Black Beans in Spanish

How do you say “Black Beans” in Spanish? Facil, amigue mie.

That’s feminist Spanish for “easy, my friend”. If you want to know how to say “easy, my friend” in standard Spanish, say, “facil, amigo mio”. You can also write “facil, amig@ mi@” which at least is recognisable to everyone, but you can’t pronounce it.

But I digress. Oh how I digress! This reminds me of that one time when I digressed so much that I…

Ahem. Okay. You came for “black beans” in Spanish and I’m going to give it to you.

“Black beans” in Spanish is frijoles negros.

Although bean is often translated as “haba” in Spanish, that is more of a Spanish-Spanish (not Latin American Spanish) word. That’s why black beans, which originated in Latin America and are still most popular there, go by the name “frijoles”, which is a more Latin American word.

If you’re talking about black soya beans, which are sometimes called black beans, you’ll want to call them “soja negra”. And if you are talking about fermented black beans, say “soja negra fermentada”. That said, Spanish people are not so aware of Asian cuisine as British and American people, so don’t be surprised if they still don’t understand you. Still, “soja negra fermentada” is a descriptive name, so they should get a rough idea.

Wikipedia lists a few other names for the typical black bean (black turtle bean). It can be called the zaragoza, poroto negro, caraota o habichuela negra.

Zaragoza (pronounced “tharagotha” in Spanish Spanish and “saragosa” in Latin American Spanish) is the name of a town in Spain which then gave the name to many towns in Latin America. A variety of bean from the area of Zaragoza in Colombia is often known as the Zaragoza itself. It can be red or black, and the red variety is pretty much a standard black bean.

In Colombia, in certain areas they often call the black bean “fresol negro”, as a corruption of “frijol negro”. They also often say “granos negros”. Grano in most varieties of Spanish normally means “grain”.

In Ecuador and chile, beans are often called “porotos”, which is why black beans are likely to be called poroto negro.

In some places such as Ecuador the name “frijol” is corrupted to “frejol” which would make the name of black beans in their variety of Spanish “frejol negro”.

In Venezuela, they can be called “caraota negra”, due to the Venezuelan Spanish word “caraota” for bean.

Finally, in most of the Caribbean the word for black beans in Spanish is “habichuela negra”. Habichuela is the diminutive the common word for bean, “haba”.

Whatever the language though, whether you say “black bean” in Spanish or French or German, remember to enjoy! Black beans have a rich flavour and a lot of nutrients. Sometimes, the best compliment is an appreciative silence.

Finally, I wanted to leave you with a Spanish phrase you might find useful. The Spanish for “bon apetit” is “Que aproveche!” This means roughly “may it do you good” and you say it before every meal in Spanish-speaking countries.

Que aproveche!