These beautifully spiced Instant Pot black beans with caramelised onions are vegan and gluten-free and would make a fantastic filling for tacos, a protein-rich main with rice, or as a side dish.
If you think a dish of black beans sounds bland and boring, think again! These Instant Pot black beans are prepared in a way that will make you fall in love with legumes all over again. The magical combination of sticky, fried onions, cherry tomatoes, garlic and warm spices takes plain ol’ beans to the next level.
Popular in Latin American cuisine, black beans are fantastic for meat-free cooking. They are high in protein, iron, magnesium and calcium, and full of fibre, which is beneficial for your gut health. And although legumes can create some digestive discomfort in some people, you can reduce that possibility by pre-soaking the dried beans before cooking them.
I like to serve these beans with a side of freshly made guacamole, salad, rice and some hot sauce for an extra kick. I always make a batch of these and use leftovers to make huevos rancheros (eggs with beans), as a filling for quesadillas or tacos, or in a salad.
Using an Instant Pot to cook the beans means that I can have this dish done in a fraction of time. While the beans are cooking, I prepare my special friend onions and the other side dishes.
The secret is the fried onion mixture. Brown onion is sliced and cooked gently in lashings of olive oil until it’s golden brown. It is then flavoured with spices, garlic and cherry tomatoes until it turns into sticky, caramelised goodness. It is this magic sauce/condiment that is used to flavour the beans when they are cooked.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can easily cook the beans on the stove top or use canned black beans as well, although I prefer to cook my own to avoid any additives and preservatives.
This recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan friendly (replace butter with more olive oil). For more delicious Instant Pot vegetarian and vegan recipes go here.
- 1 1/2 cups dried black beans
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 25 g butter (about 2 tablespoons, or 2 more tablespoons of olive oil)
- 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced or sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chilli or other chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano (I used fresh leaves but you can use dried as well)
- To serve: fresh lime, guacamole or sliced avocado, rice, salad of choice, salsa or hot sauce
- Pre-soak the beans in slightly salted water for at least 2-3 hours before cooking. I like to do a double soak, where you refresh the water half way through, but that’s not essential.
- Rinse the soaked beans and add them to the pressure cooker pot. Add 4 cups of water as well as the vegetable stock cubes. Adding the stock flavours the beans during the cooking process.
- Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press MANUAL (High Pressure) and set to 7 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
- Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then use the quick release to let off the rest of the steam.
- While the beans are cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and half of the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and salt, and stir. Sauté over medium heat for 6 minutes, stirring a few times, until softened and golden brown.
- Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook together for 2 more minutes, stirring a couple of times. Finally, add the spices and oregano, stir through and add an extra tablespoon of olive oil and butter. Once melted, stir and remove from the heat.
- Once the beans are ready, strain through a sieve and return to the pan with the onions. Stir through and serve with fresh lime on the side. That’s it!