Creamy Lower Calorie Black Bean Curry

Published: 3 March 2024 by Simon Deane

This creamy lower fat black bean curry is a real treat. It uses peanut butter to create a creamy taste and is lower in fat than most curry recipes that use coconut milk. Black beans are also a bean that is low in fat but high in protein. You can make this recipe in 20 minutes, and its easy to make a gluten free version.
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This version of the curry is served with basmati rice and the nutrition values are calculated accordingly. For a real treat, I recommend serving with some air fryer sliced potatoes (as shown in the recipe photo).

A Creamy Curry Without Coconut Milk

When I look at a recipe for a “creamy curry”, nine times out of ten I see that a can of coconut milk is on the ingredients list. I sometimes use coconut milk in my recipes, but since the fat in coconut milk is around 90% saturated fat, I often use an alternative to create a creamy consistency.

In this recipe I use peanut butter, but you can also use almond butter or cashew butter. Tahini, which is made from creamed sesame seeds, also works well. Although these food sources also create a creamy flavour from their high fat content, most of the fat is unsaturated, so they are a more “heart healthy” choice.


  • onion
  • garlic
  • chopped tomatoes
  • tomato puree
  • black beans
  • lime
  • fresh ginger
  • soy sauce/tamari/salt
  • agave syrup
  • peanut butter
  • red pepper
  • garam masala
  • cumin
  • turmeric
  • coriander
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • rice (to serve with)

How to Make the Black Bean Curry:

First, you start by sautéing the onion for a few minutes until soft. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Next add the ginger and dried spices and cook for another minute or two.

Next add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, juice from the lime, agave syrup, chopped red pepper and soy sauce. Drain the black beans and add.

Add the peanut butter and stir in well. Some brands of peanut butters seem to mix better than others. I find you need to make sure the peanut butter is mixed well, otherwise you might get a mouth full of peanut butter when you are eating the curry.

When you have added all of the ingredients, add around 180 ml (or three quarters of a cup) of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

While the curry is cooking you can then prepare the rice according to the packet instructions. If you are using wholegrain rice, it’s better to start cooking the rice as the first step, since wholegrain rice can take 40 to 45 minutes to cook.

The make this recipe gluten free:

For a gluten free recipe, use tamari (a gluten free version) or some salt to taste in place of the soy sauce.,

black bean curry cooking in a deep pan
Black bean curry cooking


Instead of peanut butter you can also use almond butter, cashew butter or tahini. You can use coconut milk. I suggest using light coconut milk as its lower in overall fat and saturated fat compared to the full fat version.

Fresh chilli is great in place of cayenne pepper or chilli powder. You can adjust the amount of chilli according to how spicy you like foods.

I like to use garam masala, but you can use a curry powder instead if you wish.

creamy black bean curry served with rice and sliced potatoes

Creamy Lower Calorie Black Bean Curry

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 390 kcal


  • 1/2 Onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger (fresh, peeled and grated)
  • 2 tins black beans
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
  • 280 g basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 red pepper (de-seeded and chopped into small pieces)


  • Sauté the onion in a deep pan or pot in the oil for about 5 minutes until the onion goes soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Add the garam masala, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, black pepper and turmeric. Mix all the spices with the onions and garlic and cook for a minute or two.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, agave syrup, drained black beans, chopped pepper and juice of one lime.
  • Add the peanut butter. Stir everything in and bring to the boil. Be sure that the peanut butter is mixed evenly. Turn down to a gentle simmer for around 10 minutes stirring regularly.
  • While the curry is cooking, prepare the rice according to the packet instructions.
  • Once everything is ready, serve the curry along with the rice.


Calories: 390kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 8gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.01gSodium: 46mgPotassium: 324mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1202IUVitamin C: 47mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Low Calorie Spinach Chickpea Potato Curry

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  • Simon Deane

    My mission is to provide the resources to help people to prepare their own healthy and tasty meals at home and to teach people about nutrition and how to eat healthier...

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