My go-to side dish that everyone loves, black beans and rice is a true workhorse in my kitchen. With a fried egg on top, it can be a whole meal, or it can be a simple side dish with salsa. The rice and beans cook together in the same pot, making this the simplest side dish.
I can pinpoint the exact time in my life when my love affair with beans began. I was living in Costa Rica and eating 'gallo pinto' (a dish of rice and beans) at nearly every meal, and my travel mates said they just couldn't eat another bowl of rice and beans. I was shocked, and as I happily ate my bowl in silence, I secretly wondered if I could finish their bowls, too.
I ate gallo pinto with an egg at breakfast, I ate it with salsa Lizano at lunch, and I gladly ate it again at dinner with a small piece of questionable steak. Long story for another time, but I can now say I've had 'tree chicken' in my life. Big apologies to any iguana lovers out there.
Black beans and rice is a staple that everyone loves, though maybe you shouldn't eat it three times a day for months on end, lest you end up like my travel mates. Personally, I'm on a breakfast strike, and a bowl of black beans and rice is the only thing I can eat for months without ever growing tired of it. I can even eat this for breakfast and enjoy black bean burgers for dinner; my love for black beans never wanes.
The secret for excellent rice and beans is cooking the onion and rice first before adding the rest of the ingredients. To prevent tough beans, we add the salt after cooking. I'm confident that the last-minute salt, lime juice, and butter addition to this dish is what keeps me coming back for more.
How to cook black beans and rice together:
Yes, this recipe has you cook both at the same time! We're using a can of already cooked black beans to facilitate this, as beans have a much longer cooking time than white rice, so they absolutely need to be already cooked. After sautéing the onion and spices, we lightly sauté the rice until it's just slightly translucent around the edges. Then, we add the broth and can of black beans, and everything cooks together for 20 minutes.
If you have leftover instant pot black beans, you can use them in this dish in place of the can of black beans.
- Olive Oil. The aromatics of the dish need to be sautéed in a little oil at the start of the dish. You can use any type of oil you prefer.
- White Onion. Finely diced white onion is best, but a yellow onion may be used.
- Ground Cumin.
- White Rice. Long-grain white rice is what you need. Do not use brown rice for this dish, it has a completely different cooking time.
- Broth. You may use any type of broth for this recipe: vegetable or chicken broth are my first choices. The color of your broth can change the color of the rice, so I like to use a mostly clear canned chicken broth. I don't recommend stock, because it's more concentrated and can overpower the dish.
- Black Beans. One can of drained and rinsed black beans.
- Lime Juice.
- Butter. You can use vegan butter and vegetable broth to keep this recipe vegan.
- Cilantro. Optional chopped fresh cilantro on top for serving, or just for a garnish on the side.
How to make:
- Gather all ingredients: oil, onion, cumin, rice, broth, beans, lime juice, butter, and salt. Have the cilantro ready for serving, if desired.
- In a medium stock pot, add the oil, and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion, and cook while stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions threaten to burn around the edges.
- Next, add the cumin and rice and sauté until the rice just starts to appear translucent around the edges, about 4-5 minutes.
- Now it's time to add the broth and beans. Stir everything together, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low to simmer for 18-20 minutes.
- At the end of 20 minutes, remove the lid, fluff everything with a fork. Then, stir in the lime juice, butter, salt and chopped cilantro before serving.
What to serve with black beans and rice:
I like this dish plain, but I often add a scoop of salsa. I like it with a fried egg for breakfast. In Costa Rica, I ate it with twice-fried plantains (tostones), or with sweet sauteed plantains on the side.
Can black beans and rice be frozen?
Yes, this is such a great side dish to freeze ahead of time in small portions. Portion out 1 to 2 cups of rice and beans into small storage container or even plastic bags, lay flat end freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost, place in fridge overnight. Empty contents into a bowl, cover with a paper towel and microwave until hot. You can also rewarm this in a small saucepan with an extra splash of broth.
Other black bean recipes:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable are fine)
- 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 TB lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 TB butter
- Handful fresh chopped cilantro
- First, gather the ingredients.
- In a medium stock pot, add the oil, and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion, and cook while stirring frequently for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat if the onions threaten to burn or start turning golden brown around the edges.
- Add the cumin and rice. Stir and saute for 4-5 minutes, just until the edges of the rice start to appear translucent.
- Add the vegetable broth and rinsed and drained black beans. Stir everything together.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- At the end of 20 minutes, remove the lid and stir everything to fluff it up. Add the lime juice, butter, salt and chopped cilantro, and stir again. Serve immediately.
White Rice: Long-grain white rice. Do not use brown rice for this recipe.
Broth: Vegetable or chicken broth are my first choices. I like to use a mostly clear canned chicken broth, because the color of your broth can change the color of the rice. I don't recommend stock, because it's more concentrated.
Black Beans: Canned black beans or 1.5 cups of already cooked black beans.
Butter: You can use vegan butter and vegetable broth to keep this recipe vegan.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g