Spicy Black Beans

These spicy beans can be eaten as a main dish over rice or on their own, and they also make a tasty side dish. They keep well in the freezer and can be blended with low-sodium organic chicken or vegetable broth to create a hearty black bean soup.


Serves 6 to 8



1 pound dried black beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped carrots

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Dash of cayenne pepper

Squeeze of lemon or lime juice



Place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water (about 3 inches past the level of the beans). Let the beans soak for at least 1 hour or overnight. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, and garlic until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the water from the beans and add the beans to the onions, carrots, and garlic, plus enough water to generously cover everything in the saucepan by at least 1 inch. Add the bay leaves. Cover and let the beans simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, but keep stirring frequently and add water as necessary to make sure the beans don’t burn. Add the cumin, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, Italian seasoning, and cayenne. Let the mixture cook for at least 2 hours uncovered, stirring regularly and adding water as needed. Add the lemon or lime juice. Cook until the sauce has thickened and the beans are soft (about an additional 30 minutes). Discard the bay leaves before serving.


Recipe by Elise Museles of Kale and Chocolate. First appeared in Gutbliss (Penguin 2013).