If you are looking for a quick and easy side dish to go with all your summer grills, you really cannot get much better than Black Beans & Rice! This delicious side is one of the best recipes for what is essentially a savory and flavourful side dish with both Cuban and Mexican influences! Culturally speaking, rice is a classic side dish in Latin American cuisine, and I am not really surprised. It stores wonderfully making it a great store cupboard ingredients. It is economical, quick, and easy to cook, and goes with just about everything.
When you add a protein such as black beans, along with some spices, herbs, and flavorings, you end up with something unbelievably delicious indeed. A dish that is not only completely at home on the vegetarian plate as a tasty main (if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken), but also as a delicious side for the carnivores in your life. Pair that with the elements of quick and easy, and you have an all-out winner!
I have to say, this dish is the perfect side for BBQ season! It pairs well with Chicken, Pork, Beef, Lamb, and fish or seafood. Its also pretty darned good with Tex Mex dishes such as tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. I will go out on a limb here and say it is pretty wonderful any time!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE BLACK BEANS & RICE
One of the things I love most about this tasty side is the simplicity of it, both in the ingredients used and in the manner of cooking. You could cook your own black beans from scratch if you wanted to of course, but I like to use canned black beans for speed and convenience. If you are so inclined to cook your own, by all means do so.
|½ TBS light olive oil|
|1 small onion, peeled and finely diced|
|1 tsp minced garlic|
|¾ cup of uncooked long grain white rice|
|½ tsp ground cumin|
|1 ½ cups chicken broth|
|Salt and black pepper to taste|
|1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed|
|1 TBS fresh lime juice|
|1 tsp hot sauce|
|A small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried, and chopped|
|Cilantro sprigs and lime wedges to garnish (optional)|
HINTS & TIPS TO MAKE BLACK BEANS & RICE
Be prepared to make the most delicious Black Beans & Rice ever with my hints and tips. Although this is a pretty basic recipe, it allows for plenty of room for you to add a few bits and make it your own!
- Read through the recipe a few times before beginning, and familiarise yourself with any ingredients, steps, or cooking tools you might need to use for making this recipe. This simple step can help to prevent a lot of heartaches later on.
- Assemble all of your ingredients and any pans, etc. you might need before you begin. There is nothing worse than getting part of the way through a recipe and realizing you do not have a vital ingredient.
- I recommend using long-grain white rice, or in a pinch, you can use basmati rice. Beware that Basmati rice does have a slightly different flavor. I do not recommend short grain rice at all because it gives a sticky finish.
- Using canned beans cuts down on the preparation time immensely. Feel free to cook your own from scratch if you wish, following the directions on the package of dried beans.
- When using canned beans, drain them well, rinse under cold running water and drain again. This gets rid of any extra starch and freshens them up quite a bit.
- You can make this a Vegan dish by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
- I like to dry fry my rice with the onions and garlic, and the cumin before adding anything else. Toasting the cumin with the rice really enriches the flavor.
- Cilantro can be a no-go ingredient for some people. It is one of those loathe it or love it kinds of herbs. If you are from the loathe it camp you can substitute it with some chopped fresh parsley if you wish and perhaps a bit of chopped green onion.
- Do NOT use lime juice from a bottle! NO NO NO! Please do not even be tempted. You really need to use the real deal here, fresh lime juice, squeezed from fresh limes!
- If you really want to spice things up feel free to add some other seasonings to the mix. Chili powder, crushed pepper flakes, and ground coriander all work very well.
- If your family likes vegetables, try chopping up some red pepper, jalapenos, or zucchini. Stir fry until just crispy tender and stir them into the rice at the end along with the beans. You can also add corn or chopped tomato. Like I said above, this is a pretty basic recipe which you can easily play with and adapt to encompass your family’s likes and dislikes.
HOW TO MAKE BLACK BEANS & RICE
I like to think that anyone can easily make Black Beans & Rice. No special skills or talents are needed!
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat.
Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until tender, without allowing them to colour.
Add the rice and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the cumin and cook for a minute until quite fragrant.
Add chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Stir the drained and rinsed beans into the rice. Cover and let sit off the heat for about 5 minutes, until everything is warmed through.
Fork through the lime juice, hot sauce and cilantro leaves. Fluff the rice well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Pour into a heated serving dish, garnish with some cilantro sprigs and the lime wedges and serve immediately.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING BLACK BEANS & RICE
As I said above this is a delicious side dish that goes very well with any grilled meats, poultry, or fish. You can easily dress it up for special occasions by adding Jalapeno peppers for a bit of spice, pitted black or green olives, sweet corn kernels, fresh chopped tomatoes, etc.
If you wanted to turn it into an easy main, you could stir in some cooked prawns, chicken, or even pork. This really is a very versatile recipe! Try sprinkling a bit of crumbled cotija cheese or feta over top!
If you are having a Tex Mex night why not make this to go along with your tacos, enchiladas, or burritos!
It’s not hard to see why this recipe is a family favorite in my house. With its ease in preparation and the ability to adapt it to a variety of flavors and textures, it always goes down a real treat with everyone! Its something I make for us at least every other week. It’s just a staple recipe that goes well with pretty much everything! I have also very easily cut the recipe in half when there are only a few of us at the table.
I really hope that you will try this and like it and that it becomes a real family favourite for you in the process!
- ½ TBS light olive oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ¾ cup of uncooked long grain white rice
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 TBS fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp hot sauce (optional, but nice)
- A small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried, and chopped
- Cilantro sprigs and lime wedges to garnish (optional)
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until tender, without allowing them to colour. Add the rice and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the cumin and cook for a minute until quite fragrant. Add the chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice is tender. Stir the drained and rinsed beans into the rice. Cover and let sit off the heat for about 5 minutes, until everything is warmed through.
- Fork through the lime juice, hot sauce and cilantro leaves. Fluff the rice well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour into a heated serving dish, garnish with some cilantro sprigs and the lime wedges and serve immediately.
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.