Classic Red Beans (Frijoles)

In honor of Latinx Heritage month, our team is sharing a delicious family recipe that pairs perfectly with Ribera del Duero wines! From Mexico to Chile, beans are a staple of Latinx cuisine, and bragging rights for the best recipes are hotly contested between countries. Our featured recipe hails from Colombia, where red beans are one of the most enjoyed bean types, and usually prepared with warm spices such as cumin. They accompany many dishes as a side or can be the main star when served with grains or root vegetables.

Beans are all about flexibility and abundance. This is a base recipe; you can easily use the leftovers in salads (rinse first) or cook them into rice with coconut milk and scallion for another Colombian staple – Arroz con Coco. Overnight soaking eliminates the need for a slow cooker or Instapot. You can also top with cubed green plantain or slices of sweet yellow plantain (both should be fried).  Substitute grated green plantain for the grated carrot if preferred. This recipe is vegan, but red beans are typically served with chorizo, pork belly or another type of meat. It’s all about what you like. Fresh cilantro, avocado, and rice alongside are a must!

A smoky tempranillo from Ribera del Duero will work nicely with the spices. Look for a medium-bodied style with soft fruit to complement the texture and flavor profile of the beans.

Beans with pork meat served with avocado and patacon on traditional black ceramic dishes


  • ½ pound red beans (dry measure)- Soak 12 hours, discarding and replacing water at least 3 times
  • 1 tablespoon oil (grapeseed or olive oil)
  • 1 Spanish onion, cut in half
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut in half
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 grated carrots (using large holes on a box grater)
  • 1 ripe tomato – diced and separate from above tomato
  •  2 scallions – thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • For serving: cilantro, avocado, red onion


  1. When soaking is complete, drain and rinse beans thoroughly.
  2. In a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat oil over high heat. When shimmering, add beans and stir, then add enough water to cover at least 2 inches over.
  3. Add half the white onion, thyme, bay leaves, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a low simmer and add the halved tomato, coriander and cumin, cover and simmer for 45-60 min, depending on the texture you prefer (less time for a firmer bean).  Keep an eye out to make sure beans do not dry out.
  5. While beans are simmering, prepare carrot mixture. In a bowl, mix grated carrots with remaining diced tomato and scallion.
  6. In the last 10 min of simmering, remove thyme, bay leaf, and large pieces of onion.
  7. Add salt and prepared carrots. Stir. Let cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add brown sugar and tomato paste and stir thoroughly. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste, adjust salt to your liking, keeping in mind what you will serve with the beans.  Coriander and cumin can be adjusted at this point, if desired.
  9. Serve over white or brown rice, with sliced avocado, thinly sliced red onion, or scallion and sprinkled with fresh cilantro.

Serves 4

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