This easy Peruvian Beans Recipe is your perfect budget-friendly weeknight dinner!
Tender, buttery mayocoba beans are well seasoned with bacon, garlic, tomato, spices and aji amarillo paste, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying meal you’ll want to put on repeat.
We’ve gotten hooked on Peruvian food lately. Of course there’s the famous Peruvian Roast Chicken with Aji Verde sauce. And then there’s the Peruvian-Chinese fusion dishes like Lomo Saltado and Arroz Chaufa.
This canary beans recipe may not have the same worldwide fame, but it’s the kind of simple, homestyle meal Andean villagers have probably eaten for centuries.
Why We Love this Recipe
- Rich and Complex Flavors: The combination of bacon, aji amarillo paste, and spices like cumin and oregano creates a deep, complex flavor profile.
- Heartiness and Nutrition: Peruvian beans are not only hearty and filling but also nutritious, being a good source of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients. When combined with the other ingredients, this dish becomes a well-rounded meal that can stand alone or be paired with sides.
- Culinary Adventure: The use of aji amarillo paste, a staple in Peruvian cuisine, provides an opportunity to explore and introduce new flavors in everyday cooking. It adds a unique twist to the dish, differentiating it from more common bean recipes.
- Budget Friendly: It’s hard to find a more inexpensive ingredient than beans.
- Versatility: This recipe is versatile and can be served in various ways – as a main dish, a side, or even as a filling for burritos or tacos. It pairs well with rice, making it a complete meal, or it can be enjoyed on its own, showcasing the beans and bacon as the stars of the show.
- Comfort Food Qualities: There’s a comforting quality to this dish, with its rich flavors and hearty nature. It’s perfect for a cozy dinner.
So What are Peruvian Beans?
Peruvian beans, also known as Canary beans or Mayocoba beans, are a variety of legume that is particularly popular in Peruvian and Mexican cuisine.
One of the key characteristics of Peruvian beans is their creamy texture once cooked, which makes them a favored ingredient in dishes that require a smooth, buttery consistency.
They are quite versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. They are commonly featured in soups, stews, and as a side dish. In Peruvian cuisine, they might be found in traditional dishes like “Tacu Tacu,” a type of bean and rice cake.
Their mild flavor and creamy texture make them a fantastic canvas for a range of seasonings and cooking styles.
- Peruvian Beans (Canary or Mayocoba Beans) – The star of the dish. Today we are using dried beans, but you can also use canned for a quicker meal.
- Bacon – Bacon adds a smoky, savory depth to the dish. You could also use salt pork or pancetta. For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use olive oil or butter to sauté the onion.
- Aromatics – Onion and garlic.
- Tomato – Both fresh and tomato paste for a combination of sweetness and depth.
- Aji Amarillo Paste – A key ingredient in Peruvian cooking. If you can’t find this paste locally (we found some in a specialty shop), it is readily available online.
- Seasonings – Oregano, cumin and bay leaf.
- Chicken Broth – This adds depth and richness to the dish. For vegetarian beans, use vegetable broth.
- Red Wine Vinegar – A splash of vinegar brightens the dish, cutting through the richness with its acidity and adding a slight tanginess. You could also substitute with other vinegar varieties, or lemon or lime juice.
Easy Canary Beans Recipe
1. Prep the beans: If using dry beans (which we are), they must first be soaked and cooked. You can find soaking and cooking instructions in the next section. Otherwise, continue to the next step.
2. Fry the bacon: In a large pot or dutch oven, fry diced bacon until it has crisped up. Remove the bacon to a plate, and remove all but about 2 Tbsp bacon grease from the pot.
3. Create the sauce: Add in diced onion and sauté until it has started to soften. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add diced tomato, tomato paste, aji amarillo paste, cumin, oregano, bay leaf and vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Finish the dish: Return beans and bacon to the pot along with chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until beans are tender to your liking, about 15 minutes.
How to Prepare Dried Beans
For an overnight soak, place beans in a large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours.
Alternately, you can use the quick soak method. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring the water to a rapid boil and let the beans boil for about 2-3 minutes. After boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a lid, and let the beans soak for about 1 hour.
After soaking, the beans must be cooked. Drain soaking water and fill pot with water such that there is at least 1 inch of water above the beans. Add 1 Tbsp salt and combine well. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 40 minutes.
A hearty meal on its own, we also love these beans alongside some rice. Or perhaps stick with the theme of indigenous Peruvian foods, and swap the rice for quinoa.
For garnishes, we love some cilantro and sliced avocado, along with some lime wedges for squeezing.
It would also be common to serve the beans with salsa criolla, a marinated red onion salad from Peru. Personally, I will abstain and leave that recipe for Alpana.
Leftovers and Storage
These mayocoba beans make great leftovers, and are perfect for meal prep. Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat on stove top over medium heat, or in the microwave, with a splash of additional water.
They also freeze well in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Just thaw overnight in the fridge the day before eating.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cooking the Beans: Make sure the beans are cooked until just tender before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Overcooking can make them mushy, while undercooking will leave them too firm.
- Bacon Fat: Don’t discard the removed bacon fat. That stuff is liquid gold, and can be used as the fat ingredient in other dishes to add flavor.
- Balancing Flavors: Adjust the seasoning as you cook. The aji amarillo paste can vary in heat, so taste as you add it. Also, a touch more vinegar or a pinch of sugar can balance the flavors if needed.
- Herbs and Spices: Fresh oregano can be used in place of dried if you have it on hand. Use three times the amount of fresh, as it is not as concentrated as dried.
- Customization: Feel free to add vegetables like bell peppers or carrots for added nutrition and flavor. You can also substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth for a vegetarian version.
Give your basic beans a south-of-the-equator makeover with this easy recipe, and see how simple ingredients can combine to make something wonderful.
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For more easy weeknight dinners, check out our hand picked collection of Dinner Ideas for Tonight. Until next time…
Peruvian Beans, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- ½ pound dried Peruvian beans (or 2 15oz cans)
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- ¼ medium white onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 2 Tbsp aji amarillo paste (see note 1)
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- For canned beans, drain and rinse them, then skip to step 3. Soak dried beans according to your preferred method (see note 1).
- Drain soaking water and fill pot with water such that there is at least 1 inch of water above the beans. A 1 Tbsp salt and combine well. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the beans are tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, fry diced bacon until it has crisped up. Remove the bacon to a plate, and remove all but about 2 Tbsp bacon grease from the pot.
- Add in diced onion and sauté until it has started to soften. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute.
- Add diced tomato, tomato paste, aji amarillo paste, cumin, oregano, bay leaf and vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Return beans and bacon to the pot along with chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until beans are tender to your liking, about 15 minutes.
- Serve beans on their own, or with rice and accompaniments.
- Aji Amarillo Paste is a key ingredient in Peruvian cooking. If you can’t find this paste locally (we found some in a specialty shop), it is readily available online.
- For an overnight soak, place beans in a large soup pot or dutch oven and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak at least 8 hours. Alternately, you can use the quick soak method. Place the beans in a large pot and cover them with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring the water to a rapid boil and let the beans boil for about 2-3 minutes. After boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a lid, and let the beans soak for about 1 hour.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 188Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 11mgSodium 614mgCarbohydrates 27gFiber 10gSugar 3gProtein 12g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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