rice and beans

I love beans. This is a recent revelation, as the only beans I remember eating as a kid were refried or mixed with hot dogs. (And just like that, pork and beans has been added to my “To Cook” list.) I’m not sure if it’s the beans that are so good, or the type of recipes that beans tend to be in – mishmashes of various flavors and textures blended together so each bite is just a little bit different from the last, but equally delicious.

Rice and beans is beans at their simplest. I have a Puerto Rican friend who makes fantastic rice and beans, and I’m kicking myself for not getting the recipe from him before I moved away. However, I’m finding that rice and beans is completely adaptable to personal tastes and availability of ingredients. The first time I made it, I used a recipe, but I don’t find myself following it very closely these days.

The original recipe uses sausage, onions, garlic, beans, chicken broth, and some seasoning. It’s a great recipe, but the beauty of rice and beans is that you can ignore the recipe and still get something fantastic. This time I used a bit of celery, a chipotle chile, and as many tomatoes as beans. Last time I used red pepper and less tomatoes. Any number of additions would be great – green pepper, squash, maybe even sweet potatoes. The only requirement is beans, although I admit that I wouldn’t make it without onions, and now I’m loving the tomatoes. I also love the sausage, even though I prefer not to use meat in my staple weeknight meals. If you can think of a great substitute, let me know!

I’ve linked to the original recipe above, and I’ll provide a recipe for what the pictures show, but keep in mind that this is a fun meal to adapt to your own preferences.

Rice and Beans

Serves 4

8 ounces cooked sausage, such as kielbasa (I used salami this time)
1 medium onion, diced small
1 stalk celery, minced (red pepper would be great too)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin (I’ve also used Old Bay)
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used 2 cans, but it was admittedly very tomatoey)
1 cup chicken broth (I didn’t use this, but I should have)

6 cups cooked long-grain white rice (from 1 cup uncooked rice)

In a 3- or 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, cook the sausage until it begins to brown and fat begins to render. Add the onions and celery/pepper/whatever and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and spice(s) and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and the flavors have blended, about 45 minutes (or as long as you want actually – I’m not sure I’ve ever cooked it for the full 45 minutes). Serve over rice.


  1. This looks sooo delicious! I’m in awe at how you made something simply delicious like rice and beans look so gourmet! Love it!

  2. I love this sort of dinner. And with that added sausage, I might just be able to pass this one off on my husband without him complaining that there isn’t a “main dish.”

  3. I make a rice and beans dinner that I really love. It’s such a wonderful weeknight meal. I’ll definitely have to give your version a try! It looks so good!

  4. I love rice and beans, but haven’t made them in a while since Carlo can’t really digest it. I thought about making this with couscous.

  5. I also wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you to receive a “Blogging with a Purpose” award. I really enjoy your blog a lot, and you definitely deserve it.

    I’ve posted this on my blog for you to see!

  6. I really like this version .. In Dominican Republic, were i am from, this is a tipicall dish with any sort of meat.. but we dont use sausages, we use Pork or Ribs or longaniza or nothing jejej with a great salad and some green fries plantains mmmmmmmm delicious

    yeah is too much meal.. By the way i love ur blog!!! simply delicious

  7. Angie says:

    Fantastic meal! Second recipe of yours I’ve tried lately…I’ll keep reading.

  8. Love this recipe! We’ve made it a bunch of times now and it just hits the spot. I love it for the days that I’m feeling too lazy to cook. 🙂