November 28, 2022

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Cooking Is My World

Rice and Beans – Chelsea’s Messy Apron


Dinner

Dinner

Savory Rice And Beans is a quick 20-minute meal that is hearty, filling, and vegetarian!

Overhead image of Rice and Beans

This Rice and Beans is part of our Back-To-School Lifesavers — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients, or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series!

Rice and Beans

This dish is admittedly a bit unique, but a complete throwback to my childhood! My mom made some kind of rice and beans meal every couple of weeks growing up and we all loved it. Even though a few of my vegetarian siblings especially appreciated this meal, the rest of us meat-eaters loved it just as much!

This dish is almost entirely made from pantry staples and comes together so quickly. This recipe, along with these Beans on Toast, are two of my quick go-to vegetarian meals. 

There are practically endless ways to use the beans in this recipe (more on this below), so we’ve kept the canvas fairly simple to ensure it’s kid-friendly (my kiddos love this!). Feel free to add more hot sauce or spices to personal preference.

Ingredient shot-- image of all the ingredients used in this dish

How To Serve Rice And Beans

  • Over rice. It wouldn’t be RICE and Beans without the rice, would it?! Use the type of rice that you prefer: freshly prepared rice, leftover rice, or in true “lifesaver” form, try using Ready Rice® or microwaveable packaged rice. This rice is already cooked and just needs to be heated to warm it through — so easy and convenient! This type of packaged rice is found alongside other packets of rice and grains in the grocery store.
  • As a hearty side dish. These beans are perfect alongside any Mexican meal!
  • As a dip. We even like eating these beans with tortilla chips as a simple bean dip. You can mash ’em up a bit more if you want a thicker dip.
  • Use in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or on top of a tostada!
  • My mom always used leftover beans to make quesadillas. She’d spoon the beans on half of a tortilla with some Queso Quesadilla cheese and brown in the skillet. I make these all the time for my kids, but prepared in the air fryer — delish!

Process shots-- images of the oil, onion, jalapeño, garlic, and spices being added and it all being sautéed together

SHORTCUTS

Rice and Beans Short-Cuts

  • To minimize chopping time, buy pre-diced onions typically found in the produce section.
  • Choose refrigerated minced garlic or frozen garlic cubes (like Dorot®) for the quickest possible prep.
  • Use canned beans. While making beans from scratch is deeply delicious and rewarding, this recipe is all about speed and ease!

Process shots of rice and beans-- images of the beans being blended; undrained beans being added; it all being cooked through; cheese being added

How Do You Add Flavor to Rice and Beans?

  • Flavor enhancers: Our favorite additions (which are included in this Rice and Beans recipe) are hot sauce, fresh lime, and fresh cilantro. The hot sauce adds some nice spice while the lime and cilantro add freshness and vibrancy.
  • A scoop of harissa is great if you like spice!
  • We love adding some kind of fresh and fruity salsa. Because the beans have a deep earthy flavor, fresh salsa can add a welcome lightness and acidity. This Mango Salsa, Corn Salsa Recipe, or the salsa on this Peach Salsa Chicken would be delightful!

QUICK TIP

To avoid “Jalapeño Hands” wear thick kitchen gloves to cut out the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño before finely dicing. If you prefer less spice in these beans, leave out the jalapeños. Alternatively, amp up the spice by adding in more!

Process shots-- images of the cilantro and lime juice being mixed together

How To Make Rice And Beans

  • Take time to sauté the onion and spices — this adds complexity to the flavor of the beans. Plus, you likely don’t want bites of raw onion in the beans!
  • Dice the jalapeño very finely so the small pieces can add subtle amounts of heat and flavor to the beans instead of being an overwhelming hit of heat.

 

Overhead image of Rice and Beans in a bowl ready to be enjoyed

QUICK TIP

To avoid clumping, we recommend freshly grating the cheese (packaged grated cheese has a cellulose coating that keeps it from melting as smoothly). Yes, this recipe is supposed to be simple and quick, but freshly grated cheese makes a world of difference! Speed up the grating by using a food processor with a grating attachment.

More Vegetarian Favorites:

Rice and Beans

Savory Rice And Beans is a quick 20-minute meal that is hearty, filling, and vegetarian!

Rice and Beans

Savory Rice And Beans is a quick 20-minute meal that is hearty, filling, and vegetarian!

Instructions

  • ONION: Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add 1/2 cup diced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened and start turning translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

  • SAUTE: Once onion is softened, add 2 tsp. garlic, 1 tbsp. minced jalapeño, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/2 tsp. cumin, plus salt & pepper to taste (I add 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper). Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  • BLEND: Meanwhile, add one full can of pinto beans (including the liquid) to a blender. Blend until completely smooth.

  • BEANS: Back to the skillet: Use a spatula to get every bit of the beans from the blender into the skillet along with the remaining can (drained and rinsed) of pinto beans. Stir to combine and then sauté until thickened and warmed through, about 2-3 minutes. If using, add a few dashes of hot sauce (to taste), 1/4 cup finely diced cilantro, and 2 tbsp lime juice. Remove from heat.

  • SERVE: Off heat, stir through 1/2 cup grated cheese (omit for a vegan meal). Mix until melted. Taste beans and adjust any flavors to personal preference. Serve over rice OR as a side dish (Note 3) with additional lime wedges for individual bowls. We also like to add a handful more of cheese atop each bowl. Enjoy warm!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Jalapeño: To avoid “Jalapeño Hands” wear thick kitchen gloves to cut out the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño before finely dicing. If you prefer less spice in these beans, leave out the jalapeños. Alternatively, amp up the spice by adding in more! Either way, be sure to very finely dice the jalapeño so the small pieces can add subtle amounts of heat and flavor to the beans instead of being an overwhelming hit of heat.
Note 2: Cheese: We find the flavor to be lacking with mild or medium Cheddar; this recipe needs sharp Cheddar for the flavor to come through nicely!
Note 3: Serving options: There are so many ways to serve these beans; here are our favorites!

  • Over rice. Either freshly prepared rice, leftover rice, or in true “lifesaver” form try using Ready Rice® or microwaveable packaged rice. 
  • As a hearty side dish. These beans are perfect alongside any Mexican meal!
  • As a dip. We even like eating these beans with tortilla chips as a simple bean dip.
  • Use in tacos, enchiladas, burritos, or on top of a tostada!
  • My mom always used leftover beans to make quesadillas. She’d spoon the beans on half of a tortilla with some Queso Quesadilla cheese and brown in a skillet. I make these all the time for my kids, but prepared in the air fryer — delish! (For quesadilla cooking directions in a skillet or air fryer, check out our black bean quesadillas recipe)

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 153kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.4g | Protein: 7.9g | Fat: 4.1g | Sodium: 1.7mg | Fiber: 8.1g | Sugar: 1.2g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.