Arepas with Spicy Black Beans


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.

Prep Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
4 servings


  • 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


  1. Combine masarepa, water and 1/4 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 1/4 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 1/2 inch thick. Heat 1 1/2 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 1 1/2 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 Facts (per serving)

420 Calories
16g Fat
57g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 1 arepa, 3/4 cup bean mixture & 1 Tbsp. cheese
Calories 420
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 11g 23%
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Vitamin A 583IU 12%
Vitamin C 12mg 14%
Folate 5mcg 1%
Sodium 463mg 20%
Calcium 122mg 9%
Iron 5mg 26%
Magnesium 49mg 12%
Potassium 511mg 11%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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