Home Cooking: Spicy Black Bean Bake

This recipe from the New York Times popped up in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago. It was 1) easy, 2) meatless, 3) inexpensive, and 4) had flavors I knew Brett and I would like to I had to give it a try!

The bean baked turned out to be just as advertised: easy, meatless, inexpensive, and had flavors Brett and I loved. Served with some Fritos (and corn chips would be fine) and a cool cucumber salad, it made a very tasty meal. The recipe in fact made enough for several meals – we ate it for dinner with chips the first night, and used the leftovers for lunches and in burritos later in the week. These beans would also be great on nachos or tostadas, in tacos or over rice, or just as a side dish.

While I liked the original recipe just fine, next time I plan to adjust the spices in the beans (less red pepper flakes) and instead use grated pepper jack cheese instead of the Mexican blend I used the first time. In my opinion the spicier cheese will improve the flavors overall. Also, the pan doesn’t have to be baked in the oven – the cheese can be melted by covering the pan for a few minutes at the end. The pan then can be run under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese, if desired.


  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced or thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 14-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, Mexican blend, or pepper jack cheese

If you plan to bake the beans, heat the oven to 475 degrees. In a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then lightly fry the garlic until just golden, about one minute. Carefully add the tomato paste, paprika, red-pepper flakes and cumin and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. Lower the heat as needed to prevent the garlic from burning.

Add the drained beans, boiling water, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top of the beans and then bake until the cheese is melted, around 5 to 10 minutes. Or, cover the pan with a lid and allow the cheese to melt. If you prefer your cheese browned, put the skillet under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


5 thoughts on “Home Cooking: Spicy Black Bean Bake

  1. This looks really good as well as simple and inexpensive. I see NYT recipes that I like off and on, but I refuse to pay for an additional subscription…the regular NYT is my limit, although I would subscribe to the paper Sunday Times if they delivered where I live. I do miss the Sunday print version. They have a weekly newsletter with five nightly meals that you can access for a few days after receiving the newsletter. And then they all jump behind the paywall. I expect that to go away at some point too. 🤷‍♀️


    1. This was one of the NYT “free” recipes. I refuse to pay for a subscription but there are workarounds. For example, if I google the name of a recipe there is almost always a blogger who has put the recipe on their blog! I dislike greatly though that I can’t even use my five free entries to access the NYT recipes these days.

      Anyway, this is a wonderful recipe, and using a work around I found another one using white beans that I’m going to try next week.


  2. Sounds yummy, I’ll definitely try it. But first need to get the black beans. I had lots, but all of the cans were recalled by Costco☹️


    1. Oh oh – we were planning on picking up a case of blacks beans at Costco next week! Oh well. We are also going to Safeway though as Brett got a 10% discount coupon on any groceries, and will just stock up there.

      The recipe is very tasty – I can’t wait to have it again, but with pepper jack on top.


  3. Yum! You always share the best recipes. (We’ve made your pancakes twice!) I will definitely try this one. Thank!


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