Make Ahead

My Favorite Black Bean Dip

February  5, 2015
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

This recipe is based on a dish that a dear friend of mine would make while we were in grad school. She always made a gigantic bowl of this for her dinner parties and I would unashamedly devour most of it! It was by far the best black bean dip I had ever had -- it had the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and sour, with a hint of coffee at the end which made it irresistible!

This is a Costa Rican bean dip -- my friend made it with canned refried beans, chicken consommé, and Lizano sauce but I have adapted it here to make it vegetarian with homemade refried beans. The whole dish comes together in minutes -- an absolute necessity when all my cooking has to synchronize with a newborn's nap schedule! It also helps that this dip can be used to make all kinds of tacos, nachos, and burritos. We made our veggie quesadillas last night using this and it was a hit! —Madhuja

Test Kitchen Notes

This bean dip is as addictive as Madhuja says it is! The small amounts of coffee and sugar add unmistakable bitterness and sweetness that really complement each other and the more traditional flavors of the dip. It’s difficult to restrain yourself from taking just one more bite. I loved a) how quickly it came together and b) it’s variety of uses. I dipped tortilla chips in it, spread it on toast with eggs, and made a quesadilla with it -- all were excellent. —duclosbe1

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes about 2 cups
  • 1 30-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon vegetable base (I use Better than Bouillon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 dashes hot sauce, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee or 1/2 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in 1/4 cup of hot water
In This Recipe
  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat and sauté the onions until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the jalapeño, garlic, cumin, oregano, and vegetable base and sauté for a few more minutes. Add the beans and let everything sizzle in the hot butter for a few minutes. Add sugar and hot sauce and mix everything well.
  2. Dump everything in a food processor, add the coffee, and blend until smooth. Adjust for seasoning. Set aside for a couple of hours for the flavors to meld. Dig in with chips or add to burritos, tacos, or my personal favorite: quesadillas!
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