Learn how to make black beans and brown rice in one pot using flavorful and inexpensive ingredients. This versatile recipe is kid-friendly, vegan and gluten-free!
There is no recipe more important to a vegetarian than an easy rice and beans recipe. Not only is this a balanced and healthy meal, it's also very inexpensive to make and packed with flavor.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Made in one pot
- Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and soy-free
- Uses inexpensive pantry staples
- Seasoned to perfection with Mexican-inspired flavors like cumin and chili powder
Ingredients and substitutions
Brown rice: Long- or medium-grain will work. I don't recommend short grain. See note below about using white rice.
Black beans: We will use 3 cups of black beans, or around two 15 ounce cans (drained). I also like to cook dry beans in my Instant Pot to control flavor and sodium level (it's also cheaper than buying canned).
Yellow onion and bell pepper: Saute in olive oil until softened for flavor and texture. I use red bell pepper, but any color (yellow, orange, green) will work.
Garlic and jalapeno: Increase the number cloves (I usually use 3-4) for an extra garlicky dish. Jalapeno is optional, but do note that the spiciness will tone down as the rice cooks.
Spices: Cumin, chili powder, oregano and fresh cilantro are used for that Mexican-inspired flavor profile. We'll also add a dash of salt to emphasize the flavors.
Vegetable broth: Choose a low or reduced sodium vegetable broth to control the saltiness of the dish. Water can be used in a pinch but will make the end result less flavorful.
Step by step instructions
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot (I use the one in this set). Once hot, add diced onion and bell pepper. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno and garlic. Sauté until aromatic and softened, about 1 minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for black beans: vegetable broth, rinsed brown rice, crushed tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cilantro and salt. Give it a stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer over medium-low. Cover with a lid. Simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through. The rice should be "al dente" like pasta, not mushy (image four).
Note: Depending on the kind of pot that you use, too much steam may escape during the cooking process. If your rice isn't cooked through and there is no liquid remaining, add an additional ½ cup of vegetable broth or water and continue simmering.
5. Once the rice is done cooking, stir in the black beans. Heat over low until the black beans are warmed through. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and additional cilantro just before serving.
Recipe FAQ and expert tips
I recommend using brown rice because because white rice uses less liquid, so it may turn out mushy. White rice uses a 2 cups liquid : 1 cup rice ratio, whereas brown rice works best with 2.5 cups liquid : 1 cup brown rice. If using white rice, decrease the vegetable broth by at least 1 cup and decrease cook time to 15-20 minutes.
While I think black beans work best, most types of beans will work in this recipe. Try kidney beans, red beans, white beans, pinto beans and even black-eyed peas.
Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese. It is also delicious tossed with tortilla chips and lettuce in a taco salad and as a burrito or taco filling.
No. Dry beans require a different amount of liquid and cook time. You might want to try this Instant Pot rice and beans instead.
Let leftovers cool to room temperature before transferring to a container. Close and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally or heat in the microwave.
Yes, rice and beans freeze well. Let cool completely then transfer to a freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
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Black Beans and Brown Rice
- 2 cups brown rice medium or long grain
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced yellow onion about one small onion
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small jalapeno diced (optional)
- 3 cups vegetable broth less or reduced sodium
- 1 can (14-15 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro plus more for topping
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed
- fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro for serving
- Rinse the brown rice in a fine mesh colander or sieve. Set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven or large stock pot. Once hot, add diced onion and bell pepper. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute a minute more.
- Add vegetable broth, brown rice, tomatoes (with juices), cilantro, cumin, chili powder, dry oregano and salt. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cover with lid and reduce to a simmer over medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. If the rice isn't cooked through, continue cooking another 5 minutes. The rice is ready when softened but still holding its shape.
- Stir in the black beans. Taste for seasonings. Serve with fresh lime and chopped cilantro.
- Brown rice cook time: Depending on the kind of pot that you use, too much steam may escape during the cooking process. If your rice isn’t cooked through and there is no liquid remaining, add an additional ½ cup of vegetable broth or water and continue simmering.
- Can I use dry beans? No. Dry beans require a different amount of liquid and cook time. You might want to try this Instant Pot rice and beans instead.
- Storage: Let leftovers cool to room temperature before transferring to a container. Close and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally or heat in the microwave.
- Freezing: Let cool completely then transfer to a freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.