Black beans and salsa make a tasty combo. The beans give the salsa heft, while the tomatoes, peppers and lime add a punch of flavor to beans that might otherwise go—well, let’s admit it–uneaten. So if you’ve always been reaching for pinto beans or refried beans at the grocery store, go ahead a pick up a can or two of black.

These smaller beans are just slightly harder than pinto. They also have a meatier flavor. Now I could also point out that black beans top pinto in terms of nutritional value and fiber content, but what I really like about them in this dish is the color—the shiny black color pops against the red tomato and the specks of green cilantro. So if you’re family usually shuns beans, this colorful combination might just convince them to give it a try.

Now a word about the chili peppers: First, I run the knife lengthwise across the pepper, then open it up and remove the seeds. Some people wear gloves to do this but I just make sure to wash my hands well after messing with the seeds. The oil from the seeds can sting if it gets in your eyes so be careful. I add the pepper in parts—1/4 at a time. It’s easy to add a little heat and a whole lot harder to take it out if you put in too much. I’d stir all the ingredients together, let it sit for half an hour, then add more if the heat isn’t enough. I save any extras in a small plastic baggy to put into other dishes. Also, while fresh is best, you can use pickled jalapeno peppers.


Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 1 1/2 cups


1 19.75-ounce can black beans (or similar size)

2 medium tomatoes

½ cup cilantro, chopped

2 limes (or one if it’s really juicy)

1 small onion

1 jalapeno or Serrano chili pepper

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drain the liquid from the black beans place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Chop the tomatoes and onion into small, uniformly sized pieces. Add them to the beans
  3. Remove the seeds from the pepper carefully then add ¼ to the mix. Test the heat level and add more until you reach the desired level.
  4. Squeeze the juice from two limes directly into the salsa.
  5. Add the cilantro, salt and pepper, stir and adjust seasonings, then serve with tortilla chips.
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