Fríjoles Rojos de Barranquilla

Red Beans from Barranquilla

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Preparation info

  • 8

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

Secrets of Colombian Cooking

By Patricia McCausland-Gallo

Published 2004

  • About

Red beans as made in my hometown of Barranquilla are very good. They are plump, soft on the inside, with a dark red sauce that you could eat alone! The vegetables are processed or blended to a smooth consistency so they blend into the recipe to create a sauce that is silky and very flavorful. Serve them with rice and sweet plantains*; some even add ground beef. Any kind of red beans will do.


  • 1 pound red pinto or kidney beans (about cups)
  • ¼ of a red bell pepper
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon color* or turmeric


  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, halved
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • 6 seeded ají dulce* (sweet green peppers)
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 4 whole scallions
  • 1 celery stalk
  • ¼ of a red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Wash the beans with plenty of water, and soak covered with water overnight.
  2. Drain the beans and discard the soaking water. Place the beans and 4 cups of fresh water, red pepper, bouillon cube, and color in a large pressure cooker and cook for 30 minutes. You can also cook the beans in a regular pot for 2½ hours, until soft but not cracked or mushy. The beans should be soft but not too soft since they must still cook with the guiso. Uncover the pressure cooker and from now on you will use it as a regular pot for this recipe.
  3. While the beans cook, MAKE THE GUISO: place the oil, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, ají dulce, garlic, scallion, celery, red pepper, and salt in a food processor and process for 1 minute. Remove and place in a medium sauté pan and cook over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add the guiso to the beans, and cook over medium-low heat until the beans have softened without loosing their shape, about 45 minutes to one hour.
  5. Taste for salt and serve.