Quick and Easy Cuban Style Black Beans (from canned!)

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These quick black beans are flavorful, fiber-ful, and just pretty! Smokey cumin compliments the combination of onions, garlic and bell peppers known collectively as “sofrito”, or “the Holy Trinity”. Despite seeming to be too quick to be true, these legumes make a delectable nutrient rich side dish. 

When I say powerhouse, I mean powerhouse!

These Latin food staples are inexpensive nutrient powerhouses. For one cup of black beans, you get over 15 grams of protein and a nearly equal amount of fiber. Iron, folate, and vitamin B1 are only a few in a long list of nutrients residing in these little legumes. Although the bean liquid isn’t drained off they aren’t “soupy”. Starch from a small amount of mashed beans thickens the juice and makes for a spoon-able side dish.

Quick and Easy Cuban Style Black Beans (from canned)- HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com

Cubans do it well, trust me. 

A few years back, I was lucky enough to live in the breezy paradise of South Florida. From Fort Lauderdale to the last of the Florida Keys, there is no shortage of Cuban Restaurants. Although I’ve always adored the exceptional food from that unique island, I became certifiably hooked on it once I lived in a place where it was so easily accessible. The slow stewed beef known as ropa vieja, the potato balls stuffed with seasoned ground beef (Papa Rellenas), and the empanadas were as delectable as one might imagine. Are they healthy? Well… uh…no. But, everything in moderation, right?

One dish on every Cuban menu that was reliably both tasty and nutritious was the side of plump black beans served with most entrees. Although not usually looked upon like the center stage star, these beans are definitely something special. Now, bear in mind that I already have a legitimate addiction to black beans because I was raised by a Guatemalan mother. So, my time in So. Fla didn’t help reduce my need to have these black beauties on a regular basis. Cubans make their beans differently from us Guatemalans, however I can genuinely say they are (almost) as good! (I am a little biased though.)

Low Fat & Healthy; (Turkey) Picadillo Sandwiches-HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com

I don’t have time for anything fancy.

Cooking beans from scratch involves soaking over night, then simmering for 40 minutes or so. Its relatively easy, but requires some thinking ahead. If I forget to soak the beans the night before, then I’m stuck. This recipe is great option that offers a negligible difference. In fact, sometimes I prefer these quick beans because they aren’t dependent on the “hit or miss” quality of the dried beans I can get my hands on.

This is a one-pot side dish that makes for less dishes. All you need a small sauce pot that fits a can of beans. Saute your veggies in it rather than doing so in a separate pan and then combining them in a pot. Save yourself the dishpan hands.

These beans serve as a perfect side dish for:

Cauliflower Ceviche Tostadas; Vegan as h**l and Good Enough for Meat-eaters!

Easy California Ceviche Tacos  

Low fat & Healthy Turkey Picadillo Sandwiches; Inexpensive, Kid Friendly, and Perfect for Weeknight Dinner

Quick and Easy Cuban Style Black Beans (from canned!)

Serves 4-6


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow or white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 2 tsp white distilled vinegar
  • 1-16 oz can low sodium or no salt-added, whole black beans- UNDRAINED
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp- 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot over medium high heat.  Saute onions and green pepper until onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and saute another minute or so.
  2. Move about one cup of the beans to a small bowl using a slotted spoon, reserving all the liquid in the can with the remaining beans. Mash them to make a chunky paste. Set aside.
  3. Pour the whole beans and bean liquid into the pot with the onions etc. Stir in the mashed beans until combined. Add in the bay leaf, cumin, salt and pepper.
  4. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover, remove bay leaf, and stir in vinegar. Let cook uncovered 5 more minutes.

Serve undrained.

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