Black Bean Stew with Salsa

Inspiration / Food & Wine

The Ultimate Autumn Stew: Black beans with salsa


Steve Farrow Steve Farrow

Matching vegetarian dishes with red wine ought not to be that difficult, but there does seem to be a sense that white (or rosé) wines are a better default mode. Is this because there's an underlying assumption that veggie dishes are light and inconsequential – bland even? Admittedly there isn't the tooth and claw chew of protein and fat that you get from meat, which shows many red wines in a flattering light. But with the plethora of ingredients easily available to jazz up the simplest of dishes, surely reds need not be off the list for veggie food? As with any wine match it is really about the dominant flavours and textures of a dish, and their depth and richness, enhanced or created by the spices or other umami (savoury) elements the cook has introduced. This should guide where your hand comes to rest when picking a suitable bottle.

So, asked to come up with a recipe for a bold, powerful Spanish red, I hit upon a black bean stew. The deep, earthy flavours of the dish, complemented by a tangy salsa, pair well with the big, ripe black-fruit flavours of this deliciously rich tempranillo, and no bull (or other beast) need otherwise feature for your flavour or protein hit.

Steve Farrow, Wine Information Editor

Black Bean Stew with Salsa


For the stew:
1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 stick of celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
½ pint/300ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
Pinch of chilli flakes or cayenne (or more if you like heat)
1 lime, ½ of it cut into wedges, the other half retained for the salsa (or 2 limes if serving more than two people)
Salt and black pepper
Handful of fresh, chopped coriander for scattering
Sour cream for dolloping (optional)

For the salsa:
2 large tomatoes, deseeded and diced (you can skin them if you like but it looks prettier if the skin is on and glistening in the dressing and juices)
½ red onion, peeled and finely diced
Lime juice from half of the lime (see above)
Handful chopped coriander
½ clove of garlic, crushed (if you're not such a fan of garlic just rub the cut clove around the inside of the bowl you are going to mix the salsa in)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely diced (optional)
A good pinch of salt and black pepper


Black bean stew ingredients

Heat the oil in a big saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat and then sauté the celery and onion until just softened and translucent. If you like you can let the onion brown a little, but not burn, for a bit of extra flavour. Add the red and green pepper and cook for five minutes over the same heat to soften them. Add the garlic and cook for two or three minutes more, but don't let the garlic burn.

Add the ground coriander and cinnamon, smoked paprika, the chilli or cayenne and the tomato purée and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tinned tomatoes, the stock and the oregano and bubble for 20 minutes or so to let the flavours amalgamate and the stew to thicken a little. Then add the black beans and cook for five more minutes, so that the beans are heated through but not allowed to go mushy.

While the stew is cooking and before the black beans are added you have time to knock together the salsa. Once you've done the prep (dicing, crushing, chopping etc.) it couldn't be simpler. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Voila! Alternatively, make it well ahead of the stew to allow all the flavours to combine.

Serve the stew in bowls with a dollop of sour cream (if liked), a scattering of coriander, a lime wedge and the salsa on the side. To make even more of a meal of it serve with the rice of your choice cooked simply as a foil to the deep, dark and earthy flavours of the stew.

Steve Farrow writes recipes to go with our Wine Without Fuss wine selections.

Members' Comments (2)

"Excellent recipe, which went down very well with my rather demanding vegetarian family. Would also work well with couscous or flatbread."

Dr Roger S Crisp (21-May-2018)

"This was a smash hit with a non-vegetarian but vegetarian-friendly audience. I re-read the recipe several times as cinnamon looked like an unlikely ingredient but it is the key to elevating this result above your average bean stew. It worked well with a variety of beans and would probably work just as well outside of autumn! It would also work well without the salsa as we felt that was unnecessary, much as we like salsa. Nice one, Steve."

Mr Tony O'Grady (15-May-2020)

Want more inspiration?

Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.


4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.