rice and beans
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30 Creative Rice and Bean Dishes From Around the World

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rice and beans
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Rice + Beans = Delicious

You can open a can of black beans and pour them over a bag of pre-cooked rice for an easy, tasty, and hearty meal. But rice and beans can be so much more, which is why the combination forms the heart of traditional dishes that have long been staples around the world. You may already have your favorite recipe — perhaps one that reflects your cultural heritage — but these stay-at-home days are the ideal time to expand your culinary horizons, so join us on a "round-the-world tour" of rice-and-bean recipes.

red beans and rice
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Latin American-Style Red Beans and Rice

With only 10 minutes of prep, this Latin American dish is not only tasty but also easy. It's a health-smart choice that uses sodium-free tomato sauce and gets a rich layer of flavor from adobo seasoning, a Puerto Rican-inspired dry spice blend.

Recipe: Camellia Brand

brazilian black beans and rice
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Natalie Morales' Brazilian Black Beans and Rice

American TV journalist Natalie Morales has shared a recipe on the "Today" show website from her cookbook, "At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family's Kitchen to Yours." In a nod to her Brazilian mother, Morales notes, "Rice and beans is a must-have part of any Brazilian meal." She suggests serving the beans with fluffy white rice "perfect for soaking up their sauce." Also included are technique tips and ingredient-swap options.

Recipe: Today

italian beans and rice
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Italian-Style Vegetarian Rice and Beans

Writer Jolinda Hackett puts an Italian-style spin on two classics, cannellini beans and rice, in this less-than-15-minute recipe ideal for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free side dish. She suggests adding sautéed tofu or seitan to elevate it to a more substantial (yet still vegetarian) entree.

Recipe: The Spruce Eats 

 Asian-Style Fried Rice and Beans
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Asian-Style Fried Rice and Beans

Better Homes & Gardens takes home chefs to East Asia: "Sweet, savory, hearty, fresh, and ready in about 45 minutes, this stir-fry dinner hits all the qualities we look for in a weeknight recipe." Its base includes the standbys of brown rice and garbanzo beans, with the addition of cilantro, lime, and pineapple. (Be sure to check out the tip about using fresh ginger, an easy practice you can rely on whenever you need this ingredient.)

Recipe: Better Homes & Gardens

arroz con gandules
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Mom's Authentic Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

Pinto or pink beans and basmati rice are the heart of this "Puerto Rican soul food" dish that will indeed take time — but reviews say the effort's more than worth it. (Most of the prep time is the soaking of the beans.) Easy to double and ideal for a crowd, it's a traditional dish that connects the author to her heritage and offers "a good dose of global inspired creativity." The recipe notes that the dish is actually called arroz con gandules and many chefs add olives and pork to the mix, so it's fine to customize.

Recipe: Ambitious Kitchen

african rice and beans
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African Rice and Beans

The website Immaculate Bites, dedicated to "Afro-Caribbean Recipes Made Easy," shares this recipe for a "spicy flavorful rice and beans combo flavored with onions, thyme, smoked paprika, and garlic." Oh, and there's also an optional ingredient: crayfish. The site offers a companion recipe/serving suggestion for a chicken dish but notes the rice and beans can also be served with stew or vegetables.

Recipe: Immaculate Bites

gumbo
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South Louisiana-Style White Beans & Rice

Smoked or andouille sausage, Creole seasoning, and the "holy trinity" of Creole/Cajun cooking — onion, celery, and bell pepper — give this dish from the American South its regional pedigree. Reviewers say to be sure to serve it with cornbread, and it tastes even better as leftovers.

Recipe: Camellia Brand

spanish chicken and rice
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Spanish Chicken and Rice

The recipe author, Heidi of Foodie Crush, describes this dish quite nicely: "Chicken thighs are nestled in Spanish-flavored rice with Spanish chorizo, green olives, and garbanzo beans for the ultimate one-pot meal." She goes on to call it a "party in a pan" and also provides a full menu of recipes, if you're in the mood to go all out, sharing ideal pairings for a cocktail, appetizer, and dessert (tres leches cake).

