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Black Beans


  • 1 lb. black beans, rinsed and sorted or
  • 2 16 oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small purple onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 4 jalapenos
  • 3 medium mangoes, slightly under-ripe, peeled
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • ½ c. bitter orange juice (also called Seville oranges, or naranja agria…sour orange) – approximately 4 oranges
  • juice of two limes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt


If you are using dried black beans, soak them overnight in enough water to cover them. The next day, replenish the water and cook until just tender, about 4 hours. Avoid overcooking; soft beans make a mushy salsa. Drain the cooked beans, and rinse under gently running water to remove any loose hulls. While the beans cool, prepare the other ingredients for the salsa. Dice the onion, the peppers, and the mangoes into pieces roughly the size of the black beans. When the beans have cooled to room temperature, mix the mangoes, onions, and peppers with the beans. Finely chop the cilantro, and stir it in. Add the orange and lime juices, and the cumin. Add salt and stir together, adjusting cumin and salt amounts to your taste.

Prepare one or two hours in advance, so flavors have a chance to mingle. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips, as a light salad, or as a relish alongside grilled pork or chicken. The salsa can be served chilled or at room temperature. Adapt this recipe to suit your own tastes and the availability of ingredients. Don’t like the heat of jalapenos? Use green bell pepper. Like more spice…? Add red serranos or jalapeños chiles in place of the red bell pepper, or, for the true chili fanatic, 2 or 3 habaneros or scotch bonnets. Can’t find naranja agria? …Use grapefruit juice, or for a sweeter taste, pineapple. Try papaya in place of mango.

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