Frijoles Negros (Black Beans)

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 and vegan. This vegan black beans recipe is super flavorful, simple to prepare (though cooking the beans does take some time and a few steps). Vegetarian black beans make for a great side dish to any Mexican meal or a filling for black bean burritos.

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

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What You'll Need

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

How to Make It

Black beans don't really need to be soaked, and some chefs strongly prefer not to soak them. Personally, I like soaking them first, but you can always skip this step if you strongly prefer otherwise, or don't have enough time.

To soak your beans, place the black beans, one of the green bell peppers and 8 cups of water in a large soup or stock pot and set aside to allow to soak for 8 hours or overnight.


After soaking, 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. 

Prepare a sauce, called sofrito, by combining the other 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.

Add the sofrito to the beans. Bring to a boil again, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add salt and the wine, vinegar, and sugar. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the bean mixture becomes thick, about 2 more hours.

Add olive oil immediately before serving. Serve over steamed rice.

Reprinted with permission from The Compassionate Cook Cookbook.

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