Cuban Black Beans and Rice is a simple, satisfying side dish packed with protein and bursting with Latin flavors like garlic, oregano, and cumin.
One of the many reasons I love to travel is because it exposes me to cuisines from around the world. After recent visits to Miami and Puerto Vallarta, I was inspired to get in my home kitchen to recreate one of my favorite Cuban recipes: black beans and rice.
Black beans and rice is a common dish all over the Caribbean. Don’t let the humble nature of this dish fool you: the combination of black beans and rice is one of the most nutritious, well-rounded dishes you can serve and always have plenty of flavors.
Dried vs canned beans in a rice dish:
Canned black beans will work if you’re short on time but I highly suggest dried black beans for added texture, flavor and fewer additives. For this Cuban recipe, I like to start with dried black beans and soak them overnight. Of course, if you don’t have time to do that just use canned beans but be sure to drain and rinse them to remove any excess starchy liquid. This will also allow you to control the salt content better.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What foods pair well with black beans and rice?
While you can certainly enjoy these black beans and rice as is, I love to top it with grilled shrimp, roasted salmon or pork tenderloin.
Can you reheat black beans and rice?
Yes. This dish can easily be reheated in the microwave.
Do beans need to be soaked prior to eating?
Yes. Beans need to be soaked prior to making this dish to soften them up. This also allows you the opportunity to remove any hard stones that may remain.
Do you need to drain the liquid out of the cooked beans before you add it to the rice?
Yes, it is best to drain the liquid first.
Do you use prefer dried or canned beans?
Dried. Canned black beans will work if you’re short on time but I highly suggest dried black beans for added texture, flavor and less additives.
If you decide to use canned beans but be sure to drain and rinse them to remove any excess starchy liquid. This will also allow you to control the salt content better.
Do canned beans need to be boiled?
Your fork is waiting.
Cuban Black Beans and Rice
- 1 pound black beans – dried (to use canned beans: use 4 (15-ounce cans of rinsed and drained black beans for every pound of dried black beans. )
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 bay leaves (divided)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 red bell pepper (seeded and diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cups long grain white rice (rinsed)
- 4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- minced cilantro and lime wedges (to serve)
Preparing and cooking the beans
- Soak beans overnight to soften and remove any small hard stones. The next day, strain and rinse soaked beans with fresh water.
- To cook beans, place in a large pot and add enough water to cover the beans by two inches. Carefully smash whole garlic cloves with the back of a knife and add to the pot of beans along with 2 of the bay leaves.
- Bring the pot to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (90 minutes or up to two hours.) Set aside once cooked.
Preparing the rice and vegetables
- Next, in a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions, peppers, and garlic. Add spices (salt through cayenne) and continue stirring until vegetables have softened, 4-6 minutes.
- Rince rice in a strainer until the water comes out clear
- Stir in rinsed (uncooked) rice and sauté for 2 minutes so that the rice starts to toast and lightly brown.
- Pour in chicken broth and add reserved, cooked black beans along with bay leaves. Stir once then bring to a boil. Stir a second time then reduce heat to low and place a tightly fitting lid on the pot. Cook until liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Use a fork to loosen the rice and bean mixture then serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
Want more mouthwatering meatless recipes? Check out my Pinterest board!
I just used this recipe and it’s delicious! The only difference I made was adding beef broth rather than chicken broth because that’s what I had on hand. I have tried several recipes for black beans and rice and this is the closest I’ve gotten to what I crave every once in awhile. Thank You!
I love this recipe. I use brown rice and quinoa and top the rice and beans with pulled pieces of grilled salmon or fresh sardines.