Learn how to make Black Beans and Brown Rice in one pot using flavorful and inexpensive ingredients. This versatile recipe is great in tacos, burritos or enjoyed on its own.
There is no recipe more important to a vegetarian than an easy rice and beans recipe. I already have you covered with an Instant Pot version, so I figured it was time to share an equally delicious stove top version.
Rice and beans have long been touted as a classic vegetarian/vegan food because the two main ingredients (rice & beans) make a “complete protein” when eaten together.
That means that the two components combine to provide all 20 amino acids.
While I’m all about a healthy, well-balanced dish (protein, carbs, and veggies!) I think the best part is how easy and inexpensive it is to make rice and beans.
This stove top rice and beans is made in one pot and is seasoned to perfection with Mexican-inspired flavors like cumin and chili powder. Add in a handful of diced onion, bell pepper, tomato and garlic for extra flavor and nutrition.
Whether you’re an omnivore or vegan, gluten-free or all about wheat, this recipe is sure to make it on your regular rotation alongside quinoa black bean casserole, vegetarian enchiladas, and quinoa taco salad.
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- 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.
- Fire roasted crushed tomatoes: This will give the rice that extra oomph that it needs. The liquid from the tomatoes also helps the rice to cook.
Alright, are you ready to get to cooking some black beans and rice?
How to make
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 (image one). Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the jalapeno and garlic (image two). Saute until aromatic and softened, about 1 minute.
Add the vegetable broth, rinsed brown rice, crushed tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, oregano, cilantro and salt (don’t add the black beans yet!). Give it a stir to combine (image three).
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 1/2 cup of vegetable broth or water and continue simmering.
Once the rice is done cooking, stir in the black beans. Heat over low until the black beans are warmed through.
Squeeze with fresh lime juice and additional cilantro just before serving.
White or brown rice?
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 you choose to go the white rice route, decrease the vegetable broth by at least 1 cup and decrease cook time to 15-20 minutes.
What kinds of beans can I use?
While I think black beans work best, I know that may not be what you have in your pantry when meal time strikes.
Most types of beans will work in this recipe: kidney beans, red beans, white beans, pinto beans and even black-eyed peas.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy this dish is topped 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.
Even better, pair with fried eggs or a tofu scramble for a balanced breakfast. You can really get creative with this recipe!
Black Beans and Brown Rice
- 2 cups brown rice medium or long grain
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 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
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1/2 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 1/2 cup of vegetable broth or water and continue simmering.
- Keeps for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Can also be stored in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw completely in the fridge before serving.