Simple Smoky Black Beans

I nearly always have at least one can of beans in the cupboard.  There are often 10 for $10 deals at the grocery store, so frequently I’m lugging home a backpack full of different varieties of beans. (I’ve learned to love the balancing act on my bike that these trips ensue.) But even without the sales, I’d still be stocking up. Beans are cheap regardless. Invest in a pressure cooker (something I need to do), and you can get them even cheaper by purchasing them dried. Either form, they hold up super well, which for me is welcoming. For some reason, too much fresh food in the kitchen leaves me stressed. How am I going to use it all before it starts molding and wasting away!? I rarely have this much fresh food at a time, unless it’s summer and I’ve scooted by my parent’s garden. But when I do, I feel the demanding need to plan, and I’ve never been a huge fan of menu planning. My lack of planning is hence how this dish first came about.

By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, I’m generally in dire need of groceries. This is great when the weather’s nice, but when it’s not, I generally resort to getting creative with the few ingredients I have left. (Living in a city has pretty much eliminated driving from my repertoire.) These days often yield some of the best results. This is one of my favorites, concocted on one of those Sundays when I didn’t counter rain into my plans for picking up groceries.  I’ve continued to make this dish whenever I’m looking for a quick and healthy meal. It’s super simple, and once you add liquid smoke to your list of household ingredients, it becomes a no-plan/anytime recipe.

This time around I decided to create a breakfast-like burrito, adding scrambled eggs and rice to the beans, and wrapping them up in a whole wheat wrap. Delish!

Simple Smoky Black Beans

Yield: Serves 4


  • -1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • -1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • -1 (15 oz.) can black beans
  • -1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • -1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
  • -1 Tbsp. Frank's Red Hot, or other hot sauce
  • -1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • -1 Tbsp. cilantro, optional


  1. Heat oil over medium-high. Add onions and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in soy sauce and liquid smoke. Add entire can of beans, maple syrup and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until beans become desired consistency, 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cilantro, if using.
  2. Serve over rice, or in a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, rice, and cilantro.

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  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    May 10, 2012 at 6:01 am

    I have ALL of these ingredients!! This sounds awesome. I love liquid smoke, but I never use it. Smoky beans….brilliant!

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