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Black Bean Chili

Makes 8 cups
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Author "The Greens Cookbook" by Deborah Madison and Edward Espe Brown


  • 2 cups black beans , soaked overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried cayenne powder
  • 2-3 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions , diced
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar


  1. Rinse beans well, cover generously with water and let soak overnight. Next day, drain the beans, cover with fresh water by a couple of inches and bring them to a boil with the bay leaf.
  2. Let simmer as you prepare other ingredients.
  3. Heat a small heavy skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the cumin seeds, and when they begin to colour, add the oregano leaves, shaking the pan frequently so the herbs don't scorch.
  5. As soon as the fragrance is strong, remove the pan from the heat and add the paprika and cayenne.
  6. Stir; then remove from pan and grind in a mortar and pestle or herb grinder.
  7. Heat oil in a large skillet and sautée the onions until they soften.
  8. Add the garlic, salt and ground herbs, chili powder and cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  9. Add this mixture to the beans and, if necessary, enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch.
  10. Continue to cook until beans are very soft, about 1 hour, checking often and adding more water if necessary.
  11. Taste and season with red wine vinegar and additional salt if need be.
  12. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream and fresh cilantro.