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:
Yes. This dish can easily be reheated in the microwave.
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.
Yes, it is best to drain the liquid first.
Your fork is waiting.
Cuban Black Beans and Rice
- 1 pound black beans – dried or 4 (four 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 bay leaves divided
- 2 tablespoons 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Do you use dried or canned beans?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. 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.
Do you have to boil the beans if I decide to use canned beans?No.
Do dried beans need to be soaked?Yes. They need to be soaked to soften up. This also allows you the opportunity to remove any hard stones.
Want more mouthwatering meatless recipes? Check out my Pinterest board!