As a food group, black beans have both protein and fiber. One cup of black beans contains roughly the same amount of protein as two ounces of meat! They're prepared very simply: They're boiled in water. The time it takes to boil beans varies on the method, but canned beans provide a quick & easy shortcut. Some homemade recipes call for beans to be soaked first, but the cooking process is always the same: Beans are boiled in water, with or without seasonings. All kinds of veggies may be added—garlic, onion, and/or bellpeppers are most common. A myriad number of spices may be added as well.
Because of the cooking process, the first ingredient is often water. Sometimes the first ingredient will be "prepared black beans", which simply indicates they have already been prepared (with water). It does not mean you're getting more beans out of the can than a product with water as the ingredient first.
Supermarket black beans often contain calcium chloride, which is in part used to retain the cooked beans texture. Beans with any additives like this will not receive a rating from us. Many of the products in the Junk List are there because of calcium chloride.
We expect a can of black beans to be used as a convenient shortcut to preparing beans yourself, and therefore expect them to be unflavored—ready to be used in whatever recipe you'd like. Flavored beans can still receive the highest rating (healthiest+). Look for a low number of ingredients for unadulterated beans.
It takes two ingredients to make Black Beans. black beans (may say "prepared black beans") and water (+spices)