12 Black Bean Recipes for Breakfast, Dinner, and Dessert

Black bean “meatballs”
Image credit: Minimalist Baker

Published on March 6, 2022

By Summer Rylander

Black beans are delicious, versatile, and packed with valuable nutrients — including fiber and antioxidants. Whether you eat a plant-based diet or not, black beans are a great source of protein and complex carbohydrates, and have been shown to decrease inflammation.

Read next: 10 Plant-Based Soup Recipes We Absolutely Love

Moreover, black beans are easy and fast to prepare (you can absolutely use canned black beans instead of dried beans) and they’re affordable on nearly any budget. To highlight just how useful these healthy beans can be, we’ve rounded up our favorite black bean recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert.

1. Chocolate Black Bean Smoothie

Chocolate black bean smoothie

Image credit: The Conscientious Eater

Frozen bananas are well-known for their ability to lend a sweet, creamy texture to smoothies, but when blended, black beans lend their own creaminess, too. There’s no added sugar in this recipe — the sweetness comes purely from the fruit — but there’s a lovely pop of protein from the black beans and cashew butter that still manages to feel indulgent. We think a small handful of blueberries or raspberries would blend right in, too.

2. Black Bean and Tofu Scramble

Black bean and tofu scramble

Image credit: The Full Helping

Firm and extra-firm tofu are easy to crumble into a scrambled egg-like consistency, and tofu adapts nicely to any flavors you’re craving. We’d punch up this black bean and tofu scramble with jalapeños, diced red onion, and a sprinkle of whatever cheese we have on hand, but we’ll definitely keep that tablespoon of cashew butter the recipe author recommends, too. As the black beans release their starch while cooking, the cashew butter combines to create a luxurious, just-creamy-enough texture.

3. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowls

Black bean and sweet potato breakfast bowls

Image credit: Shutterstock

We’re loving this healthy, filling, protein-packed black bean breakfast bowl. To make it vegan-friendly, you can leave out the eggs and cheese, and punch up the flavors with a handful of fresh herbs like cilantro, chives, or basil. In either case, we’ll top our bowl with a big pinch of chili flakes and lots of black pepper.

4. Black Beans and Couscous with Lime Vinaigrette

Black beans and couscous with lime vinaigrette

Image credit: Pinch of Yum

This is a perfect lunch. Black beans and couscous may be the star of the show here, but there’s crunch from pistachios and red onion, a salty pop from the feta, and a tangy lime dressing to tie everything together. Leave out the sweet potatoes if you’re not feeling a triple-carb situation — try dicing up a zucchini instead — and feel free to sub the couscous for quinoa, which is a complete protein.

5. Quinoa, Mango, and Black Bean Salad

Quinoa, mango, and black bean salad

Image credit: Skinnytaste

The natural sweetness of mango pairs so well with the earthiness of black beans, and this salad is hearty enough to count as lunch (or a filling dinner side) thanks to the use of quinoa, corn, and bell pepper. We’d throw in a handful of spinach or arugula for an extra pop of green, and maybe a fried egg if we have time to spare. 

6. Black Bean “Meatballs”

Black bean “meatballs”

Image credit: Minimalist Baker

These black bean “meatballs” are made with quinoa and — you guessed it — black beans. Not feeling tomato sauce tonight? These are equally delicious in pesto with a few salty curls of Parmesan cheese, or in a vegan-friendly roasted red pepper sauce.

7. Black Bean Stuffed Peppers

Black bean stuffed peppers

Image credit: Shutterstock

Stuffed peppers may feel kind of retro, but they’re really quite clever. As stuffed peppers cook, they gently impart flavor into the filling — but not so much as to take over the whole dish. We’d use brown rice or barley here, but you could use quinoa, cauliflower rice, bulgur, or just double up on the black beans. Serve these peppers with a simple green salad for crunch, and dinner is sorted.

8. Grilled Salmon with Black Beans and Corn

Grilled salmon with black beans and corn

Image credit: Skinnytaste

We love the idea of a spice-rubbed salmon paired with black beans, but if you’re not feeling salmon tonight, you could definitely use a flaky white fish of your choice — cod, halibut, tilapia — they’ll all work for this lively, healthful recipe. You could serve with a few spears of grilled asparagus or a side of steamed broccoli, but we’re happy to go with this dish as-is.

9. Black Bean Burgers

Black bean burgers

Image credit: Sally’s Baking Recipes

Don’t worry — these aren’t the sad black bean burgers your mom stashed in the back of the freezer in the ‘90s. These patties will tempt even the fiercest defender of beef burgers with lots of garlic, spices, and bread crumbs to create a just-right texture. Use cooked sweet potato as a binder instead of eggs and leave out the feta if you’re vegan (or if you’re just not feeling feta as your burger cheese of choice), then pile onto a whole-grain bun and top with all your favorite fixings. We’ll take lots of crunchy red onion, sharp cheddar, and peppery arugula on ours.

10. Black Bean and Plantain Arepas

Black bean and plantain arepas

Image credit: Minimalist Baker

Arepas are a cornmeal cake that originated in the region that today comprises Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama. They’re a delicious vessel for these healthy sandwiches that let black beans shine alongside plantains and avocado. We love the idea of topping these arepas with habanero hot sauce, and we’d probably sneak a little red onion on ours, too.   

11. Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Black bean burrito bowl

Image credit: Cookie and Kate

There are lots of ways to customize this black bean burrito bowl, but we think the cilantro lime brown rice base is already a great foundation! But if the cilantro hemp pesto isn’t quite your thing, consider topping your bowl with fresh salsa or guacamole instead.

12. Flourless Black Bean Brownies

Flourless black bean brownies

Image credit: Shutterstock

Yep, black beans can make an appearance in dessert. And with no flour, this recipe is even suitable for those with a gluten sensitivity. We like that this recipe avoids refined sugar through the use of honey, maple syrup, or agave as the sweetener, and you can take things a step further and leave out the chocolate chips — but we probably wouldn’t.  This is a dessert, after all. 

Summer Rylander is a freelance food and travel writer based in Germany. Find her on Twitter and Instagram

Read next: The Best Vegan Products on the Market According to Someone Who’s Been Vegan for 12 Years

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