It turns out January 6 is National Bean Day and growing up Latinx, we can totally get behind a day that celebrates a staple in our food growing up. For so many of us, beans are a comfort food. Many of our meals at home didn’t come without a side of habichuelas or frijoles. Dried, canned or even frozen, there were always beans in the house. Even when times were hard, our mamis could whip up a pot of beans and some white rice to nourish our bellies. And of course, stewed up with Latin American seasonings and herbs, they taste absolutely amazing.
Beans are a staple in just about every Latin American country, and for every country, there’s a different method of preparation. While most of them have a lot in common, from Puerto Rico to Brazil, the traditional recipe for beans can vary greatly. One thing remains the same though — they are tasty and totally nutritious, so here we’re sharing 10 traditional recipes for beans from Latin American countries.
Puerto Rican Habichuelas Guisadas
We Puerto Ricans like our beans loaded and typically of the pink or red variety. We say loaded because beans in the Puerto Rican style of cooking are typically stewed with chunks of ham (or some other type of pork), potatoes and pimento-stuffed olives. Puerto Rican habichuelas guisadas could literally be a meal all on their own. They are seasoned with sofrito and sazón, and sometimes adobo, cilantro and bay leaves are added as well.
Get the full recipe from The Noshery.
Mexican Charro Beans
Hailing from Northern Mexico, charro beans are a very traditional dish. They are made using pinto beans and a variety of meats like chorizo, bacon and even cut up hot dogs (your chiquitos will love that!). Charro beans are a tasty and hearty dish flavored with cilantro, tomatoes, jalapeño, chipotle peppers and spices.
Get the full recipe from My Latina Table.
Cuban Black Beans
Cuban black beans are a thing of legend, and we should all have a back-pocket recipe to pull out when we need something warm and comforting to eat. At their most basic, they are black beans that are stewed with onions, garlic, bell pepper, herbs and spices and a bit of vinegar and sugar, until they are thick, creamy and delicious.
Get the full recipe from Latina Mom Meals.
Known in Colombia as Frijoles Paisas o Antioqueños, this dish comes from the Antioquia region, and is a super-traditional side dish. It’s made with cranberry beans, pork, carrots and plantains, stewed with aromatic veggies like onions, garlic and tomatoes, as well as herbs and spices including cilantro and cumin.
Get the full recipe from My Colombian Recipes.
Mexican Refried Beans
You’d be hard-pressed to find any Mexican restaurant in the United States that doesn’t offer some form of refried beans. They’re used almost as a condiment for many meals, and we absolutely understand why. Smooth, creamy and packed with flavor, they are made with already prepared beans, so if you aren’t making the dry beans from scratch with aromatics, and using canned beans instead, make sure you simmer them with some onion, garlic, bell peppers and spices before you start frying and mashing them.
Get the full recipe from Mexico In My Kitchen.
Dominican Habichuelas Con Dulce
Habichuelas con dulce is a traditional bean dish from the Dominican Republic that so many Dominicans associate with their abuelas home cooking. It’s just the sort of recipe that we should all be trying to learn because if we don’t, our families may lose something that many hold near and dear to their hearts. It’s actually a dessert that is made with red beans, several different milks, sweet potato and spices, including cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s one of those recipes that if you haven’t tried, once you do you’ll understand the hype.
Get the full recipe from Chef Zee Cooks.
Peruvian Beans With Escabeche Sauce
Peruvian escabeche sauce is a thing of magic that is traditionally served with chicken, fish or beans, in which case, it makes for an excellent vegetarian option. The dish is prepared with canary or lima beans that are mixed into a slightly spicy, vinegary sauce that tastes even better the longer it sits. The sauce is made with olive oil, onions, garlic, peppers, spices and herbs and vegetable broth.
Get the full recipe from Peru Delights.
Brazil’s national dish is feijoada, a rib-sticking stew of black beans and several different types of meat, including bacon, spicy sausage, salted beef, Brazilian sausage and aromatics like, onion, garlic, orange and bay leaves.The ingredients are sautéed and stewed in various stages and then a portion of the beans is mashed to make the stew ultra thick and creamy.
Get the full recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine.
Chilean Porotos Granados
Chilean porotos granados is a very typical bean dish that is served in Chilean households. Made with cranberry beans, pumpkin or squash, and interestingly…basil. It also includes onions, garlic and cumin, like many other Latin American bean recipes. There’s no meat products in this one, so it’s also a great option if your a vegetarian or are cooking for one.
Get the full recipe from Mi Diario de Cocina.
Puerto Rican Garbanzos Guisado
Garbanzo beans (chick peas), are actually used quite often in Puerto Rican cuisine. In their simplest form, they are prepared guisado-style, in a tomato-based sauce similar to habichuelas guisadas, but usually without the potatoes. Super-traditional recipes use pig’s feet in this dish, but you can use ham, bacon or even ham hock for flavor instead.
Get the full recipe from Delish D’Lites.