Rice & Beans is the ultimate budget friendly dish! Inspired by the Caribbean-style version of this classic, plain white rice is expertly seasoned with cumin and chili to provide a fresh and delicious flavour profile to this simple budget staple.
Rice & Beans is an often forgotten about frugal dish that is made from every-day pantry items. There is a reason this dish shows-up in various forms across the globe. It is accessible, affordable, delicious and is a complete meal in one bowl. It’s a vegetarian/vegan friendly dish that is also gluten free so it can accommodate nearly everyone’s special diets! Did I mention it is SUPER easy to make, too?
I am very excited to share with you my version of rice and beans! It comes together in just over 20 minutes and can feed a family of 4 for under $4.00 Canadian. Yep, it really is that cheap.
I’ve been very fortunate to travel quite a bit in North and Central America. Nearly every winter my Husband and I escape to somewhere warm. Each trip, Rice & Beans shows-up multiple times on the various menus. My first time trying this dish was in Cuba in 2011. 6 years ago my diet was so very different than now as I was the world’s pickiest eater (more on that here) who hadn’t explored the culinary world at all. I literally lived on homemade soup and Mini Wheats. Anyways, the first time I tried Rice & Beans was after a picturesque hike in the Cuban hills in their equivalent of a Provincial Park. To say I was nervous when the dish was placed in front of me is an understatement. The dish was served with a spiced chicken, fried plantains, tomato and cucumber. Thankfully, one bite and and I was hooked! It was flavourful yet so simple! I nearly ignored the other food on my plate and enjoyed every bite of the (what I thought was) exotic dish. Over the years I have had the opportunity to have Rice & Beans in many other countries and I love how different it is everywhere I go!
For my version of Rice & Beans I worked with two flavours that I love: cumin and cilantro. This gives the dish a bit of a Caribbean flair and it is so fresh, but not overpoweringly so. I brought out the flavour of the cumin (and a wee bit of chili powder) by adding the spices in two steps. First, I toast half the spices along with the rice to start the recipe off. I then finish it off with a bit more cumin near the end, once the broth has been added. This technique makes a huge difference in the flavour of the rice itself and truly layers the flavour. Flavour is key when you are making a simple dish, so don’t try to cut corners by not toasting or layering your spices!
Easy Rice & Beans
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup white onion, diced
- 1 cup white rice (not minute or quick cook rice)
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken, if preferred)
- 2 cans black beans, well drained
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, washed & dried optional
- lime wedges for serving optional
- In medium sized pot, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add garlic, white rice, chili powder and half of the cumin and toast mixture for 1 minute while constantly stirring.
- Add broth and increase heat to high to bring mixture to a boil. Boil for one minute while stirring. Once boiled, reduce heat to low and cover the pot for 15 minutes.
- Remove lid, bring up the heat to medium and add rinsed black beans and remaining cumin. Mix well and cook for an additional five minutes.
- Remove from heat and mix-in cilantro. Spoon mixture into bowls and garnish with extra cilantro, lime or hot sauce.