Here are some delicious and diverse bean recipes to enjoy any day of the week. These bean recipes include soups, dips, easy-to-cook side dishes, and more ideas to enjoy beans in new and unique ways. You will find options for using both homemade or canned beans.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy beans is by cooking them at home and enjoying a warm bowl of beans straight out of the pot. In Mexico, we call this dish "Frijoles de la Olla", meaning "beans from the pot". We enjoy Frijoles de la Olla at home almost weekly sometimes, and we love to have a bowl of them topped with chopped onion, cilantro, serrano pepper, crumbled fresh cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil. And we serve them with warm corn tortillas on the side!
In Mexico, we have a large diversity of beans, but the most popular are the black beans. Following by pinto beans, mayocoba beans, flor de mato & flor de Junio.
How to Cook Beans
The most typical way to cook beans is by placing them in a pot with water and slowly simmering them until they are completely cooked and tender. Some cooks like to soak the beans overnight to soften them, then drain the water and add clean water to cook them. One of the flavorings of choice for beans is the addition of a few slices of onion, and I personally also add a peeled garlic clove as well as a sprig of Epazote herb. The Epazote is believed to help mitigate the effects that eating beans has on your stomach.
Besides cooking beans in a regular pot, you can also use a Crock-Pot (slow cooker) or an Instant pot. When cooking beans, remember to not add salt until they are almost completely cooked. Adding the salt at the beginning will harden the skins of the beans, and they will not come out soft and tender.
Cooking black beans in an Instant Pot is faster than you can even imagine. It really is a remarkable appliance, and since it’s been gaining popularity recently, there are many recipes popping up online that are specifically for the Instant Pot. By the way, this is the same process I use to cook Pinto Beans in the Instant Pot!
How to Store Cooked Beans
Placing the cooked beans in a storage container in your fridge is one option, and the beans will stay fresh for about 3-4 days this way. If you want to preserve the beans for a longer period, the best option is to freeze them. You can either place them in plastic containers or in freezing bags. Beans stored in the freezer will last up to 6 months, provided you salted them before storing. To defrost cooked beans that you have frozen, place them in the fridge the night or day before using them in order to thaw them. Alternatively, you can place them in a hot water bath to speed up the thawing process.
Refried beans have a smooth, creamy texture. In Mexico, refried beans can be eaten any time of day, but are very popular as a side dish for breakfast or a weekend brunch. They can be made for a special occasion or to make a particular dish like “Huevos rancheros” or "Molletes'. Refried beans also make a delicious addition to your burritos, and you can also cook them with eggs, either on the side or scrambled together. Refried beans are also remarkably tasty over toast, either as a quick breakfast or a midafternoon snack.
Pinto beans are popular in the northern states of Mexico, and in the US they are famous in Tex-Mex restaurants, in addition to also being served to accompany Mexican dishes.
Tips to make some of these recipes using canned beans
If you do not like the flavor of canned beans, drain the liquid in the can and slightly rinse the beans. To make refried beans, fry the chopped onion until medium golden and then add the beans. Mashed them using a bean masher to create a creamy texture. You can also do this with other types of beans. To enhance the flavor, you can use lard, bacon drippings, or butter.
Black Beans and Rice, or "Moros y Cristianos", is a popular side dish in some areas of the state of Veracruz, as well as in other southern parts of the country. It represents one of the many Cuban influences in our Mexican gastronomy, especially in Veracruz, where it is often served alongside fried plantains.
Charro Beans Soup & Carne Asada will show up together most of the time at outdoor cookouts in the Northeast region of the country where I am from. I know some call them "Cowboy Beans" on this side of the border, but believe me, the Mexican recipe is a little different. Additionally, if you add a cup or two of beer to the pot of charro beans soup, they become “frijoles borrachos” (drunken beans)!
These creamy black bean tostadas are the perfect midweek pick-me-up lunch or dinner. The creaminess of the beans pairs nicely with the crunchy golden corn tortillas (the tostadas), topped with crumbled queso fresco, lettuce, and cream. Absolutely delicious!
This dish is popular as a side dish in some small eateries, or at home as a snack with crispy tortilla chips. It is also a must-have at rural celebrations like weddings, first communions, or baptisms, where it is served alongside beef or Lamb barbacoa and creamy elbow macaroni.
In this Bean Recipes Collection, I'm also adding this must-try recipe: Black Bean & Chorizo Soup. There are many versions of Mexican Black Bean soup throughout Mexico. This one in particular uses chorizo, and is inspired by one that I had many years ago in the town of Poza Rica, Veracruz. It is a simpler version of the famous “Frijoles Charros”, which uses many more ingredients.
Molletes are a treat loved by everyone, young and old. This toasted treat can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. To make them, French bread rolls are cut in half and covered with refried black beans and cheese, then toasted so the cheese melts. They are often served with a Pico de Gallo Salsa or red spicy salsa.
This recipe for pinto bean enchiladas is perfect for those days when you’re busy running errands and don’t have the time to cook a more complicated lunch or dinner. You can use homemade or canned pinto beans.
Tetelas are tasty triangle-shaped corn masa treats that are stuffed with black beans and cooked on a griddle. They are really easy to make for breakfast, lunch or dinner. At home, we can’t even wait for them to get out of the griddle before we start eating them! That’s the best way to eat them, by the way: straight off the griddle! This is also a nice Vegan bean recipe.
Health Benefits of Beans
Beans are a source of protein, folate, antioxidants, fiber, and iron, plus they are low in calories and saturated fat.
Oh, and one last tip:
In case you ever burn your beans, and the burnt beans are only the ones at the bottom of the pot. Simply remove the unburnt beans and place them in a new, clean pot, then add more water. Heat them again to warm them. Burnt beans aroma is very powerful, place a kitchen towel and a lid over the pot with the burnt beans. This will contain the smell before washing the pot.
Cooking beans is easy and versatile, there are dozens of recipes you can enjoy, and never get tired of them!
More Bean Recipes
Other recipes with beans as the main ingredient or as an element of the recipe include:
Bean Tamales, Enfrijoladas, Creamy Black Bean Soup, and Black Bean Soup with Dumplings. There are also Yucatan Style Fried Beans, Scrambled Eggs & Beans, Plantains stuffed with Beans, Tlacoyos with beans, Nachos, and Sopes. And, for those that like Vegetarian Baked Beans, Nicole from the Delicious Everyday Website has a great recipe.