Black Bean Skillet Dinner

An on-point, one pan, black bean skillet dinner from Melissa Clark's book, Dinner: Changing the Game. Topped with lime yogurt, avocado, and quick pickled red onions.

Black Bean Skillet Dinner

I'm not sure anyone loves a one pot dinner more than me. It's probably one of the reasons I'm so hung up on soups. At any rate, I'm alway on the lookout for inspired ideas related to the single pan approach, and was excited to come across a fantastic example of a hearty, satisfying, flavor-packed black bean skillet dinner in Melissa Clark's cookbook - Dinner: Changing the Game.

Black Bean Skillet Dinner topped with avocado and crema

Black Bean Skillet Dinner: The Inspiration

To be fair, I've flagged a lot of recipes in this book. Like many cooks, I love Melissa's recipes.  But, as in this case, it's even better when I don't need to make a run to the store. In this case you’re cooking a wonderful black bean base in a skillet, and then letting loose with a range of toppings. Think lime and garlic cream (or yogurt) dollops, and quick-pickled red onions. My guess is that many of you have a good chunk of the ingredients on hand, and you can see how it comes together in the video below!

Table set with black bean skillet filled with black beans and topped with avocado and crema

Let's Do Toppings

I forgot to mention in the video, but you can certainly make the pickled onions, and the crema up to a few days ahead of time. I mean, they come together in a flash, but sometimes its nice to be able to just grab for the special toppings. You can see a few other topping choices as well - cilantro, and ripe avocado. I don’t have lime wedges in my ingredient shot below, but 100% should have! It’s the perfect finishing touch!

Ingredients for cooking black bean skillet dinner including sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and red onions

Here’s what the cover of Melissa’s beautiful book looks like, and you can see the spread of this recipe as well. It’ll give you a sense of how the book and recipes are designed.

Melissa Clark's book Dinner: Changing The Game on a marble counterMelissa Clark's book Dinner: Changing The Game on a marble counter open to a recipe page

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Melissa Clark's Black Bean Skillet Dinner

5 from 1 vote

Melissa uses 3 cubanelle peppers, seeded and diced, added with the jalepeno - but they were the only ingredient I didn't already have on hand, I was too lazy to pop out to the store, and, really, it was no big deal.

For the crema:
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or minced
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
For the pickled onions:
  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the beans:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, if canned, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15- ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • to serve: avocado, cilantro, toasted pepitas, rice, lime wedges
Make the crema:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the lime zest, garlic, and yogurt. Season with the pinch of salt.
Make the pickled onion:
  1. In another small bowl, combine the lime juice, red onion, sugar, and salt. Let the mixture stand while you prepare the beans.

Cook the beans:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and jalapeño. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened and browned at the edges, a few minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and chili powder, and saute until the mixture smells garlicky, 1 to 2 minutes. Then stir in the black beans, tomatoes and juices, 2/3 cup of water, and the salt. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture has thickened a bit, ten minutes or so.
  2. To serve, spoon the beans into individual warmed bowls (over rice if you like). Top them with sliced avocado, dollops of the crema, pickled onions, cilantro, and pepitas.

Serves 4.

Slightly adapted from Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark (Ten Speed Press, 2017)

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Recipe Rating


I made this tonight - absolutely delicious. Love the combination with the crema and pickled onions.


I have been following you for about 3 years. I enjoy all your stuff, love the video's keep them coming Heidi. I made Melissa's BB skillet dinner. Very good, like the yogurt, garlic w/ lime or lemon. I will always have that on hand. I like Fa-yeh full fat yogurt. Like the red onions this way very much, did not use sugar xxxx, it was wonderful easy and delicious. And I like that you turn us on to other chefs and cook books, you are sweet and humble. Peace.

HS: Thanks Jermaine! So glad you liked it. And, yes!, I love spending time (and learning) with other cooks. Such a fan of Melissa's recipes & cooking style.


I made this tonight for my Mexican-food-loving carnivore boyfriend and we both loved it! Really delicious. Pickled onions and crema really topped it off.


I made this the other night for my two teenage boys and my husband - none of them are that keen on 'veggie' meals and all loved it!! The crema and the pickled onions made the dish. I didn't actually have any black beans so used a can of chickpeas and some beluga lentils. It was delicious. Thank you so much.

HS: So glad you all enjoyed it! :)


Your videos are something I look forward to. They are incredibly helpful too. I made a version of this as soon as I saw the recipe and it's delicious!

HS: Thanks for the encouragement Anjali! Thrilled you enjoyed the recipe :)

Anjali Shah

We have a nearly identical dish in India called Rajma, made with Kidney beans generally served with rice.


I definitely need to start making pickled onions, I make rice and beans often but I think the onions would kick it up a notch. Thanks. Also, is that your living room behind you? I love the clean, uncluttered look! I wish my home resembled that.

HS: Thank you Jean! It is, the TV "hides" in that cabinet ;)....


Heidi, I know my comment refers to a few posts ago, but last night I made the asparagus/coconut milk. It was AMAZING!!! So velvety smooth, subtle in favors, yet thoroughly engaging on the tongue! What a winner! Thank you for posing it. I've been receiving your blog since its earliest days and have made many of your recipes. Don't ever stop. The videos are fun and charming too as we finally get to see you "at work". You might enjoy a few videos of Peaceful Cuisine -- watching the Japanese "chef" is like a moving meditation. Whether you choose the versions with or without music they are intriguing and addictive -- never mind whether the food is deliciously subtle or not!

HS: Hi Angela - thank you for the nice note! I love that soup a lot too :)....And, YES, I subscribe to his videos - really beautifully done, and I love his kitchen. Have a great weekend!


Great recipe and a beautiful plate!


At first, I thought there is NO WAY I am going to pickle onions ahead of time. But if it can all be done in 20 minutes, then count me in. I will try this asap.

HS: Super quick! And they add that perfect tangy crunch + color :)

Taste of France

Looks great! And I'll definitely be adding that cookbook to my amazon wish list. Do you think this necessitates black beans specifically or would any bean (red, white, etc.) work with this recipe?

HS: Hi Tina - you can absolutely experiment with different beans!

Tina S.

gorgeous!! Who makes that dinner plate? Stunning x

HS: Thanks Melissa - flea market find! :)


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