Anna Jones’s arepas with black beans and spicy verde (Photo: Issy Croker)
Anna Jones’s arepas with black beans and spicy verde (Photo: Issy Croker)

FoodApril 4, 2021

Recipe: Arepas with black beans and salsa verde

Anna Jones’s arepas with black beans and spicy verde (Photo: Issy Croker)
Anna Jones’s arepas with black beans and spicy verde (Photo: Issy Croker)

Anna Jones pairs her take on the Latin American corncakes arepas with spicy beans and a zingy salsa verde in this recipe from her new cookbook One: Pot, Pan, Planet.

These are what we ate the day after we got married. One of the amazing people who cooked our wedding feast, Bea (@bmangobajito), is from Venezuela and she made the most perfect arepas – feather light but hearty enough to soak up a few wines from the night before. While we ate this for breakfast, these arepas could be eaten for any meal.

Happy, happy food. Thank you, Bea, for sharing this recipe with me.


Makes 10 arepas

  • 300g fine cornmeal (I use the P.A.N brand)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the black beans

  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g tins of black beans (or 500g home-cooked beans)
  • a large bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves chopped

For the pickled red onions

  • 1 red onion, halved and very thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • pinch of flaky sea salt

For the Mexican salsa verde

  • 200g block of feta or vegan-style feta cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 green chilli
  • small bunch of mint, leaves picked

To serve

  • coriander leaves
  • a small bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
  • a couple of limes for squeezing over
  • crumbled feta

Add the red onion to a small bowl with the juice of a lime and a pinch of sea salt, then scrunch together with your hands so they start to become a bright pink colour. Put to one side to lightly pickle.

To prepare the dough, place the cornmeal, sea salt, oil and 400-450ml of boiling water into a bowl. Allow to sit for about a minute to let the water absorb into the cornmeal a little. Then carefully mix the dough with your hands until combined. You want it to come together a bit like Play-Doh. It shouldn’t be crumbly. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes or up to 30 if you have time.

To make the black beans, add a little olive oil to a medium frying pan and, once hot, add the cumin seeds, coriander stalks and paprika for 1 minute. Then add the black beans with the liquid from the can and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and then add the chopped green chilli and coriander leaves.

For the salsa verde, put 30g of the feta and half the mint leaves into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blitz until you have a deep green, slightly creamy salsa. Season to taste then set aside for serving.

Once your dough has rested (it should clean the bowl and be easy to work with), pull off golf ball-sized pieces and form 8cm by 1cm-thick patties (you should be able to make 10).

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and once hot add the arepas and put the lid on, cooking on a medium heat for 7 minutes on each side until they are golden brown on both sides. Place in a warm oven while you continue to fry the rest of the arepas.

Finish the black beans with the chopped green chilli and the coriander leaves. Serve the arepas while they are warm, split open and fill with a spoonful of the black beans, some salsa, radishes, pickled red onions, a squeeze of lime juice and a crumble of feta.

Recipe extracted from One: Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones. HarperCollins. RRP $54.99

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