Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Black Beans

Spicy Black Beans are a must-have accompaniment for our now-nearly-world famous Chile Verde. There are two main reasons for this. First, the flavors and textures are perfect complements for that pork simmering in the green sauce. At least as important, though, is that a pot of hearty spiced black beans will allow you to stretch the Chile Verde to feed even MORE people.
My husband, Dave, has done a lot of experimenting with seasoning beans and has landed on the balance that he (and all the rest of us) really like.
Dave’s Black Beans
Start by cleaning and sorting two pounds of black beans.  We do this in a shallow cake pan so that we can really see the beans; it’s important to remove bad beans, dirt clumps, and rocks. The MOST critical things to remove are the rocks. Nothing says emergency dentist visit like rocks in your black beans.
Soak beans overnight. This step is actually optional, but we prefer the end result when we take the time to soak the beans first. Rinse them thoroughly before cooking.
Cover  the beans with plenty of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 90 minutes or until done. Be sure to keep the beans covered with water as they’re cooking.
Rinse well in cold water.
At this point, you have cooked black beans that can be used in any recipe the calls for black beans. (The biggest advantage to cooking them yourself is that you will avoid gigantic amount of sodium that you purchase along with most canned black beans.)
So go ahead and use the beans in the recipe of your choice OR…..
….season them like Dave does!
Adding the Spicy to Spicy Black Beans
  • 2 lbs black beans, cooked
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 2 T. ground Cumin
  • 3 – 4 T. finely chopped epazote (you find this at a Mexican market in either a dried form or in fresh bunches)
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 1 large onion chopped fine

Saute the garlic and onion together in a dab of olive oil. Stir in cumin and epazote near the end of sauteing. Add everything to the cooked black beans. Simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes to get the flavors to marry and mingle.

These black beans will keep in the fridge for close to a week; the flavors get better the longer they sit. These beans also freeze well so it’s convenient to make a large pot to use later.

We’ve actually found that a bowl of these black beans, some rice, some Pico de Gallo, and a dab of sour cream is one of the all-time favorite meals around our house.

Barb Kelley

This post is listed at Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.  Visit there to see lots more great recipes shared by others.


  1. Yum!! What is the closest thing to epazote if you don’t have it? Or is this an “accept no substitute” instance?

  2. Sarah, that’s a great question; I’m glad you asked. Epazote is available at the Mexican market across from the Bowling alley/Goodwill store. Epazote is a very distinctive flavor that I really can’t describe. I also love to substitute fresh cilantro…because I LOVE cilantro. The flavor is different but it does the job. If you don’t like green things in your beans at all, no problem. Just leave it out! There are very few things that I would put in the category of “accept no substitute” and this is definitely not one of them.