Black Bean Chili | CUESA

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market »

OPEN! Sat 8am–2pm | Tue & Thu 10am–2pm

Mission Community Market »

OPEN! Thu 3pm–7pm

Black Bean Chili


Christine Farren, CUESA’s Administrative and Event Manager.

  This recipe was developed and priced as part of CUESA’s Farmers’ Market Cooking on a Budget e-letter feature on March 13, 2009.

This is a variation on a recipe given to me by my mother-in-law, who is a professional chef. It is my favorite batch cooking meal, as it freezes well and has a large payoff for the 2 hours I spend in the kitchen.  It is also the gift I bring to everyone who has just had a baby and the meal I like to bring to potlucks. It’s vegetarian (can even be vegan if you don’t add cheese or crème fraîche) but is still hearty and filling.

Serves 13

Price Breakdown:
Total = $36.75
or around $2.83 per serving (not including pantry items)
Plus around $.50 a serving with cheese and $.25 a serving with crème fraîche


3 bags Rancho Gordo beans, about 3 lbs before soaking. ($5 each for a total of $15. I used two Midnight black beans and 1 Vaquero)
2 yellow onions (organic, from Catalán Family Farm, $1.50)
4 cloves garlic (Chue’s Farm, $.050)
1 sweet bell pepper (from Happy Quail Farms, $1)
1 small bunch parsley (organic, Dirty Girl Produce, $1.50)
1-2 jalapeños or other hot peppers, or 1 teaspoon chopped dried chile (I used dried chiles de arbol from Rancho Gordo, $0.25)
3-5 fresh long green chili peppers (e.g. Serrano), peeled and seeded (organic, $5)
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or a 32-ounce jar crushed Italian tomatoes. (organic, from Happy Girl Kitchen, $10)
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder (Rancho Gordo, $0.75)
2 cups tomato juice or water
Cilantro for garnish, optional (Everything Under the Sun, $1.25)
1 cup grated cheese (optional)
½ cup crème fraîche (optional)


  1. Start in a few hours ahead by soaking the beans in a large pot, covering them by about an inch of water.

  2. When you’re ready to start cooking, turn the heat up until it boils, then reduce to a simmer and cook until done, around an hour.
  3. Chop the onion into a medium dice. Mince the garlic. Slice the sweet bell peppers in half, remove the seeds and then cut into ½ inch squares. Finely chop the parsley. Mince the jalapeño or other hot pepper.
  4. Place the fresh long green chile peppers on a rack in the broiler or over direct falme on the stovetop. Turn as blisters form and the chile peppers char in spots. When they are uniformly blistered place in a plastic bag and seal tightly for 20 minutes. Rinse under running water and slip off the skin. Cut in half lengthwise then carefully remove the seeds. Chop the chile pepper into ½ inch squares.
  5. Heat the oil in a 9 quart stock pot or Dutch oven. Sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes and add the garlic. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the red and green bell pepper, long green peppers, jalapeño peppers and the parsley. Add the cooked beans, tomatoes, salt, cumin, oregano chile powder, tomato juice and the water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for 40 minutes. Serve in a shallow bowl with cheese, crème fraîche and/or cilantro sprigs for garnish.



CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »