Make these easy seasoned black beans when you need beans really fast and don't want to chop anything. A can of black beans + pantry spices and vinegar = delicious vegan beans ready to serve with rice, tacos, arepas, burrito bowls or anything!
We don’t always have time to cook amazing beans from scratch, even though pressure cookers make quick work of them.
You can still make amazingly delicious beans from a can of beans and in just 5 minutes, too. This vegan black bean recipe is perfect when you’re short on time. It’s easy to double or triple, too, if you need more servings.
This was inspired by my vegan refried black beans recipe as it has similar Cuban-inspired flavors, but this recipe is easier to make and doesn't require a food processor. These quick and easy seasoned black beans pair well with oil-free cumin seed jeera rice.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Ground cumin - cumin (comino) goes very well with black beans (I dare say it is essential) and is an authentic flavor in beans in Mexico and throughout Latin America
- Red wine vinegar - adds a sweet acidity that lifts and brightens the finished beans
📋 Substitutions and variations
Don’t have everything to make cook canned black beans according to this recipe? Here are some suitable substitutions you could use:
- Canned black beans - homemade cooked black beans can be substituted. Use 1 ¼ cup drained black beans with ½ cup cooking liquid, if you have it.
- Liquid from canned beans - if you don’t want to use the cooking liquid for whatever reason, feel free to use ½ cup of water or vegetable broth instead
- Garlic powder - use ½ teaspoon minced or crushed garlic instead, sautéed in sauce pan until just fragrant before adding beans and other seasonings
- Onion powder - use ¼ cup minced fresh onion instead, sautéed in saucepan until translucent before adding beans and other seasonings. Or, a teaspoon of dried onion flakes could be substituted for the onion powder.
- Red wine vinegar - can substitute with white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar or other sweet vinegar
There are lots of ways you could switch up the flavors here, based on your preferences. Here are a few variation ideas:
- Make it spicy - add a dash of hot sauce, like Cholula, Chipotle Tabasco, diced jalapeño or serrano peppers to make these black beans spicy
- Herbs - add fresh cilantro, fresh Cuban oregano or dried Mexican oregano
- Make refried black beans - Make quick refried black beans instead by puréeing in a food processor first, then heating on stove
- Make them creamy - add ⅓ cup canned coconut milk as these are simmering for creamy, Caribbean-inspired black beans (thanks to my good friend Kim, who's from Jamaica, for this delicious variation idea!)
Here's the step by step instructions for how to make this lightening fast vegan black bean side dish using canned black beans and pantry spices.
Step 1: Add canned black beans to small saucepan with their liquid.
Step 2: Add salt, black pepper, onion powder and ground cumin to the beans.
Step 3: Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbly, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in red wine vinegar.
Step 4: Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed. Remove from heat and serve hot.
How to cook canned black beans in the microwave
- To cook canned black beans in the microwave instead of on the stovetop, add the beans and all dry spices to a microwave safe bowl.
- Cover with a plate (to prevent the hot beans from sputtering and making a mess), then microwave for 90 seconds.
- Stir, then replace cover and microwave for another 30-90 seconds, until piping hot.
- Stir in red wine vinegar, taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
🧯 Food safety
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking
- Rinse the top of cans before opening them
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
⭐️ Expert tips
- Add the vinegar at the end of cooking to get the full flavor and sweet acidic brightness in the beans
- Don't overcook the beans or all of the liquid will disappear and they will get too thick
- Can opener
- Small saucepan
- Measuring spoons
- If using microwave, use a microwave-proof bowl, made of glass or ceramic, preferably
- Spoon for stirring
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
These quick black beans can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
These ingredients do stand up well to freezing for up to 6 months. Use an airtight container to store beans in the freezer.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
- Tacos - serve black beans in tacos along with vegan sour cream, diced tomato, avocado, shredded lettuce and hot sauce
- Cuban-inspired - Serve with cooked white rice and baked plantains for a quick Cuban-inspired vegan meal.
- Vegan filling for arepas - Use these black beans as a vegan filling for Venezuelan arepas, along with a drizzle of Venezuelan cilantro sauce (guasacaca criolla)
- Nachos - top homemade oil-free tortilla chips with these black beans, vegan queso, shredded purple cabbage, tomato, jalapeño, avocado, vegan sour cream for the ultimate loaded vegan nachos
- Burrito bowls - Lettuce, spring mix, cilantro lime rice, black beans, corn, vegan sour cream and avocado make for a delicious and filling 50/50 plate!
☕️ Tea pairing
This recipe would be delicious paired with iced black tea or tropical tea.
Cuban black beans are typically cooked with onion, garlic, bell pepper, oregano, cumin and salt. While they may have meat added to them, depending on the recipe, they are often vegan as is.
Cooked black beans can last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. They can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
Yes! Black beans freeze very well, if stored in an airtight freezer-safe container. To thaw, place container in the refrigerator overnight.
Black beans can be substituted with pinto beans, white navy beans, white kidney beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas or black beluga lentils. But, all beans have slightly different nutritional profiles, flavors, textures and colors, so which substitute you choose depends on what feature of black beans you are most interested in.
Canned black beans are already cooked, so they can be added to recipes, salads or eaten straight out of the can without further cooking. However, if you want them hot, heating canned black beans takes just a few minutes on the stove or in the microwave to make them piping hot and for any added spices to bloom.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this quick and easy vegan black bean recipe, check out these other oil-free plant-based bean recipes!
Quick and Easy Seasoned Vegan Black Beans
- Add black beans (with liquid from can), salt, black pepper, onion powder and ground cumin to a small saucepan.15 ounce can black beans, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbly, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Remove from heat and serve hot.