Black Beans with Lime

Cara Mangini

Little Eater Restaurant and Grocery Store, Columbus, OH


  • 1 cup dried black beans, picked through, rinsed, and soaked overnight (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow or white onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice


Fill a medium-size saucepan or Dutch oven with water, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top. Drain the soaked beans and add them to the water with 1 teaspoon of salt and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook, partially covered, until the beans are tender, 40 to 60 minutes. (Add more water to the pan if needed to keep the beans completely covered during cooking.) Drain the beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf.

Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, another 30 seconds. Add the black beans and the reserved cooking liquid, and stir to incorporate. Add a generous pinch of salt to taste, plus the cumin, cayenne pepper, and lime juice. Bring the beans to a low simmer and cook until most of the liquid evaporates and the remaining liquid has thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.

Note: You can use 2 1/2 to 3 cups of canned beans, rinsed, in place of the cooked beans. Skip step 1, and add the canned beans in step 2; use 1 cup of vegetable stock in place of the reserved cooking liquid.

Excerpted  from The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Matthew Benson.


About 3 cups