How to transform ordinary canned or cooked beans into a healthy restaurant-quality side dish in minutes: make them with Mesa de Vida’s Recipe Starter Sauces!

Use any flavor of our sauces, and any canned or cooked bean you have on hand for an instant meal upgrade. Enjoy these tasty and healthy braised beans as a side dish, or as a vegetarian entree over cooked rice. Either way, your tastebuds will be going on a delicious adventure!

High in fiber and nutrients, low in calories, sodium, and gluten free, Mesa de Vida makes it easy for you to create a bean-a-licious, flavor-packed side dish or main entree that practically cooks itself!

healthy and delicious bowl of Smoky Latin flavored braised black beans

Some of my favorite bean and sauce combinations, and how to transform canned beans into a main entree.

  • If you’d like to make this a meaty-main-entree, start the recipe by cooking diced chicken, chopped bacon, or any ground meat/ground meat alternative before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. This makes a quick-chili-like meal that is hearty and healthy. (Add diced sweet potato, bell peppers, or butternut squash for even more flavor and nutrition!) Serve over hot cooked rice, couscous, cauliflower rice, or serve it up as a stew.
  • Some of my favorite flavor combinations are:
    • Black beans, Kidney beans or Pinto beans + our Smoky Latin flavor Recipe Starter Sauce. (Add in some frozen corn when braising for incredible black bean & corn tacos!)
    • Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans + our North African or Caribbean flavor Recipe Starter Sauce
    • Red beans, Blackeyed Peas + our Creole flavor Recipe Starter Sauce (here is a great story behind the Creole red bean and rice tradition from one of my favorite bean companies Camellia brand)
    • Cannellini beans or Garbanzo beans + our Mediterranean flavor Recipe Starter Sauce (here is a recipe for a Greek-inspired dish)
    • Love lentils? They work great as well! Use dried lentils in a ratio of 2 cups lentils to 6 cups of water plus 1 cup of Mesa de Vida Recipe Starter Sauce of your choice. Simmer on low for 1 hour or until the lentils are tender and most of the flavorful liquid has been soaked up.
    • Prefer to cook your own beans instead of using canned? One of my favorite bean and legume companies is Rancho Gordo. I love to cook up a big batch of just-cooked-through beans every month or so in my Instant Pot and keep the well-drained beans in 2 cup containers in the freezer.

I hope you love our braised bean recipe, and I hope they bring a lot of life to your table!

Chef Kirstens signature
Black bean and corn vegetarian taco recipe
Watch me make this on the replay of our LIVE virtual cook-a-long I host weekly over on our Instagram platform!
braised canned black beans

Choose-Your-Flavor-Adventure Braised Beans

Use any one of Mesa de Vida's Recipe Starter Sauces to transform ordinary canned beans into a gourmet side dish or entree! Upgrade your pantry staples into a flavor adventure when you Make It With Mesa de Vida!
Servings 4 -8 servings


  • 2 cans cooked beans of your choice, approximately 3-4 cups black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans/chickpeas, cannelini beans – any beans work!
  • 1/4 cup about 3 heaping tablespoons, Mesa de Vida Recipe Starter Sauce – any flavor
  • 1/2 cup liquid of your choice – I like to use low-sodium broth, but water also works. *Another great flavor combo – use beer if you're making this recipe with our Smoky Latin flavor Recipe Starter Sauce!
  • salt and hot sauce to taste our Recipe Starter sauces are extremely low in sodium, so you can season to your own tastes/health needs.


  • Add all of the ingredients into a saucepan, stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then lower the heat to low and cover. Cook 10-15 minutes until the beans are as soft as you like them to be, and the flavorful liquid has soaked into the beans.
  • Enjoy!

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