and spices
Dreena Burton This salad makes for a nutritious side dish or main

Dreena Burton, the author of Let Them Eat Vegan, suggests layering this smoky sweet potato and black bean salad with avocado and serving it with tortillas, pitas, or lettuce leaves.

Find the recipe here.

Cheesy black bean enchiladas

Photo shows a tray of cheese black bean enchiladas prepared to a vegan recipe
A vegan twist on the traditional Mexican dish of enchiladas

This dish from Viva!’s Vegan Recipe Club combines black beans and vegan cheese for a plant-based twist on a classic Mexican dish. Serve with sliced scallions, guacamole, fresh coriander, chilis, and a squeeze of lime juice. (And maybe a side of nachos.)

Find the recipe here.

Easy three-bean salad

Photo shows a close-up of the easy three bean salad created by Dreena Burton
Dreena Burton This simple salad combines black beans with red kidney beans and chickpeas

In another recipe from Burton, the Let Them Eat Vegan author combines three different types of beans – red kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans – along with vegetables and a tangy vinaigrette dressing to finish off a surprisingly proteinous salad dish.

Find the recipe here.

Vegan chili hotpot

A bowl of vegan chilli hotpot made with chocolate, in a black bowl, topped with vegan sour cream and fresh chillis, with a fork beside it
Viva! Black beans pair with lentils perfectly in this chili hot pot

Viva!’s Vegan Recipe Club incorporates chocolate into this black bean and lentil-based chili to give it a rich, dark, and umami flavor. Adding chocolate also brings out the flavor of ground chili and other spices, giving them a unique vibrancy without being overpowering.

Find the recipe here.

Smoky vegan burger

Photo shows the "smoky vegan burger," a vegan patty created by Mira Weinger
This recipe includes instructions for the patty, BBQ sauce, and fries

This vegan burger from Mira Weiner includes a black bean and walnut-based patty along with a from-scratch BBQ sauce and homemade sweet potato fries. Serve in your roll of choice and top with guacamole, pickled onions, vegan mayo, and plenty of salad.

Find the recipe here.

Black bean breakfast hash

Photo shows a black bean breakfast hash on a white plate
This plant-based breakfast hash contains no soy, gluten, or nuts

Francesca Bonadonna at Plantifully Based created this savory breakfast hash as a nutritious way to start the day. It also contains no soy, gluten, or nuts, making it suitable for those with related allergies. It’s ready in under 45 minutes and serves four.

Find the recipe here.

Black bean quesadilla

Photo shows a stack of vegan quesadillas made with black beans
The Happy Pear This Happy Pear recipe includes a cashew-based vegan cheese

These quesadillas from David and Stephen Flynn at the Happy Pear take just 15 minutes to make and are free from oil. The recipe also includes a versatile homemade cashew-based cheese, which can be kept for up to five days in the fridge.

Find the recipe here.

Black bean and sweet potato enchiladas

Photo shows a tray of vegan enchiladas
The Herbivore's Kitchen Serve these vegan enchiladas with a squeeze of lime

This vegan enchilada recipe from Kate Freidman, AKA the Herbivore’s Kitchen, is a vegan spin on a traditional Mexican dish that dates back to the Mayans. Serve with chopped grape tomatoes, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and pickled red onions.

Find the recipe here.

Tempeh black bean burger

Tempeh black bean burger
Sculpted Kitchen Make this patty recipe using tempeh, black beans, and veg

Sarah Kermalli from Sculpted Kitchen created this recipe for a stacked vegan burger made with only wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients like black beans and tempeh. Like some of the other recipes here, it also includes a unique spin on plant-based cheese, in this case, a mozzarella made by combining soaked cashews with nooch and some other key ingredients.

Find the recipe here.

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