Heart Healthy Colombian-Style Beans

My husband is from Colombia and you know no one can make beans like his grandmother did.  In fact, as a child, he would only eat her cooking.  No one else’s.  Nowadays, he is not so picky.  He’ll eat beans, but he really loves Colombian-style beans.  For him, only red kidney beans will do.  He likes them with green plantain shredded into the pot to thicken the liquid.  Actually, his favorite part is the liquid.  He also likes them cooked with pigs feet.  These are not those beans.

Heart Healthy Colombian Style Beans

Fast forward to now and Grandma is long gone and my husband, due to health issues, cannot digest meat very well.  I wanted to treat him to some Colombian tasting food, but still keep it healthy for him.  I did use canned beans, but rinsed them to remove some of the salt.  It would be better to make your own, but that isn’t always feasible.  Instead of flavoring them with meat, I used some low-salt chicken bouillon.  But the biggest impact on flavor comes from using fresh cilantro.  You don’t need a lot, but they are what gives that unique flavor that is Grandma.

Hearth Healthy Colombian-Style Beans


  • 2 15-ounce cans of beans (use red kidney, small red, pinto, roman, or a mix)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 packet sazon con achiote (Goya)
  • 1/4 cup hogao (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 packet sazon con achiote (Goya brand)
  • 1/16 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt to taste


Rinse beans under cold water and drain well.  Place in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.  Add 4 cups of water, chicken flavoring, cumin, and hogao.  Cook, covered, for an hour, adding water if needed for desired consistency.  We like our beans soupy, you may not.

Add the cilantro during the last 15 minutes or so of cooking.  Add salt to taste, but try not to use much.

To make the hogao (which is a sofrito), just heat the oil in a skillet, stir in the ingredients, one at a time.  Continue to cook until the tomatoes break down and release their liquid.  It will be like a mush.

Unused portions can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.  Use to flavor rice, soups, or stews.  For longer storage, place in ice cube trays.  Let freeze, then pop out and store in a freezer bag.