Arepas with Spicy Black Beans

Arepas with Spicy Black Beans

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From: EatingWell Magazine, December 2019

These corncakes are a common style of flatbread in Colombia and Venezuela. Arepas are made with precooked cornmeal and served warmed with butter or cheese, or split open and filled, or topped, as we've done here. Our arepas filling is loaded with fragrant spices and vegetables to elevate the dish.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 1 cup yellow masarepa (precooked cornmeal; see Tip)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 tablespoons corn oil, divided
  • 1 large poblano, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco


  • Prep

  • Ready In

  1. Combine masarepa, water and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Stir until a smooth dough forms. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add poblano and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in beans and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
  3. Meanwhile, divide the dough into 4 balls and press into disks 4 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 of the arepas and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining 1½ tablespoons oil and dough.
  4. Top the arepas with some of the bean mixture and cheese. Garnish with more cilantro and serve with lime wedges, if desired.
  • Tip: Masarepa, precooked cornmeal, can be found in well-stocked grocery stores. Don't swap in masa harina (used to make tortillas). It won't give the same light texture.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 arepa, ¾ cup bean mixture & 1 Tbsp. cheese
  • Per serving: 420 calories; 16 g fat(3 g sat); 7 g fiber; 57 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 5 mcg folate; 6 mg cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 583 IU vitamin A; 12 mg vitamin C; 122 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 463 mg sodium; 511 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Iron (28% daily value), Vitamin C (20% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 4
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 2½ fat, 1½ vegetable, 1 lean protein

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