This vegan, One-Pot Rice and Beans is a complete source of plant-based protein that is also wildly flavourful, filling, and delicious. Enjoy it as a main dish, a side, or as a filling for burritos or burrito bowls. Yum!
Aside from being so darn delicious, a pot of rice and beans answers the question of what’s for dinner on a busy weeknight or when your resources are stretched thin. Adored in so many parts of the world, rice and beans make a thrifty vegetarian meal that is filling, hearty, and quick to make. Best of all, this deeply flavoured rice and bean dish cooks in one pot minimizing all the clean-up.
Rice and beans is a staple dish in many cultures, each having their own unique versions. This recipe for rice and beans is very close to the much-loved version I grew up eating in the Dominican Republic, often referred to as Moro de Habichuelas. If you’ve been following here for a while, you may have seen I already have a one-pot rice and bean dish made with black beans. This one is very similar but I felt the differences warranted its own post.
Here we are using canned red beans to shorten the prep time, but the blend of herbs and spices maintains all the classic flavours of the dish. Serve this delicious one-pot rice and beans with a lime-soaked avocado salad, and/or some fast, easy to make pan-cooked sweet plantains. Easily, my definition of heaven.
Ingredients And Notes
- Long-grain white rice – This one-pot rice and bean recipe is best with long-grain white rice (I use this one , if in the US, this brand is a good one). Jasmine or basmati will work in a pinch but they are starchier than a true white long-grain white rice. This article explains the differences well, if you’re interested. No matter what rice you use, it must be thoroughly rinsed and drained to prevent mushy rice.
- Canned beans – For this recipe we are using 2 cans of red kidney beans. I way prefer pinto beans over kidney beans but I haven’t been able to find canned pinto beans that aren’t too soft and falling apart. For this recipe, I don’t use the bean liquid so the beans need to be rinsed and drained.
- Sofrito – Sautéed onions, garlic, chopped cilantro stems, and green pepper form the flavourful base of this dish.
- Canned tomatoes or sauce – This dish does not use a lot of tomatoes, just a bit of tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes. You can also use tomato paste mixed with 1/4 cup water.
- Spices – For this recipe we are using some paprika for colour and a bit of oregano and cumin for flavour. If you like a bit of heat, feel free to add some cayenne pepper to taste.
- Liquid – Chicken broth, or chicken bouillon cubes with water is the liquid most often used for rice and beans because it adds the most flavour. I use water to keep it a vegetarian dish, but you could also use a mix of vegetable broth and water. Note that some brands of vegetable broth are extremely strong and almost unpleasantly sweet. For this reason, unless using a homemade vegetable broth, make sure you always mix it with equal parts water.
- Olives – I love olives in this rice and bean dish. They add a lovely hint of brine, but capers would also do the trick. If you don’t like olives you can leave them out but be sure not to skip the lime juice.
- Lime juice – Particularly if you don’t add the olives, I think a bit of lime juice to drizzle over the finished dish is essential. The acidity lightens the earthiness and starchiness of the beans.
How To Make One-Pot Rice And Beans
This dish requires just a tiny bit of chopping. From there, all you have to do is combine everything in one pot, then wait for everything to cook. So easy!
- Start by thoroughly rinsing your rice, then set the rice aside. Do not skip the rinsing step. Rinsing it washes away the extra starch that could make the rice too mushy.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, or deep skillet, with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and bell pepper and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cilantro and cook for 1 more minute. Add the rice and spices and cook, tossing constantly, until the rice is coated with oil and has colour from the spices, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the rinsed beans, olives, and water and bring to a boil. Give it a good stir, then reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the rice has soaked up some of the water, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Now cover the rice, reduce heat to medium-low (or low if your medium-low is too hot) and cook for 25 minutes. Once you cover the rice, do not lift the lid. Seriously, no peeking allowed!
- Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. This allows the steam to distribute evenly throughout the rice and makes it fluffier. Uncover, and fluff the rice gently with a fork.
- Serve warm, drizzled with olive oil, a few squirts of lime juice, and garnished with chopped cilantro, if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
ARE RICE AND BEANS HEALTHY?
Beans are a very nutritious food. They are high in protein, fibre, and minerals and low in fat. Though white rice is lacking in high nutritional value, when paired with beans the dish provides all nine essential amino acids and becomes a complete protein.
For this one-pot rice and beans dish, I like to keep the bean ratio high since they are the most nutritious of the pair.
CAN I USE BROWN RICE?
Brown rice will work, but make sure you aren’t starting out with beans that are very soft. The longer cooking time for the rice will turn soft beans too mushy.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH RICE AND BEANS?
This one-pot rice and beans dish is filling enough to be served as a main course. However, I enjoy it most when served with an avocado salad that has plenty of lime juice, and/or with these sweet plantains that are incredibly easy and quick to make. Veggies such as roasted broccoli and cauliflower, and/or sautéed mushrooms would all be great alongside rice and beans.
If you aren’t avoiding animal protein, these albondigas guisandas (stewed meatballs), this slow cooker chicken stew, or these saucy Instant Pot Chicken thighs, are excellent choices to serve with rice and beans. For something even quicker, some sautéed shrimp or crumbled sausage would also be fabulous.
CAN I USE BLACK BEANS?
Yes, but in that case, use this recipe.
CAN YOU MAKE RICE AND BEANS AHEAD OF TIME?
This one-pot rice and beans recipe is great for making a day ahead and reheating when ready to serve. If making ahead, let it cool completely, then cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Same goes for leftovers.
To reheat, place the rice and beans in a large pot or pan and drizzle with 1/4 cup of water. Cover, and heat on medium low, stirring often, until warned through. You may need to add a bit more water if it still seems dry.
More Rice Recipes To Try
- Coconut Rice
- Moro de Habichuelas Negras (One-Pot Rice And Beans )
- Arroz con Pollo (One-Pot Chicken and Rice)
If you give this One-Pot Rice and Beans recipe a try, please feel free to leave a comment and/or a star rating below. We appreciate and welcome all your feedback. Thank you!
One-Pot Rice And Beans
- 2 cups long-grain white rice
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium yellow or red onion, finely chopped about 1 cup
- 1 medium green bell pepper seeded and finely chopped about 1/2 cup
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro leaves and tender stems finely chopped plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika (not smoked)
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf optional
- 1 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons salt or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper or more to taste
- 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup Spanish olives sliced (if omitting, be sure to finish with lime juice)
- 3 cups water or a mix with vegetable broth
- fresh lime juice to finish
- Start by thoroughly rinsing your rice, then set rinsed rice aside. Tip: Do not skip this step. Rinsing the rice washes away the extra starch that could make it too sticky and mushy. *See notes for rinsing guidance.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot, or deep skillet, with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and bell pepper and cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cilantro (if using) and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the rinsed rice, cumin, oregano, paprika, and bay leaf and cook, stirring well, until the rice is coated with oil and has colour from the spices, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and season with 2 teaspoons salt and a 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper.
- Add the rinsed beans, olives, and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Give it a good stir then reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the rice has soaked up some of the water, about 4 to 5 minutes. Now cover the rice, reduce heat to medium-low (or low if your medium-low is too hot) and cook for 25 minutes. Once you cover the rice, do not lift the lid. Seriously, no peeking allowed!
- Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes (still no peeking!). This allows the steam to distribute evenly throughout the rice and makes it fluffier. Uncover, and fluff the rice gently with a fork.
- Serve warm, drizzled with olive oil, a few squirts of lime juice, and garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.