The ultimate recipe for making restaurant-style, ultra-flavorful Sofrito Black Beans with dried black beans, onions, garlic, jalapeños, and spices. Eat as a soup or use to make refried beans. Perfect for weekly meal prep. Cook them at the beginning of the week and enjoy them all week long. Vegan and gluten-free!
As I write this I am living off the generosity of dear friends, the kids are camped out on a pull-out couch while we wait to move into the tiny apartment we’ll be living in for the foreseeable future, until (God willing) someone wants to sell us their house.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
But, but, but, let’s not talk about that when we can talk about beans!!
I’ve been making beans this way forever, or at least for the last 10 years, nah 15.
But I made them at my tamales-making workshop last winter and I thought people were going to pass out.
“Those Beans!!” they crooned. I was flattered, but also a little concerned that the beans stole the tamales thunder. And then it dawned on me, I need to give you guys the recipe!
tips for making any kind of beans
Before we get into the step-by-step there are a few things you should know about making any kind of beans.
I never really got the hang of making tender, flavorful beans until I watched Armando’s Aunt Irma do it. The secret has nothing to do with beans and everything to do with the broth.
Use way more water than water than you think you should. I cover the dried beans by at least 4 inches of water in the pot when they start to cook.
After you get the broth thing down—which you will, it’s not rocket science—then comes the second trick to perfect beans: the seasoning.
I learned this while working at Firefly Restaurant in San Francisco. My friend Tomasa taught me to cook the beans and the aromatics or the sofrito separately.
The last thing, old wives tale or not, I’ve never had a positive experience adding salt to dry beans.
For me the advice that salt prevents beans from softening has always been true. Wait until the beans are tender before adding any salt.
what are “sofrito” beans?
A sofrito is the thing that gives whatever you’re cooking flavor.
The ingredients vary depending on the country of origin, but almost always involves garlic and onions. Sometimes green pepper, sometimes bay leaf.
Whatever the combination these aromatic ingredients are sautéed in oil and separately seasoned with salt and pepper and sometimes other spices before being added to the final dish.
The combination called for here is heavy on Mexican flavors but if you want to make Cuban black beans, skip the jalapeños and use bell pepper and a lot more black pepper. Check out Sofia’s recipe for Frijoles Negros for more inspiration.
If you love this particular sofrito recipe, I highly suggest doubling or tripling the recipe and keeping the caramelized sofrito in your refrigerator to add to whatever your cooking.
It is good on way more than beans. Mix it into steamed rice, scrambled eggs, or even a Spanish tortilla.
how to make sofrito black beans
To soak or not to soak. I usually soak the dried beans overnight but you don’t have to. Just know they will cook faster the next day if you do.
Cook the beans. If you have soaked the beans, drain and rinse them. Pour the drained and rinsed beans in a large pot with the bay leaves, cover with water by 4 inches and bring to a boil.
Make the sofrito. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeños. Once tender add spices and let toast a little bit. It may seem like a lot of spices in the frying pan, but you are flavoring an entire pot of beans with those spices, so don’t skimp.
Combine the two. Once the beans are tender, add the sofrito and season with salt. I know I’ve said this before, but if your beans (or any food for that matter) doesn’t taste good, you probably didn’t add enough salt. Keep adding and tasting and adding and tasting until it’s right.
several ways to enjoy your beans
To me, a good pot of beans is an evolution.
The first day I make them, I serve them more like a soup, with lots of liquid— very brothy.
The second day, I get some oil hot in a frying pan and scoop out a couple of spoonfuls of beans into the pan, leaving most of the liquid behind. I mash and mash to make refried beans. A perfect side dish for my morning eggs and tortillas.
The third day, I heat up ladles full of cooked black beans in a saucepan with the liquid and everything and let it cook down until it is nice and thick and serve over rice.
And if there’s any beans left I can start all over again and have soup.
a few more bean recipes to try!
- Crock Pot Borracho Beans
- Sweet Potato Nachos with Smoked Cheddar and Black Beans
- Black Bean Pupusas with Lime Curtido
- Deep Dish Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
- Best Ever Canned Black Beans
- Green Tomato Chili
- Vegan Refried Beans
ready to make the best beans of your life?
Does jalapeño pepper, garlic, and spices make that much difference? Yes! Let me know what you think by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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