Black Bean Chili

by Jan 16, 2017


What did Julia Child order when she went to Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino CA?  This chili!  No kidding!


The original recipe was published in the Cafe Beaujolais cookbook (now out of print), but the Original original came from Greens, a vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco.  Serve with tortillas or a baked sweet potato.


You can use canned beans (I recommend Goya and Progresso) but your chili will be better with beans you cook yourself (especially if you get them from Rancho Gordo!); please refer to my post, How to Cook Beans.


Black Bean Chili

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and mashed with 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups cooked black beans (either homemade using 1 pound dry black beans OR 3-15oz. cans, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 28oz. can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chiles (mild or hot, you choose)
  • toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, cilantro leaves
  • serve with warmed tortillas or tortilla chips


  1. Set large dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil, raise heat to medium, and once oil is warm, add the onion, bell pepper, garlic-salt, and spices. Cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes, giving everything a stir now and then with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the tomatoes (including the juice from the can), chiles, cooked beans, and either 1 cup of the bean cooking water or a cup of plain water (if you're using canned beans). Snip at the whole tomatoes with kitchen shears to at least quarter them - just do what you can while they are bobbing around. Bring to boil then lower heat to maintain a slow simmer for 30 minutes or so. Serve with toppings mentioned above and warmed tortillas or chips.


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