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Black turtle beans

Are Black Turtle Beans and Black Beans the Same Thing?


Wondering what the difference is between black turtle beans vs black beans? It’s easy to get them confused, especially as the names are often used interchangeably. Both types of beans can be used to make a whole range of tasty dishes, but they each have slightly different flavours and textures.

Here we’ll be explaining the difference between black beans and black turtle beans and why they’ve earned themselves a spot as one of Knorr Future 50 Foods.



What Are Black Turtle Beans?


A relative of the red kidney bean, black turtle beans are a legume native to Mexico and are a staple ingredient in many Latin American and Caribbean dishes. Growing black turtle beans is a fairly simple process, as the seeds require minimal attention and do not need fertiliser. Resistant to disease and extreme heat, they’re able to pull nitrogen from the air, which not only helps them to grow but also naturally nourishes the soil around them.

Black turtle beans are a good source of proteins and fiber. They have a low glycemic index. Despite the name, black turtle beans aren’t actually black but a dark purple colour. They have a distinctive small white dot and, like other black bean varieties, they turn brown when cooked for a long time.

When it comes to how to cook black turtle beans, there are a couple of different options. Black turtle beans are available in canned form, pre-cooked, ready to eat, or dried. If using dried black beans, we recommend bringing them to the boil, then simmering on a low heat for at least 1.5-2 hours to get the best flavour and texture. Short on time? You can reduce the cooking time by around 45 minutes by pre-soaking the beans overnight in water with a little salt.

Never tried black turtle beans before? Here are the basic facts to know about this superfood:



Black turtle beans are known for their slightly sweet, mushroom-like taste. They have a milder flavour than some other bean varieties, which means they pair well with other flavours and won’t overpower a dish.



With a dense and meaty texture, black turtle beans are popular in vegetarian cooking. Their texture lends themselves well for Mexican-inspired recipes like burritos, chilli and enchiladas and they’re often switched out as a replacement for ground beef.



Wondering how black turtle beans got their nickname? They get their name from their oval shape, which you could say is similar to – well, you guessed it – a turtle. Unlike some types of beans, which split and become mushy during cooking, black turtle beans retain their shape well, so they’re great for adding texture to liquid-based dishes like soups and stews.



One of the smaller bean varieties, black turtle beans are about half the size of regular black beans, similar in size to peas.



How Are Black Turtle Beans and Black Beans Different?


Want to know how to tell the difference between black beans vs black turtle beans? The most obvious differences are in the way they look. Although both types of bean have the characteristic white dot or ‘eye’, black turtle beans are smaller and shinier, while black beans are larger with a more matte look. 

In terms of texture, black turtle beans are denser and tend to retain their firmness more during cooking, whereas black beans become soft and mushy with a texture similar to refried beans. Flavour-wise, black turtle beans have a mild, earthy flavour while black beans, although similar, have a bolder flavour with a more intense earthiness. 

Will you be giving black turtle beans a try? Now that you’re in the know about  these small-but-mighty beans, check out the FREE Knorr Future 50 Foods Cookbook for some delicious recipe inspiration.


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About the Future 50 Foods

From lentils to lotus roots, discover 50 exciting and delicious foods that are good for you and good for the planet.

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