Black Bean_Recipe:
Balsamic Black Beans

This black bean_recipe is so delicious that I usually make a double batch, in the hope of having leftovers for lunch the next day.

It doesn't always work, though. We often eat the whole double batch for supper anyway!

balsamic vinegar black beans

What is balsamic vinegar, anyway?

True balsamic vinegar (or "Balsamico Tradizionale") is made from the juice of freshly harvested white grapes, which are boiled, reduced, and then aged in oak casks for at least 12 years. Not surprisingly, this stuff is expensive - up to hundreds of dollars per bottle! I have never bought or even tasted it.

What most of us know as balsamic vinegar is really "Balsamic Vinegar of Modena". It ranges in quality and price. It may be a blend of true balsamic and red wine vinegar. The more true balsamic in the mix, the higher the price. The really inexpensive varieties are simply wine vinegar mixed with coloring, caramel and other additives.

I use just an inexpensive variety when I make this black bean_recipe, and it tastes great.

Check that you have these staples at home

  • in the cupboard

    • olive oil
    • garlic
    • canned black beans
    • dried oregano
    • balsamic vinegar
    • tortilla chips

  • in the fridge or freezer

    • onions
    • sour cream

Buy these fresh ingredients

  • a red bell pepper

Get out your equipment

  • Essential

    • a deep skillet
    • a cutting board and sharp knife
    • a can opener
    • a mixing spoon
    • measuring spoons

  • Nice to have but not necessary

    • a garlic press (if not, mince the garlic)
    • a potato masher (if not, use a fork to mash the beans)
    • a colander for draining the beans

    The recipe

    1 Tbsp/15 mL olive oil

    1 large onion, chopped

    2 cloves garlic, pressed

    1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

    1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed

    1 can (19 0z/540 mL) black beans, undrained

    2 tsp/10 mL oregano

    1 Tbsp/15 mL balsamic vinegar

    tortilla chips

    In a deep skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.

    Add the onion and garlic.
    Cook until the onion is soft.

    Add the red pepper.
    Cook until it is soft.

    Add both cans of beans.

    Add the oregano and the balsamic vinegar.
    Stir to mix well.

    Raise the heat to medium-high.
    Cook until the mixture begins to thicken (about 5 minutes).

    Mash some of the beans with a fork.

    Place a handful of tortilla chips in each person's bowl.
    Spoon the beans over the chips.
    Top with sour cream.


    • Use a green pepper, or an orange or yellow, in place of the red pepper.

    • Use plain, unflavored yogurt instead of sour cream. Or do what I do, and mix some yogurt with some sour cream.

    Ideas for making this recipe your own

    • Try using a more expensive balsamic vinegar! Let me know if it makes a big difference in the taste!

    • Garnish the beans with chunks of fresh tomato, or diced sweet peppers.


    • To rinse canned beans without a colander, open the can but keep the lid attached to the can. Run water into the can until the water runs clear. Close the lid, turn the can upside down and let the water run out. (A colander works much better, though!)

    • To make this an even more economical meal, soak and cook dried beans. Be sure to save some of the cooking liquid. You'll need 4 cups/ 1L of cooked beans and 1/4 cup/60 mL cooking liquid for this recipe. (If you forget and discard the cooking liquid, you can use water instead.)

    If you enjoy this black bean_recipe, you may also like these other bean recipes: