Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

Frijoles is the generic Spanish term for beans, but caraotas refers specifically to black beans, the most common variety on South American and Caribbean tables. These beans cook down to create a thick and rich sauce—good to serve over Venezuelan White Rice or arepas. Make the beans up to a day ahead; you may need to add a little water when reheating, as the mixture thickens with time.


How to Make It

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar, garlic, black pepper, and cumin; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup water and beans; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar.

Ratings & Reviews

veryslowcook's Review

December 08, 2013
Decent black bean side dish that we served with homemade pork tamales. I skipped the brown sugar for personal taste. It came out a bit more liquidy than I had expected.

noelle71's Review

April 20, 2013

davidz's Review

March 15, 2013
I really liked the beans a lot. They needed some salt though. I served the beans over plain white rice.

teddachef's Review

February 10, 2013

Kimmimz's Review

January 08, 2013
These were so simple and incredibly delicious! They reminded me of the beans I'd eat in South Florida. Even my 8-year-old son, who "hates" black beans, asked for seconds! To me that means this is a winner! I did use 3 cans of beans undrained so omitted the water and added some vegetable bouillon to the sautéed veggies. I also used a hand immersion blender to thicken up the beans into a super saucy pot. Other than that made as directed. A Keeper!

Clobberella422's Review

October 13, 2012
Really good, simple recipe that takes only a few minutes to prepare. I only used the liquid from one can of beans and did not need to add any extra water. I also used a lot more cumin than called for, used lime juice instead of the vinegar, and yes, added salt. I don't think I've ever made any kind of beans without adding salt, and find it strange how many people have bemoaned the fact, on this particular recipe, that salt-less beans might be bland. Adding a little salt and a little extra spice makes them definitively not bland.

ChefLeesher's Review

April 04, 2012
This is my go-to black bean recipe. I use green pepper instead, add a bay leave, and leave out the sugar. The vinegar at the end is key, without it the flavors tend to muddle.

CookingLady's Review

March 07, 2012
Bland! I really wanted to like this recipe and thought with the onion, garlic and spices it would be a hit. Followed the recipe exactly, however it was tasteless. Ended up having to add more vinegar, cumin, garlic and SALT (which I don't like to add)! The texture was nice though, and as the beans sat on the stove waiting for me to prepare the fish tacos, I ended up having to add more water as the recipe suggested.

gcatkids's Review

October 21, 2011
Already a fan of black beans and this recipe elevated them to another level. Skipped the vinegar. Don't know that canned beans can get any better than this. Very easy to make.

jb1963's Review

September 07, 2011
I didn't have any green pepper, or fresh garlic (fresh back from vacation) used about a 1/2 tsp of garlic powder for 1 can of beans, added an extra 1/2 cup water to the half recipe, and then added dry rice to the mix before I covered it. I added about a 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, too and a bay leaf, omitted the vinegar, and topped with red hot sauce. Yum! ( I served it with green beans and a lightly fried piece of tilapia dipped in an egg bath a rice flour, It was a lovely meal)