Mexican white beans

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Are you looking for a new way to use some leftover white beans? Well then check out this recipe for Mexican white beans! These Mexican-inspired white beans are flavored with roasted tomatillos, jalapeños, onions, garlic, cumin, and oregano. Some heavy cream and monterey jack cheese is added at the end to create a dish that is the perfect combination of creamy and spicy. 

This recipe for mexican white beans is gluten free, vegetarian, egg free, and nut free. It can easily be made vegan and dairy free by replacing the heavy cream and monterey jack cheese with a plant-based milk and vegan cheese.

Mexican white beans in a gray bowl with tomatoes and jalapenos in the background.

What is in Mexican white beans?

What is in this recipe for Mexican white beans? Here are all of the ingredients in this recipe for creamy Mexican white beans.  

  • Navy beans. You can’t have mexican white beans without the white beans! We use navy beans in this recipe for Mexican white beans. We recommend using navy beans if you are able to find them because different kinds of white beans have different flavors and texture. 
  • Tomatillos. Some tomatillos are added to these white beans to give the dish a fresh, zesty flavor. If you do not buy tomatillos regularly and need help picking ripe tomatillos at the grocery store then keep reading! We discuss how to identify ripe tomatillos later on in this article. 
  • Jalapeño. Some jalapeño is used to add a little bit of spice to these Mexican white beans. This dish is not too spicy since the spiciness of the jalapeño is balanced out by the heavy cream and monterey jack cheese. If you prefer your beans extra spicy, feel free to add some more jalapeños!
  • Onion. Some onion is added to these Mexican white beans to give them even more flavor. The onion is cooked until it starts to brown. The caramelized sugars in the onion lend a little sweetness to the dish.
  • Garlic. A few cloves of garlic are added to the Mexican white beans. The garlic gives the dish a little bit of a bite. 
  • Vegetable broth. A little vegetable broth is added to the beans and vegetables so that they can be left to simmer without drying out. If you are looking for bullion cubes that are gluten free and vegan friendly, we recommend Edward & Sons Not Chik’n Bouillon cubes. They taste exactly like chicken broth – only without the chicken!
  • Heavy cream. A little heavy cream is added to give these beans a creamy texture and flavor. The fat in the heavy cream also helps to prevent the Monterey jack cheese from curdling when it is added to the bean mixture. If you keep Mexican crema on hand, crema would be a great substitute for the heavy cream. We used heavy cream in this recipe since it is easier to find in American grocery stores. 
  • Monterey jack cheese. Monterey jack cheese is added to make these beans nice and cheesy. If you cannot find monterey jack cheese, then you can replace the Monterey jack with another mild cheese with a creamy flavor. If you can find some Oaxaca cheese then that would be a great replacement. It tastes similar to monterey jack cheese but melts even better! 
  • Cumin, oregano, black pepper, & salt. Cumin, oregano, and black pepper are added to contribute a little extra flavor to these white beans. A little salt is added as well to enhance the other flavors in the dish. Cumin and oregano are our absolute favorite spices to use in Mexican-inspired bean dishes. 
Mexican white beans with onions, jalapenos, garlic, and tomatillos in a stainless steel pan.

How to make Mexican white beans

How do you make these Mexican white beans? Here are all the steps you need to take to make these Mexican white beans.

  • Broil the tomatillos. The first step in making these Mexican white beans is roasting the tomatillos under the broiler. Roasting the tomatillos mellows out the tartness of the tomatillos. You should remove the husk from the tomatillos before you put them on the broiler. Make sure to clean the tomatillos after you remove the husk.
  • Chop the vegetables. The next step in making these Mexican white beans is chopping the vegetables. The onion, garlic, and jalapeños should all be minced into small pieces. The roasted tomatillos should also be roughly chopped once they have started to cool. We recommend using a high quality chef’s knife such as this 8 inch chef’s knife (this brand is our all time favorite) to dice the vegetables. It will make the process go by so much faster!
  • Cook the vegetables. After the vegetables have been diced, it is time to cook them. The onions need to cook for the longest amount of time and should be lightly browned by the time the vegetables are done cooking. The jalapeño will also need to cook for a decent amount of time. The garlic, on the other hand, only needs to cook for 1 – 3 minutes.
  • Add the spices, beans, and vegetable broth. After the vegetables are done cooking, add the spices, beans, and vegetables to the pan with the vegetables and let the mixture simmer until the beans are warm throughout.
  • Add the heavy cream and cheese. Take the pan off of the heat and add the heavy cream and monterey jack cheese to the pan. If the  vegetables are very hot then you should wait for the vegetables to cool a little before adding the cheese.
Mexican white beans in a gray bowl with tomatoes and jalapenos in the background.

