Dark and tasty, black beans have sometimes been referred to as “turtle beans.” They’re especially popular in Cuban, South American, and Mexican cuisines. Here’s a selection of tasty and versatile vegan black bean recipes that are great for everyday and special occasion meals.
The flavor of black beans lends itself to many complementary enhancements and is strong enough to hold up under the boldest of seasonings. Compatible herbs include thyme, parsley, oregano, onions, garlic, and shallots added in quantities to your heart’s content. Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil all are wonderful enhancements as well.
Black beans are well known as the basis of hearty, filling soups and for the Cuban-inspired national dish known simply as black beans and rice, or Moros y Christians (recipe ahead). Black beans make a pleasant change of pace from pinto beans in Mexican and Southwestern tortilla specialties like tostadas and tacos.
Black beans are also wonderful as a base for salads, or simply as an addition to tossed salads to boost protein and add flavor.
A cup of black beans contains 15 grams of protein and significant amounts of vitamins and minerals common to beans, especially magnesium, iron, and the B-vitamin complex. Here is a full nutritional profile of black beans.
Thanks to the talented bloggers who participated in this roundup for permission to use their photos and to link to the full recipes on their sites.
Soups, Stews, and Chili
Quick Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili: With the addition of sweet potatoes, this easy chili is invigorating yet comforting. Black bean and sweet potato chili has become a classic combo, and this easy vegan recipe for it proves why it’s such a favorite.
Quick Black Bean Soup: Making a hearty and super quick black bean soup seems like a dinner hour fantasy, but canned black beans are so flavorful that they do the job perfectly. I highly recommend using organic black beans, which are packed in a flavorful liquid that’s not overly salty.
Long Simmering Vegan Black Bean Soup: Classic vegan black bean soup is robust and bursting with flavor. Starting with dry black beans, it simmers for a long while, though there’s very little hands-on time.
Fall Harvest Stew with Squash, Corn, and Beans: A robust vegan fall harvest stew, this recipe makes good use of the “three sisters” crops of Native American tradition — squash, corn, and beans.
Instant Pot Black Bean Stew: From Recipes from a Pantry, a stew that’s easy to make and full of great Mexican flavor! Make black beans from scratch in the Instant Pot in less than an hour, and with no soaking is required.
Chipotle-Spiced Black Bean Vegan Chili: From This Wife Cooks, this hearty and well-spiced chili is ready to serve in just 20 minutes!
Chipotle Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup: From Craving Something Healthy, this easy soup is packed with flavors and will warm you from head to toe.
Creamy Black Bean Taco Soup: From This Wife Cooks, easy and (dairy-free) cheesy weeknight dinner packed with black beans, onions, tomatoes, green chiles, and taco seasonings. If you like loaded queso, you’re going to love this taco soup!
Easy Black Bean Tostadas: The nice thing about serving tostadas is that everyone can construct their own at the table, making it easy on the cook. These easy vegan black bean tostadas make a quick weeknight meal for the family or fun fare to serve to company.
Skillet Black Beans with Sweet Potatoes and Tortilla: Skillet black beans with sweet potatoes embellished with tortillas is a hearty vegan main dish for families that enjoy lively south-of-the-border flavors.
Instant Pot Black Beans Taco Boats: From Cookilicious, this recipe is delicious, packed with flavor, and very filling. Try these authentic tacos today! Make these fun new boats for your next taco night; they will be a hit with both adults and kids!
Mexican Tofu and Black Bean Scramble: From Craving Something Healthy, make a batch of this scramble today and enjoy it for breakfast tomorrow, wrapped in a tortilla.
Black Bean Enchiladas: From Running on Real Food, loaded with flavour and nutrition, you’ll love these quick and easy vegan black bean enchiladas!
Orzo Salad with Black Beans and Corn: Made with rice-shaped pasta, this orzo salad is studded with black beans and corn and flavored with salsa. It’s easy to make and even easier to eat.
Black Bean and Corn Salad for a Crowd: Here’s a classic black bean and corn salad recipe featuring avocado and grape tomatoes, dressed in lime vinaigrette. This main-dish salad is a fantastic potluck dish, and a good choice to make when you’re expecting more company than usual.
Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn: Black beans, corn, and avocado come together in a hearty southwestern quinoa salad that’s good as a main dish or side.
Kale and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans: With black beans, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds as a trio of protein ingredients, larger portions of this kale salad can easily be served as a main dish.
Black Bean and Mango Salad with Avocado: Classic black bean and mango salad is a brilliant combination, both in terms of flavor and the visual appeal. This one includes avocado as well.
Black Bean and Tomato Salad with Croutons and Olives: This appetizing black bean and tomato salad adds color and crunch to many kinds of meals and is especially good with grain dishes and vegan quesadillas. You can even make it a main dish salad in the summer, served with fresh corn.
Hot and Cool Layered Black Bean Taco Salad: This hot and cool taco salad is a fast and fun main dish that has it all — salad veggies, high-protein black beans, and for the yum factor, good-quality tortilla chips and vegan cheese.
Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Mango and Cherries: From Rhubarbarians, a 10-minute black bean quinoa salad recipe with cherries, and a cumin lime dressing.
5-Bean Salad with Sweet Vinaigrette: From Craving Something Healthy, this salad has been a family favorite forever! It’s easy to make, full of flavor, and good for you too.
Other Main Dishes
Vegan Black Beans with Sofrito: Black beans with sofrito is a quick and classic Latin American dish that makes a satisfying weeknight dinner. Plus, this one is naturally vegan.
Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Christianos): Cuban black beans and rice, or Moros y Christianos, is a Latin American classic that’s simple and completely satisfying.
Pan-Grilled Polenta with Spinach and Black Beans: One of my long-time favorites, this easy recipe of pan-grilled polenta is topped with a colorful combination of black beans, roasted red pepper, and spinach. Serve as an appealing option for a quick dinner, or a hearty appetizer.
“Hungry Guy” Vegan Black Bean Burgers: Packed with hearty black beans, spicy salsa and rolled oats, these five-ingredient vegan black bean burgers are filling and super-quick to prepare.
Smoky Southern-Style Meatless Meatloaf: From Veganosity, turn black beans into a delicious and hearty “meatloaf.” It has a savory smoky flavor and the BBQ sauce takes it to another level.
Black Bean Vegan Steak: From Zardy Plants, tender, flavorful, and protein-packed, this Vegan Steak is easy to make and absolutely delicious. This recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and only requires a few ingredients like black beans, vital wheat gluten, and some spices to make a super juicy and simple seitan steak.
Italian Black Bean Meatballs: From Running to the Kitchen, these Italian-flavored black bean meatballs are a delicious and hearty plant based alternative to traditional meatballs. Serve with marinara sauce over pasta.
Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato: From Kara Lydon, the ultimate vegan loaded sweet potato – packed with kale, black beans, and topped off with a homemade green goddess dressing. Perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Black Beans, Kale, & Quinoa: From Happy Kitchen, enjoy this savory, comforting, vegan sweet potato casserole with black beans, kale, quinoa and roasted garlic sauce. It’s easy to assemble and perfect to make ahead.
Easy Vegan Refried Black Beans: From MasonFit, take your next Taco Tuesday up a notch with these easy refried black beans.
Mexican Black Beans: From The Forked Spoon, Made with simple pantry ingredients and packed full of fiber and nutrients, enjoy these restaurant-style black beans with all your favorite Mexican dishes including tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.
Real Meaty Vegan Burger: From My Pure Plants, black beans are one of the main ingredients in this vegan burger patty. They give it a deeper flavor and serve as a binder as well. This burger is easy to make, hold together while grilling or frying.
Sweets & Treats
Simple Black Bean Banana Brownies: From Plant Prosperous, these black bean brownies are simple, healthy, and take less than 30 minutes to make. Jazz them up with your favorite nuts or leave them out altogether, they’ll still taste amazing.
Chocolate Bliss Balls: From Zardy Plants, black beans serve as the protein packed base of these bliss balls. They make the perfect snack or dessert and are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and no-bake!
Vegan Black Bean Brownies: From Running to the Kitchen, intensely fudgy vegan brownies made with black beans require just 1 bowl and 20 minutes to bake for the ultimate healthy chocolate dessert. They’re gluten-free too!
Fudgy Blackout Brownies: From Nutriciously, these vegan blackout brownies will make every chocolate lover’s heart beat faster! Made with easy-to-find, wholesome ingredients like dates and black beans, they are super fudgy, deep in flavor, protein-packed and total crowd-pleasers.
Chocolate Cherry Brownies: From Snacking in Sneakers, here are chocolate cherry brownies using both the black beans themselves as well as the aquafaba from the can of beans – which is a secret trick for the best texture! And with fresh pitted cherries woven throughout each brownie, you’ll love this tasty recipe.
Doubly Chocolate Vegan Black Bean Cookies: From The Roasted Root, fudge cookies made with 6 simple ingredients! These cookies are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and completely flourless! Whip them up in a food processor (or blender) for an amazingly rich and delicious dessert.
Vegan Double Chocolate Edible Cookie Dough: From The Roasted Root, this cookie dough (also known as “chocolate hummus”) is an eggless, fit for eating raw! Made with black beans and sweetened with pure maple syrup, this easy recipe contains healthy fats, fiber, and plant-based protein.
Contributed by Anna Fiore: Anna is a 2021 graduate of SUNY-New Paltz, majoring in Communications, with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in journalism. She is an advocate of environmental sustainability and clean eating.