Recipe: Foodie Crush

Mexican Rice and Beans
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Mexican Beef 'N Rice Skillet

Um, the caption for the photo accompanying this recipe says "Cheesiness at its best," so those of us who are cheese lovers are going to be all in. The foundation of this dish is ground beef, black beans, white rice, fire-roasted tomatoes, and a few spices, all joined by a hearty helping of shredded cheddar and Monterey cheeses. Check out the positive reviews, which include mix-it-up ideas such as substituting chicken or serving in a tortilla.

Recipe: Delish

red beans and rice
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Brown Rice and Red Beans

Soy sauce adds the spirit of Asia to this simple dish. It also relies on sherry and balsamic vinegar to turn a basic, boring dish into something flavorful.

Recipe: Thyme for Cooking

cuban rice and beans
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Cuban Rice and Beans

This one-pot dish makes an ideal sidecar to any entree — it's "healthy and full of flavor," says Chew Out Loud blogger Amy. The detailed ingredient list offers a wealth of options designed to help a cook make the dish still work with what's on hand.

Recipe: Chew Out Loud

rice beans plantains
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Stewed Pinto Beans With Smoked Trout

Cameroon-raised blogger Elsie presents this recipe as a simple lunch idea, but it sounds hearty enough for dinner. Called "dodo and beans" in Cameroon, the dish seems a winner thanks to sweet plantains and "spicy, flavorful," smoky stewed beans, best served over rice. It can easily be made vegetarian or vegan, as well, with suggestions for substitutions.

Recipe: Afro Vitality Eats

pigeon peas and rice
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Sarina's Pigeon Peas and Rice

Take a trip to the Caribbean with this dish, made rich and creamy by a heavy helping of coconut milk. Fresh tomato and thyme complete the flavor profile, while keeping the recipe ideal for beginners.

Recipe: TriniGourmet

pigeon peas and rice
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Middle Eastern Rice With Black Beans and Chickpeas

Contributor Julie P. posted this to Allrecipes, courtesy of a friend from Bethlehem, so its origins sound most authentic. Cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, and cayenne pepper add the spice, while ground turkey, black beans, chickpeas, and basmati rice carry it through. Add extra zest from optional ingredients including fresh cilantro and parsley, as well as pine nuts.

Recipe: Allrecipes

vegetarian briyani
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Vegan Indian Biryani

Alexandra Caspero, the registered dietitian and plant-based chef who blogs at Delish Knowledge, offers this at-home version of the Indian restaurant fave. Its intense flavors draw from its unique ingredients, ranging from pistachios and golden raisins to turmeric, star anise, and cardamom pods rounding out the basmati rice and green beans. Sure, that's a lot of specialty ingredients to buy, but the results are worth it, as reviews assure ("It's delicate and warming, the individual spices all dance on your tongue in a subtle way.")

Recipe: Delish Knowledge

green beans and sausage
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Savory Italian Sausage Rice

Green beans are the bean in this 5-star-rated, Italian-inspired dish that takes but a half an hour to make. Reviewers note not only its pleasing taste and handy casserole style but also its ease in preparation, perfect for these days: "My kids and I made this together and it was such a treat to get them cooking!"

Recipe: SideChef

valencian paella
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Valencian Paella

Kimberly, aka The Daring Gourmet, invites readers to "travel the world through your taste buds," offering "delicious originals, revitalized classics and authentic dishes from around the world." Her elaborate take on "the national dish of Spain" features chicken, artichokes, and both lima and green beans (she also has a seafood version). Her recipe introduction shares not only details on the tradition of paella but also travel notes and photos of her past visit to Valencia.

Recipe: The Daring Gourmet

Jerk chicken plate, jamaican food
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Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

Gina Homolka's Skinnytaste site offers this vegetarian and dairy- and gluten-free recipe that relies on coconut milk, thyme, scallions, and scotch bonnet peppers to give it "island flair." It can be served as a side dish or, she notes, as a meatless main dish complemented by an avocado-tomato salad.

Recipe: Skinnytaste

cauliflower salad
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Greek Chickpeas and Rice With Lemon and Tahini

Create a one-pot traditional Greek entree that brings unusual tastes to the family dinner table. It's a recipe truly enlivened by lemon and tahini, and vegan to boot. Elena Paravantes' dish not only looks light and bright but pretty darned tasty. She shares some recipe notes (the rice and bean tradition, what tahini is) for background.

