Simple Black Beans – Less Is More

BlackBeans-Ribs (2)

When I took a rack of baby back ribs out of the freezer to defrost two days ago, black beans weren’t even on the menu. I had planned to go to a nearby farm stand for fresh local corn and my other weekly veggies but drenching rains and flooding alerts scrapped the idea. Not to worry, I’m happy to rise to the challenge of a last minute menu.

With my supply of produce mostly depleted, I turn to the pantry to peruse the dry goods. Packages of stuffing, sauce-included pasta sides, dry pastas, jars of olives, roasted peppers, tomato sauce, cans of beans, tuna, and soups. I’ve just about succumbed to stocked pantry overload when an idea hits me. While Bush’s baked beans would be an obvious choice to accompany pork, black beans will give the meal some flair!

We use black beans so often that I buy them by the case. In burritos, salads, or as a side dish, they are tasty and versatile. My side dish recipes have had various combinations of garlic, onion, red pepper, green pepper, and tomato. My last experiment included a couple of spoonfuls of salsa, but my husband and I agreed that the spicy tomato flavor took over. Given that my produce is reduced to garlic and onion, this iteration of black beans is simplified by necessity. In this case, less is more, and it’s my best version yet.

During the making of Simple Black Beans, I tasted the beans with the garlic, onion, and seasonings and felt that something was missing. No tang. Sherry was the answer. If you don’t have any sherry on hand, I think a little vinegar would work as well.


  • 1 can of Goya black beans, rinsed in a strainer
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or vinegar
  • Sour cream, cilantro, and diced roasted red pepper or tomato for serving


  1. Cook the garlic and onion in olive oil for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the beans, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and sherry and cook on medium low heat for about 5 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of diced roasted red pepper, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Published by J Reilly

I've been writing the Boozy Lifestyle blog since 2014 and recently expanded upon it to create my new book, Boozy Lifestyle: Elevate The Everyday With Booze As Your Muse. The book is a collection of stories celebrating and inspiring everyday life with entertaining tales of wine, food, booze, travel, and family, and including over 50 food and drink recipes. Visit me on Twitter at J Reilly@Boozy_Lifestyle or

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