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Recipe: Black Bean Venezuelan Arepas



Recipe inspo: Black Bean Venezuelan Arepas

AREPA (n): pronounced Ah-rreh-pah. A flat, round-shaped, unleavened corn patty made with plain maize flour, which can be either grilled or fried that is native to South American countries Venezuela and Columbia.

Being half Venezuelan, I can only vouch for these delicious patties as the ESSENCE of food culture in Venezuela. Made of ground maize dough and a touch of olive oil and salt, these patties can be stuffed with just about anything you can dream of! Fill them with chicken, tuna, eggs, ham, cheese, beans oh… the options are endless.

That’s right, in Venezuela we eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as a quick snack – you name it! Whether it be stuffed with scrambled eggs, meat or beans, there is something for everyone and they are so simple to make and dare I say you can often find use having them daily. In British culture I suppose we can say they are akin to biscuits?

Growing up it was my mom’s go-to on busy week nights. She would make the arepas and lay out an array of filling options including cheese, ham, avocado, tuna, and condiments so we could just ‘make our own’ and that was part of the fun! I remember every single friend of mine growing up would come over begging for us to have that for dinner. It was a thing.

The most traditional fillings include ham & cheese, Reina pepiada (avocado & chicken), pabellon (pulled beef, black beans, cheese and ripe plantains), and Del Campo (black bean & avocado).

In today’s post, we give you the traditional recipe of arepas and the famous caraotas negras (black beans!).



Arepa Corn Patties

Preparation: 5 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 3 cups of water
  • 6 handfuls of Harina PAN (pre-cooked white maize flour)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. In a medium bowl mix together water, salt and olive oil.
  2. Slowly add harina PAN one handful at a time and mix with your hands in circular movements. Mix until the dough is smooth and there are no more clumps. Let the dough sit for five minutes to thicken as the flour absorbs the water.
  3. Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. As the pan pre-heats begin to prepare the arepas by forming a ball that fits within the palm of your hand (size of a tennis ball) and roll until it is nice and smooth. If the dough is dry and cracking wet your hands to moisten.
  5. Form the balls and flatten into discs until they are ½ inch thick.
  6. Place the arepas in the pan and cook for five minutes on each side. Continue to flip over as the arepa gets golden in colour and a thick crispy crust.
  7. TOP TIP: You will know the arepa is ready when it makes a hollow sound when you tap it!
  8. To serve, cut open (but not all the way through) to form like a pocket to then fill!

Black bean Filling

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6


200g black beans (soaked minimum 8 hours) or from a tin!

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, diced

500ml vegetable broth

½ tsp brown sugar OR honey or maple syrup if you’re also Canadian, ha 

1 heaped tsp cumin, ground

Sprinkle of cinnamon powder

Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot and add onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is translucent and slightly golden on the edges. Add red bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add in cumin, salt, pepper and cinnamon and ½ tsp brown sugar and stir for one minute.
  3. Add vegetable broth and black beans partially cover and let simmer for 30 minutes until slightly thick.

Best served with avocado, fried ripe plantains and cheddar cheese.

Buen provecho (ENJOY!)

Let us know if you try them by tagging us on IG @embodyhealthlondon_

We would love to see your delicious creations!


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