Let’s eat! Gochujang buttered noodles and Cuban black beans

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Last year we added The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma’s Kitchen by Joanne Lee Molinaro (@theVeganKorean on Instagram) to our library. It’s a gorgeous book with a lot of great recipes.

Inspired, we picked up Gochujang paste at Trader Joe’s but hadn’t used it yet. So when I noticed a Gochujang Buttered Noodles by Eric Kim in a recent compilation of vegetarian recipes in the New York Times it felt like a sign! It was an easy and delicious weeknight dinner. We used ramen (one of the recipe tips). We like this brown rice and millet ramen from Lotus Foods.

A love affair with black beans

I don’t remember when I fell in love with Cuban black beans, but it’s been a while. For the ultimate convenience, Trader Joe’s sells canned Cuban black beans that are great. But I am also trying to move away from prepared food when I can. I found and tried two great recipes, one from That Girl Cooks Healthy and the other from Skinny Taste. One recipe uses dried black beans and the other is a quick version that uses canned black beans. I like the idea of using dried black beans for a variety of reasons, however, we often don’t have that kind of time or forethought when cooking.

And here’s my take on the recipe. In the most recent iteration, we used a Sugar Rush Peach hot pepper that we grew from seed last summer (Sugar Rush Peach Hot Pepper Seeds | Baker Creek Seeds). We still had a few peppers on plants that were still growing in the sunroom believe it or not so this was a freshly picked one. I just used one and the beans were pleasantly hot — very spicy and flavorful but not uncomfortably hot — it just was just right. The perfect layer of flavor.

The quick version of the recipe recommended using Goya brand black beans but not draining them, so I followed that recommendation.


3 tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil (I like Star brand.)

1 medium onion chopped

1 large bell pepper chopped

1 jalapeño or peach hot pepper

2 15.5 oz. cans of Goya black beans (do not drain)

½ cup of water (add more if needed)

1 4 oz. can of green chiles

6 garlic cloves minced or 3 teaspoons of minced garlic from a jar

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons oregano

(I added dried cilantro because I had it)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon coconut sugar


  1. Chop vegetables
  2. Saute vegetables until soft (I usually do onions first and then add the garlic and peppers
  3. Add beans, water, and all spices.
  4. Bring to a boil and then lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with your choice of rice, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, chopped scallions, and crispy fried onions.

This recipe is forgiving and adaptable so you can adjust it based on what you like and what you have on hand. If you have a whole red pepper, use it! If you have half a red pepper, that’s fine, too. I discovered that dried cilantro worked great for me. I also added green chiles.

Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash