Mimi's Red Beans (habichuelas rojas!)

(totally wish I had taken better photos of this delicious dish but I just really wanted to share it once I got the measurements correct. Getting recipes from Mami, who is an incredible cook is had because there just aren't any measurements! One day I will update the photos)

The girls miss our mom's so much (Mimi and Nonna). And lately all they talk about is my mom's cooking. So I have been trying my best to whip up some of her favorite dishes to make the girls. Like these pastelitos from scratch, whipping up batches of her marinades (will share that next) for delicious carne asada, and rice and beans of course.

And so by popular demand we are sharing Mimi's bean recipe first!!! You can use this recipe when you make any kind of beans. I was raised with the mind set that dry is best (soak over night to make them easier to digest) but I always keep canned beans in my pantry for a pinch! And remember you don't have to soak lentils, split peas or Indian dals.

If you are using dry beans there are a couple steps to these delicious beans!

-Soak beans, overnight if possible.

-Soften the beans in your instant pot, I fill the instant pot about 3/4 of the way with water and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes.

-Then make the sazon, the Goya brand is good for a pinch but I swear it is worth every single garlic clove you peel to make your own!!

Making the Sazón!

2 red onions

2 heads of garlic

Bunch of cilantro ( when I am not limited on produce I double the cilantro!)

1 green bell pepper (take the seeds out and chop)

1 red bell pepper ( take the seeds out and chop)

1/2 C balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp capers

Put this all into a blender and blend really well, you want this to be an apple sauce texture. And you can easily use this to add flavor to any grain, soup, bean or sautéed meat/tofu. It's like a little secret flavor punch!

Store in an air tight container in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks!

(I will note that I am always looking for ways to tweak things to add more nutritional value AKA sneak in a veggir. So I added a few handfuls of raw spinach into the sazón since cooked spinach has more nutrition, I figured it wouldn't hurt! Happy to report no one noticed and it did not change the taste! I seasoned our turkey burgers with some of the sazón and they were also a hit!)

Making Mimi's Beans!


1/2 c your fresh sazón

2 bay leaves

Handful of cilantro (you can chop and leave in the dish or leave them whole and take them out before serving)

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste,

1 bouillon cube, my mom uses this powder version and I also really like this better than bouillon paste. I also sometimes use the Goya seasoning sleeves, the ones that say con culantro!

3-5 cups of water (this will depend on how much broth you like with your beans! We like a lot!

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp adobo

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt to taste

**optional is squash! I was out but love adding half of an acorn squash to this recipe!

10qt pot, I like a heavy one but the key here is that it cannot be too small. So 10qt or more if you are making the whole bag of dried beans.

Instant Pot is the quickest way for softening the dry beans, before cooking. If you don't have one you can soften on the stove, but plan on 2 hours depending on the age of the beans. Just bring water and soaked beans to a boil and then cook on low for 2 hours or until beans are soft.

1. Rinse and look through the beans (taking out anything that may not belong twigs rocks etc.)

2. Soak the beans. You want to cover the beans in about 2 inches of water, add a tbsp of coarse salt and let sit over night. Sometimes if I forget the night before and I soak from morning until dinner time.

3. Cook on High Pressure for 25 minutes , and allow for the pressure to naturally release from the IP.

4. Let cool, then strain the beans (you don't want to keep the liquid that they softened in). Put the drained beans aside.

5. In your 10 qt pot you will add olive oil, tomato paste, sazón packet, the sazón you made and stir fry it on medium low heat for a few minutes. Stirring so it doesn't burn. Refrain from eating this mixture on it's own although it will smell heavenly!

6. Add the strained (already softened) beans.

7. Stir and make sure they are completely mixed in to the stir fried goodness.

8. Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

9. Stir well, bring heat to a low, cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.

10. Finally (and most important step) add 2 tsp of adobo, a handful of fresh cilantro, and fresh lime juice, cook for a few more minutes on low.

11. Serve with any grain (we love it with white or brown jasmine rice!) or on it's own like a soup. Oh goodness it's so good.

Cooking with my mom and my girls has to be one of the things I love the most about when we visit her. The kitchen is my Mami's happy place and has become my haven too. And watching the girls enjoy cooking as much as we do is such a blessing. I hope that you guys enjoy this recipe and maybe want a little more Dominican dishes here!