Vegan Mexican Black Bean Stew Recipe with Amaranth

black bean stew with amaranth grain

This spicy stew recipe is packed with protein from black beans and amaranth grain.

Red peppers, beets and cilantro add color and flavor.  This special grain (technically a seed) was famously cultivated by the Aztecs and the nutritional benefits of amaranth are outstanding. Similar to quinoa, these tiny beads of protein fluff up when simmered in water in with a short cooking time. Amaranth is gluten-free and can have up to 8 grams of protein per serving.

amaranth grain

Like quinoa, amaranth can be bitter if not rinsed properly so make sure to soak the amaranth grain in a bowl of water for a minute before cooking. When cooked the consistency can be more gelatinous than quinoa and takes some getting used to. To get all the nutritional benefits without sacrificing flavor, throw some amaranth into a spicy black bean stew. Don’t forget to pre-soak the black beans overnight!

Amaranth is available in most health food stores and or online, but quinoa makes a suitable substitute for this recipe.

amaranth grain

Mexican Black Bean Stew Recipe with Amaranth Grain

Serves 8 


4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups dried black beans (soak overnight in 4 cups of water)
2 large tomatoes
1 cup amaranth
1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 yellow beet, peeled and chopped (red is fine in a pinch)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 dried ancho chili (or New Mexican red chili)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
2 shishito peppers or 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoon smoky hot sauce (like Buffalo or Tabasco)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, thinly sliced


First, soak the black beans overnight in a large pot covered by 2 inches of water. Rinse the beans a few times in cold water just before use and place the pot with the beans, 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups of fresh water on the stove. Cover, cook over high heat until the water boils, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes, then drain beans and set aside.

Roughly chop the tomatoes on a dinner plate and slide all of the pieces, juices and seeds into a bowl. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, smash the mixture until you have only small 1-inch pieces floating in tomato juice.

Rinse the amaranth in a small bowl under cold water. Add 1 cup amaranth to 3 cups water in a saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. Set aside.

In a large pot with a lid or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, chopped beets, shishito and red peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook for 5 minutes then add the cumin and crumble the chili into the pot, discarding the stem. Add the tomatoes and juice to the pot and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the black beans and vegetable broth to the pot and bring the stew to a boil. Then add the amaranth, turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Add the hot sauce just before serving and place a few slices of avocado and a sprinkle of cilantro in each bowl.

Related on Eco Salon

Easy Mexican Turkey Soup

Mexican Bread Pudding 

Amaranth Fruit Cereal

Photos by Ally-Jane 

Ally Jane Grossan

Ally Jane Grossan is a Brooklyn-based food blogger and editor. Her exotic but easy to follow recipes can be found at