I was looking for a quick, meatless dish to make on a Sunday afternoon. Originally, I was looking for something to make with the roasted red peppers I recently bought. But as I was leafing through my copy of Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I came across this recipe for beer-glazed black beans and I was sold. Those who don’t like beer shouldn’t be scared of this dish. Unless you have some über sensitivity to it, I doubt you could detect the beer. It mixes with the honey and starches to create a thick texture. The beans have a savory flavor with a hint of sweetness and when served right off the stove top it is a delicious comfort food. And on a San Francisco day like today, when it was sunny but breezy (“jacket weather”) it was a treat.

For the beer I used stout (in particular, St. Peter’s Cream Stout) and I also chopped some whole peeled tomatoes (jarred) in step one.

My grandmother asked “What meat did you cook with your beans?” And when I told her I didn’t cook these beans with meat, she said “I’ve never heard of cooking beans without meat.” I don’t know if that’s a generational thing or a Texas thing but I don’t think anything was missing.


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup beer
  • 3 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained but moist, liquid reserved
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for about a minute, then add the beer, beans, chili powder, honey and some salt and pepper. If you are going to add tomatoes, do so at this step.
  2. Bring to a steady bubble and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately. Can also be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days.