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

adapted from Cafe Beaujolais and Greens

Servings 8 people


  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and mashed with 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo, chopped optional
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, ground
  • 6 cups cooked black beans 1 pound dry beans home cooked or 3 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles mild or hot

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 a few minutes, until fragrant. 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.

  2. Add the tomatoes (including the juice from the can), chiles, cooked beans, and either 1 cup bean broth (from home cooked beans) or a cup of water (if you're using canned beans). Snip at the whole tomatoes with kitchen shears, 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 warm tortilla or chips and assorted toppings as mentioned above.



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