Habichuela is a Spanish word for “bean.” Habichuelas are composed primarily of all kinds of beans and they greatly vary depending on which country or region of Central America you are in.
The word can include certain kinds of beans if you are in Puerto Rico or exclude certain kinds of beans if you are in the Dominican Republic.
Below, we breakdown our favorite uses and recipes of the wonderfully scrumptious Habichuelas.
There’s plentiful amount of reasons why we love Habichuelas. The dish is delicious, full of flavor, and undeniably reminiscent of cultures lived.
Habichuela is seemingly exotic in the Americas but can be widely found throughout Puerto Rico and Central American countries.
Top 7 Habichuela Recipes
Time: 20 minutes
1-tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sofrito sauce
1 packet sazon seasoning
2 cups cooked pinto beans, drained
1 ½ cups water
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
To make this traditional Habichuela Puerto Rican side dish, you will need the following ingredients listed above and an attitude of discovery. This recipe is super simple to make and is a perfect side dish for carne guisadas or a meat dish. First you will heat your olive oil over low heat.
Next, you will add your tomato sauce, sofrito, sazon and pepper.
Then stir in your drained pinto beans, water and salt. Increase the heat to a medium temperature and cook for fifteen minutes.
Cook until the beans and mixture becomes a thicker sauce- like texture and then serve warm over a bed of rice (optional).
Habichuelas con Dulce
Time: 2 hours
4 cups soft-boiled red kidney beans (or pinto or cranberry beans)
6 cups water leftover from boiling the beans
2 cups coconut milk
3 cups evaporated milk
½ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks
½ pound sweet potatoes, but into small pieces
½ cup raisins
8 pieces cassava bread (optional)
1-cup milk cookies
1 teaspoon salted butter
Put the beans and the water in which they were boiled into a blender and puree. After you puree the beans and bean water, strain the bean to separate and get rid of the skins and undissolved solid matter.
Pour the bean puree, coconut milk, evaporated milk, salt, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and sweet potatoes into a big pot and simmer over low heat. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are cooked through, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.
Next up, add your raisins, and simmer for approximately ten minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and the cloves too (optional to remove cloves). Remove the entire dish from the heat and cool to room temperature. This process will allow the cream of beans to thicken and get to a perfect consistency.
Chill your habichuelas con Dulce before serving. This dish can be served with cassava bread and butter or cookies inside the beans.
Red Beans and Rice
Time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 to 6
1-tablespoon olive oil
1 strip bacon
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped acorn squash
1-tablespoon tomato paste
1 large chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
½ cup water
1-15 ounce can red beans, drained
White rice, recipe included
¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
2 cups water
1-tablespoon olive oil
1-teaspoon kosher salt
1-cup medium-grain white rice
For the rice, bring water to boil over high heat inside of a medium pot. Stir in the rice and cover with a lid. Let rice cook over medium low heat for approximately twenty minutes. Lower the heat for the last five minutes until the rice is soft and fluffy. If you have a rice cooker/ steamer, definitely use this for the rice! Next up, let us cook some fabulous red habichuelas.
Using a medium saucepan, heat up your oil and chopped bacon over medium heat. Stir in your garlic, bell pepper, squash, tomato paste, bouillon cube and water.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce your heat and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer this mixture for about ten minutes.
Add the beans and then simmer for another twenty minutes. Serve the red beans over the rice and garnish with cilantro.
Time: 1 hour
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 ounces of diced lean cured ham (jamón de cocinar)
1 can of pinto beans (29 oz.)
1 can of tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1 packet of sazon
2 tablespoon of sofrito
7 olives (pimento stuffed preferably)
1 teaspoon of capers
2 cubed medium size potatoes
1 can of water (8 oz.)
In a large sized saucepan, start cooking the ham on medium heat. Add the sofrito and sauté the ham and sofrito for three minutes.
Then, add your tomato sauce, sazon, olives and capers. Stir the mixture and sauté for two more minutes.
Add your beans, potatoes and water. Stir graciously and turn heat to medium high. When the mixture beings to boil, cover with a lid and return to low heat. Simmer on low heat for twenty minutes. Serve warm.
Dominican Black Bean Soup
Time: 6 hours
2 pounds washed black beans
1 pounds diced white onions
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces chopped celery
1 pound white rice
½ pound Cuban or Anaheim peppers
½ bunch fresh cilantro
Wash your black beans and let them soak overnight. Next, make your sofrito. Sofrito is a simple mixture of sautéed garlic, onions, celery and peppers.
Bring your beans to a boil and add your homemade sofrito. Add your fresh cilantro and gently simmer your soup for a total of four hours. Serve warm and enjoy.
If you want to make a cream of black bean soup, you cans simply puree your soup until smooth. This Dominican black bean soup is typically served with boiled white rice and topped with diced onions.
This is a Dominican Republic staple and habichuelas are found in almost all Central American dishes.
Puerto Rican Roasted Chicken: Adela’s Homage
Time: 4 hours
Serves: 4 to 6
5 garlic cloves
Kosher salt, to taste
1-tablespoon ground annatto
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Pinch of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 whole chicken (up to five pounds)
1 medium onion cut in half
White rice to serve
Habichuelas to serve
Use a mortar and pestle to mash your garlic and sea salt until it becomes a paste. Add your ground annatto, paprika, cumin, pepper, oregano and oil and mix it all together.
In a small sized bowl, combine vinegar and a juice of half a lemon together and then add this mix to the mortar’s mixed you have already mixed tougher.
Rub your mixture all over your chicken, making sure that you rub the marinade under the skin. Pour the rest of your lemon’s juice into the chicken cavity and place the onion halves in the cavity.
Be sure to tuck the chicken wings underneath the bird. Let the chicken soak for an hour or even overnight if you want that extra flavor.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Season your chicken with kosher salt and roast your chicken for thirty minutes.
Then use the pan juices to baste your chicken and feel free to add more olive oil. Continue to roast the chicken, taking it out to baste it every half hour.
Do this until a thermometer inserted inside of it equals 160 degrees. This will take 75 to 90 minutes. Let the chicken rest for ten minutes and serve with your warm white rice and habichuelas.
Time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 large can black beans, drained
1 green bell pepper
½ sweet onion, chopped
6 ounces light beer
1-tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the garlic in the oil for fifteen seconds. Stir in the green pepper and onion and cook and stir for ten minutes. Pour in your light beer and black beans and simmer until the soup becomes thick, or about fifteen minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve warm.
Get With Habichuela!
Habichuelas dish is a staple in Central American culture. It incorporates anything including beans – red beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, green beans, and all of the beans.
From red beans and rice to cream of beans – “Habichuelas con Dulce” – we hope that these recipes inspired you to get back to your roots or completely step out of your food comfort zone and try something new!
Either way, these habichuela dishes will bring you comfort, yumminess, and a chance to taste authentic Central American culture.