A ubiquitous side dish in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, black beans are usually satisfying, but sometimes a little bland. These are brimming with flavor from a quick sauce spiked with heat from chipotle peppers. Whether you use chipotle packed in adobo or chipotle powder, know that it's spicy indeed, so temper the heat with less if you or guests are heat-averse ... or add more if you prefer to feel the burn over dinner.


  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 chipotle en adobo, seeded and minced to a paste (see Tip) or 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced separately
  • 3 cups cooked black beans or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained and rinsed


In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tomato paste and water until smooth. Add the chipotle, cumin, 1 teaspoon of the vinegar, and the salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and white parts of the scallions and saute for 30 seconds, until both are fragrant and starting to soften. Add the beans and the tomato paste mixture and stir to coat.

Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once, until the liquid thickens as the beans release starch.

Stir in the remaining teaspoon of vinegar and season to taste with additional salt. Sprinkle with the green parts of the scallions and serve immediately.

tip: While canned beans are convenient and inexpensive, cooked dried beans are even more so. One cup of dried black beans yields 3 cups cooked and is a fraction of the cost of canned beans. The texture and flavor of cooked dried beans are more assertive than canned, which are often packed with quite a bit of salt (unless you seek out no-salt-added varieties). Best of all, you can prepare a big pot of beans and freeze portions in resealable plastic bags for future use, cooking right from frozen or thawing with a quick rinse of running water.

tip: To mash chipotle en adobo to a paste, trim its stem and scrape out the seeds (discard both). Mince the chipotle as finely as possible, running your knife blade over the little pile again and again until it resembles more of a paste than tiny bits of the chipotle. Wash your fingers well after handling chipotle, or you'll be reminded later if you take out your contacts or rub your eyes!

Serves 4 to 6

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Submitted 8/27/13.
Source: Choosing Sides: From Holidays to Every Day, 130 Delicious Recipes to Make the Meal
Submitted By: B Smith

Chipotle Black Beans