You’re looking at some really good slow-cooked beans here. They’re simmered until extra tender in a brilliant red broth tempered with coconut milk toward the end. The broth hums with a strong cinnamon, chipotle, and tomato foundation punctuated with cayenne pepper and Thai chiles. The broth thickens as it cooks enveloping the beans over the course of an hour or two. Make a pot and use them throughout the week!
How To Serve Slow-Cooked Coconut Beans
I love these beans soupy and straight, just after I make a fresh pot - drizzled with a bit of extra coconut milk. All bets are off after that. The flavors concentrate overnight and the broth thickens. These beans are great on tacos. You can use them in place of chickpeas in a favorite bean or veggie burger. Or make them a foundation component in a lunch bowl.
- Quesadillas: Make a quesadilla with a side of the coconut beans topped with salted yogurt, lots of sliced scallions, toasted cashews and a big squeeze of lemon.
- Grain Bowl: (pictured below) Serve a cup of your favorite rice and/or grain blend with the coconut beans on the side, drizzle with extra full-fat coconut milk. Top with sesame seeds and a bit of citrus olive oil and/or hot sauce.
- Make it a Soup: Add more water and coconut milk at the end, re-season and enjoy as a pot of soup.
Choosing Your Beans
I like to make these coconut beans with Santa Maria Pinquito beans. They deliver a robust broth that stands up beautifully to all the spices here. That said, I think King City Pink beans might work beautifully with their thinner skins and creamy tenderness. I can also imagine Mantequilla and Buckeye beans working nicely if you have either of those on hand.
Slow-Cooked Coconut Beans Video
This is a quick video to demonstrate how these beans come together.
As this recipe evolved over the course if this year, I landed on a spice blend that leans pretty hard into the feistiness of ground cinnamon and of a range of chile peppers. That said, there are a thousand other directions you could take the spice profile here while leaving many of the other ingredients in place. I could imagine a version heavy on caraway, and then you could introduce some chopped celery with the onion at the start. Basically, if you can imagine something being delicious alongside tomato and coconut milk, you shouldn't be shy about trying it out.
More Bean Recipes
I did a post a couple years back with ten of my favorite bean recipes, but wanted to note there are a couple stand-outs that are constantly on repeat in my kitchen. In particular, this is how I like to make refried beans. Look here if you're looking for a good basics write-up on how to cook beans. And, if you're a giant bean fan, please(!) give these Giant Chipotle Baked Beans a try. They're so so so good.
Chipotle Cinnamon Slow-Cooked Coconut Beans
I like to make these coconut beans with Santa Maria Pinquito beans. They deliver a robust broth that stands up beautifully to all the spices here. That said, I think King City Pink beans might work beautifully with their thinner skins and creamy tenderness. I can also imagine Mantequilla and Buckeye beans working nicely if you have either of those on hand. I also like to use fire-roasted crushed tomatoes here, but don’t be dissuaded if straight roasted tomatoes are what you have. And I've been using this homemade bouillon powder in place of commercial bouillon.
- 1 pound dried Santa Maria Pinquito beans, soaked overnight
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onions, finely diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 14- ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bouillon cube or 1 tablespoon homemade bouillon powder
- 4 dried Thai chiles
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
Drain the beans and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the onions and cook until soft, 5 minutes or so. Stir in the garlic and crushed tomatoes, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, adobo sauce and cinnamon, and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the bouillon, the beans, 6 cups of water, and the Thai chiles.
Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring regularly, until the beans are wonderfully tender and the broth has reduced and thickened. You want a gentle simmer here because it usually takes between an hour or two for the beans to get that creamy tenderness you’re after. Stir in the salt and most of the coconut milk, a half cup or so.
Remove from the heat, wait 10 minutes or so, and serve drizzled with a bit more coconut milk.