Beans and rice kind of have a bad reputation. They are like the boring, old librarian of the culinary world. And it’s a shame, because they’re really great for a number of reasons. (Just like librarians) We eat beans and rice in some form almost every week. Here’s what I like about them.
Beans and rice are cheap. You can buy both at any grocery store for about $1 per pound if you get them dry. The larger the package, the less you pay. I just picked up a 3-pound bag of rice at Fiesta for $1.37. That’s one dollar and thirty-seven cents! What else is that cheap?
Beans and rice have a long shelf life. They won’t last forever, but both can easily hang out in your pantry for a year. If you plan on storing them for a while – especially if you open the package – put them in an airtight container. I use canning jars, which also look cute in the pantry.
Beans and rice are healthy. Beans and rice can be made unhealthy, but they pack a big nutritional punch on their own. Together, they make a complete protein. While protein isn’t the only thing you need, it is something that everyone in the nutrition world seems to be talking about. Basically, your body needs a certain number of amino acids. All the ones you cannot make on your own can be found in either beans or rice. They also have lots of vitamins and minerals. If you were trapped on a deserted island, you could get by on just beans and rice indefinitely.
Beans and rice are versatile. Just because eating them plain is healthy doesn’t mean you can’t spice them up. There are tons of ways to eat them and none of them are boring. Add vegetables, herbs, spices, other grains… even meat if you like.
Beans and rice recipe
- 1 cup dry rice
- 2 cups water
- olive oil
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1 leek
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
Start by bringing the water to a boil and adding the rice. White rice cooks for about 15 minutes; brown rice for 45.
While the rice is doing its thing, dice the onion, bell pepper and leek. Grate the garlic on a microplane. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the vegetables until the are soft. Add the beans and seasonings. Stir and heat. When the rice is done, add it too.
Tip: I used to buy canned beans but they are expensive compared to dry ones. Every time I need beans for a meal, I cook the whole bag, usually in the slow cooker. I use what I need for the meal and divide the rest into 2-cup containers and freeze them. The next few times I need beans, I can just pull from the freezer. I usually get four 2-cup servings of beans per 1-pound bag, which is the equivalent of four cans.
Tip: For more flavorful rice, substitute broth for the water.
Tip: You can substitute any vegetables or spices you like. Go with a theme, such as southwestern or Asian.
If you liked this recipe and need more ideas, check out this post on the Prudent Homemaker on how to eat beans every day. Or look for cookbooks at my favorite source: the library. Do you have a go-to beans and rice recipe?