How to pick ripe tomatillos

How do you determine whether tomatillos are ripe? Here is how to choose ripe tomatillos. 

  • Ripe tomatillos are firm but not hard. If you have not cooked with tomatillos much in the past then you might not know what a ripe tomatillo feels like. A ripe tomatillo is generally going to be more firm than a ripe tomato. A ripe tomatillo is firm but not hard. Avoid tomatillos that are overly soft. 
  • Ripe tomatillos have tan husks. Tomatillos have a papery husk that surrounds them. As tomatillos ripen, the husk starts to develop a light tan color. The entire husk does not have to be tan, but if part of the husk has started to transition from dark green to light tan then that is a good sign that the tomatillo is ripe.
  • Ripe tomatillos have tears in the husk. As tomatillos begin to ripen, their husks start to dry out. This means that they are more likely to tear around the bottom. If a tomatillo husk has small tears around the bottom, that is a good sign that it is ripe. 

How to store Mexican white beans

How do you store Mexican white beans? We recommend storing these Mexican white beans in an airtight bag or food storage container in the refrigerator. The beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We do not recommend freezing these Mexican white beans since there is cheese and cream in the sauce. The cheese based sauce will likely separate if frozen and reheated. 

How to reheat Mexican white beans

How do you reheat these Mexican white beans? We recommend reheating these Mexican white beans in the microwave for 30 – 60 seconds on full power. Since these beans are in a cheese based sauce, we recommend microwaving the beans in 15 – 20 second intervals then taking the beans out and stirring them so that no one region gets too warm. If one area gets too warm then the cheese sauce may curdle. 

Mexican white beans in a gray bowl with tomatoes and jalapenos in the background.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Mexican white beans

These creamy Mexican white beans are gluten free, vegetarian, egg free, and nut free.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: egg free, gluten free, nut free, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 can white beans (we prefer using navy beans)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash the tomatillos. Broil the tomatillos on high for 3 – 5 minutes or until the skin of the tomatillos starts to char.
    While the tomatillos roast, you can start to cut the vegetables.
  • Dice the onion, jalapeño, and garlic into small pieces. Roughly cut the tomatillos into smaller pieces once they have started to cool.
  • Heat a large pan over medium heat then add the vegetable oil. Add the onion to the pan and let the onion cook for 10 minutes. Add the jalapeño to the pan and let the jalapeño cook for 5 – 10 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatillos and let them cook for another 1 – 3 minutes.
  • Add the beans, spices, and vegetable broth to the pan with the vegetables and let the beans simmer for at least 10 minutes over medium to medium high heat. The beans should be warm throughout.
    If you want your beans to have even more flavor, you can let them simmer for up to 25 minutes.
  • Take the beans off of the heat. Add the heavy cream to the beans and stir them. Then add the monterey jack cheese to the beans and stir the beans until the cheese melts.

Substitutions for Mexican white beans

  • Monterey jack cheese. if you cannot find monterey jack cheese then you can use another mild flavored cheese with a creamy flavor. If you can find Oaxaca cheese then that would be a wonderful substitute. It tastes similar to monterey jack cheese, but it melts even more easily! If you want to make these beans vegan and dairy free, you can also use vegan cheese shreds. 
  • Heavy cream. If you keep Mexican crema on hand then you should try substituting the heavy cream with Mexican crema! If you want to make these Mexican white beans vegan friendly or dairy free, you can also substitute the heavy cream with your favorite vegan milk or cream. It is best to use a high fat milk or cream if possible. 

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A bowl ov vegan white bean chili. The white chili has beans, peppers, and corn in it. There is cheese, avocado, and green onions on the top of the chili.

Are you looking for another white bean recipe that has a mix of spicy and creamy elements? Check out this recipe for vegan white bean chili!

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Are you looking for another fun way to spice up some beans? Check out this recipe for Cajun black beans and rice! These tasty beans are gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan friendly. 

salsa verde (roasted tomatillo salsa)

Loving the zesty flavor of the tomatillos in this recipe? Check out this recipe for salsa verde. This tasty salsa is made with roasted tomatillos, onions, jalapenos, and more!

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