How to Make Delicious Vegan Frijoles Negros (Black Beans) from Scratch

Vegetarian black beans (frijoles negros)
Black beans (frijoles negros) photo by Chang / Getty Images
  • 3 hrs 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Yield: 10-12 servings

Frijoles negros (black beans) are a staple of Mexican cuisine and are simple to make vegetarian as well as vegan. This vegan black beans recipe is super flavorful and simple to prepare, although cooking the beans does take some time and a few steps. Vegan black beans make for a great side dish to any Mexican meal or a filling for black bean burritos.

Black beans don't really need to be soaked, and some chefs strongly prefer not to soak them. The choice is yours—you can soak the beans or skip this step, especially if you don't have enough time.

If you've never had black beans cooked from scratch, you're missing out. Fresh frijoles negroes are so much better than anything that comes from a can!

What You'll Need

  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 2 green bell peppers (halved and seeded), divided
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 medium onion (quartered)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

How to Make It

  1. If you are soaking the beans, place the black beans, 1 green bell pepper, and 8 cups of water in a large soup or stock pot and set aside to allow to soak for 8 hours or overnight. If you are not soaking the beans, combine these ingredients and proceed to the next step.
  2. Bring the beans, pepper, and water to a boil, then immediately turn the heat to a simmer and cook, covered for 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are almost tender. 
  1. Prepare a sauce, called sofrito, by combining the remaining green bell pepper, the onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, and a little of the cooking water in a blender. Blend on low until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add the sofrito to the beans. Bring to a boil again, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Add salt, wine, vinegar, and sugar. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the bean mixture becomes thick, about 2 more hours.
  4. Add olive oil immediately before serving. Serve over steamed rice.

Reprinted with permission from The Compassionate Cook Cookbook.

Additional Vegetarian and Vegan Mexican Recipes

Like this recipe? There are many other exciting ways to make rice and beans, as well as several satisfying vegetarian and vegan Mexican dishes. Give one of these recipes a try: