Make us your home page

Five ideas for rice and beans



Cheap and healthy meals don't have to be boring. With a variety of options, a classic beans-and-rice dish can be served in lots of ways. And many cultures have mastered this dynamic duo. So whether you're making a satisfying meal for lunch, or a tasty side dish for dinner, here are some easy recipes to get you started. Each one is meatless and uses canned beans. However, cooking dried beans from scratch is even more cost-effective, and can add more flavor if you simmer the beans in broths and spices. That's the beauty here: With just a simple spice adjustment or vegetable addition, this dish can taste entirely different each time.

Brittany Volk, Times staff writer

Black Beans and Rice

This is my go-to desk lunch. I've changed this recipe around a lot, but this is the original one with which I started. To make, cook 2 cups long-grain rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute 1 cup chopped onion, 1 ½ cups green pepper and 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (about 2 medium cloves) until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 bay leaves, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Spoon the beans over the rice and sprinkle with chopped scallions. Serve warm. Serves 6. Recipe from

Poached Egg With Rice and Edamame

I feel like a real adult when I make this quick meal instead of tossing a frozen pizza in the oven after a long workday. Thanks to my awesome rice cooker, I always have some cooked rice on hand, which is helpful when making this tasty bowl for one. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 sliced garlic clove and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 2 cups chopped kale and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup thawed frozen edamame and cook until heated through. Season with salt. Transfer to a bowl with ¾ cup cooked brown rice and top with ¼ cup shredded red cabbage. To poach the egg, bring 2 inches water to a boil in a small pot, then reduce to a simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small cup, then gently slide the egg into the water. Cook until egg white is just set but yolk is still loose, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve over rice and vegetables. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Serves 1. Recipe from

Italian White Bean and Rice Soup

It's not soup season, I know, but sometimes I just want a taste of home. First, cook white or brown rice according to package instructions, to make 1 cup. While rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 small chopped yellow onion and 1 rib finely chopped celery and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock, 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir in 2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern or cannellini white beans, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and serve. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve with crusty bread. Serves 6 to 8. Recipe from

Mixed Bean Masala with Yellow Rice

Indian flavors are the star of this hearty dish. Instead of using plain white or brown rice, take the time to make a fragrant yellow rice. To make, rinse 2 cups jasmine rice and add it to a medium pot with 2 cups water, 1 bay leaf, a 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, 3 whole cloves, ¾ teaspoon turmeric and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover, turn the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let sit, still covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and remove bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves. Add 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil to the pot and stir. Set aside as you make the masala. Chop 1 onion and drop it into a food processor with 2 cloves garlic and a 1-inch piece of ginger and blend until a smooth paste forms, adding up to 1 tablespoon water if needed. Set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon garam masala and ½ teaspoon ground coriander. Fry the spices for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Add the onion-ginger paste and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring, until most of the added water has evaporated. Add ½ teaspoon salt, 1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, 2 (15-ounce) cans beans (I like garbanzos and black beans, but red kidney beans are good, too) and 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro. For a little more kick, add a pinch of chopped fresh chiles or red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with more cilantro and serve over rice, with a dollop of Greek yogurt on the side. Serves 6. Recipe from

Red Beans and Rice

My dad constantly made the boxed version of this when I was a kid. Being the picky eater I was, I probably hated it because it had flavor. Now I've realized that making it yourself means you can adjust the spice. Cook 4 cups brown rice according to package instructions. Dice 1 yellow onion, 4 stalks of celery and ½ green pepper. Mince 4 cloves garlic. In a large saucepan (or dutch oven), warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, celery and pepper for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat until softened. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more; watch the pan to avoid burning the garlic. Meanwhile, drain and rinse 2 (14-ounce) cans red kidney beans. When the vegetables are ready, add the beans, 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes (I like to use the fire-roasted kind, but plain is fine) with their liquid, and 1 cup vegetable broth. Stir in ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Meanwhile, roughly chop ¼ cup parsley leaves. When simmering is complete, remove the bay leaves and serve the beans over rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and hot sauce. Serves 4 to 6. Recipe from

Five ideas for rice and beans 05/09/17 [Last modified: Monday, May 8, 2017 9:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 23


    Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: More than 2 million twinkling lights transform the park into a holiday wonderland with Rudolph, Sam the Snowman, Christmas-themed entertainment and visits with Santa. Included with admission on select nights through Dec. 31. 10 a.m., Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. …

    NOVEMBER 25, 2013, TAMPA, FLORIDA: The Angels of Peace ice skating show at Busch Gardens' Christmas Town.  Photo by Matt May/Busch Gardens
  2. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 22


    Much Ado About Nothing: William Shakespeare's romantic comedy gets an update by placing lovers Beatrice and Benedick against the backdrop of the Florida Keys as World War II is drawing to a close. Through Dec. 10. 7 p.m., American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third St. N, St. Petersburg. …

    The cast of "Much Ado About Nothing" at American Stage. From left, Margee Sapowsky, Stephanie Gularte, Brock D. Vickers, Matt Acquard, Richard B. Watson and Juliana Davis. Artwork by Laura Spencer. (Photo by Joey Clay)
  3. 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' is a study in grief that's so much more


    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is where Mildred Hayes vents grief over her daughter's rape and murder, and anger toward a police chief who hasn't solved the case. Ten words on stark canvases setting off a powder keg of poetic cruelty and unexpected redemption.

    Frances McDormand plays an angry, grieving mother in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
  4. Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees


    Unless you are ensconced in first class, sleeping on a plane is as intimate as dozing off in a waiting room on jury duty — everyone on the aircraft knows the decibel level of your snoring and the sad state of your socks.

    Passengers sit  aboard a Swiss International Air Lines' new Bombardier CS 100 passenger jetliner during a flight over the Swiss Alps. To gauge how passengers perceive and handle nightmare flight scenarios, British Airways surveyed 1,500 travelers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy. The responses are eye-opening, but do not necessarily represent the gold standard of politesse.  [Michael Buholzer | AFP via Getty Images]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 21


    Ice Skating at Tampa's Winter Village: Even in Florida, you can get in the holiday spirit by ice skating on an outdoor rink in the park. Each 90-minute session includes skate rental. Stop by the cafe for themed drinks and holiday snacks. 10 a.m., Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. $13. (813) 221-3686. …

    Abbey Ahern helps her son Brooks, 2 skate around the ice for his very first time at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa on Friday, November 18, 2016. The only outdoor ice rink in downtown Tampa will remain open through December 25th. Skating costs $12 per person for 90 minutes and includes skate rental. Winter Village Shops have been added to the ice rink this year with a holiday market featuring more than 20 rotating shops.