Recipe: Olive Tomato

gallo pinto
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Cowboy Beans and Rice

Think of the Wild West and campfires when making this dish, which you can actually prepare from the comfort of your own kitchen, starting with a skillet and finishing off in the oven. This recipe on Food.com is a straightforward take that relies on onions, chili powder, and chopped chilies for a bit of kick.

Recipe: Food.com

thai curry with edamame
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Thai Coconut Rice With Edamame and Canary Beans Curry

Vaishali's recipe, actually a pair of recipes, will have your mouth watering for some make-at-home Thai fusion fare. The recipes are easy to follow, and fear not if you've never heard of canary beans — there are easy substitutions offered, including cannellini or red beans, along with cooking suggestions. (Bonus: Her blog includes a playful essay on cats vs. dogs.)

Recipe: Holy Cow

mexican tomato rice and beans
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Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans

This recipe from Raghavan Iyer gets a little lift from fresh jalapeño. It's one of those recipes destined to become a weeknight favorite. As one reviewer notes, "This is always a hit. My family loves it! No changes made to the recipe."

Recipe: Fine Cooking

veg chili soup
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Scandinavian Navy Bean and Rice Stew

Navy (or kidney) beans plus long-grain rice get a decidedly unusual flavor spin thanks to the addition of lemon juice and fresh dill in this recipe from the Michigan Bean Commission.

Recipe: Michigan Bean Commission

israeli rice and beans
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Israeli Rice and Beans

Blogger Elissabeth of The Taste of Kosher says this dish is a staple of Israeli homes. Paprika, cumin, and a touch of sugar make it a uniquely spiced addition to any table. It can be made, equally well, in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop, and also offered are tips for storing and reheating, should there be leftovers.

Recipe: The Taste of Kosher

rice and bean salad
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Cool Beans Salad

This all-American favorite is designed for the backyard picnic table. Basmati rice, kidney beans, black beans, frozen corn, and more add up to an easy prep that can be customized countless ways (tips are included). Remember, the chilling is the important step, allowing the ingredients to "soak in the blissful dressing."

Recipe: Taste of Home

Sekihan
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Sekihan (Japanese Azuki Beans and Rice)

Nami, a self-titled "Japanese home cook based in San Francisco," shares her recipe for Sekihan, which features red Azuki beans. She shares it's "a traditional dish served during New Year's, birth of baby, birthdays, festivals, weddings, or any kind of celebrations." Why not make any day special by trying out this main course/side dish?

Recipe: Just One Cookbook

Iranian persian cuisine
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Persian Sabzi Polo (Herb Rice With Fava Beans)

This Persian dish goes well with a fish or chicken entree. The author suggests using fresh herbs (dill, parsley, cilantro) when possible for the best taste and, in a note of kindness, cautions those new to this recipe not to panic: "It's normal to end up with crispy rice (called tadig) on the bottom of the pot after cooking; it's delicious."

Recipe: AllRecipes

tacu tacu
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Tacu-Tacu (Peruvian Beans and Rice)

This dish is said to have originated as a simple Peruvian way to use up leftover rice and beans. Here's how it's described: "The leftover rice is mixed with cooked, seasoned Canary beans, and then fried in a skillet to make a large patty. Typically served with the classic Peruvian salsa (salsa criolla), the rice and beans can also be served with leftover meats, a fried egg, or grilled thin steaks." Y-U-M.

Recipe: Goya

Che Dau Trang
Che Dau Trang by Zxcvasdfqwer888 (CC BY-SA)

Vietnamese Sweet Rice and Bean Pudding

This dish, known as Che Dau Trang, is a traditional Vietnamese dessert that includes black-eyed peas and sticky rice along with sugar and coconut milk. Recipe variations are noted, including the addition of tapioca, lotus seeds, crunchy seaweed ... or plain old cinnamon and vanilla.

Recipe: Fork Fingers Chopsticks

red bean mochi
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Red Bean and Walnut Mochi Cake

This traditional Asian cake is said to be "faintly sweet, addictively chewy," and also naturally gluten-free, as it's made with rice flour. Be bold, as the recipe includes an easy way to create your own red bean paste to add to the cake batter. Also shared are tips for cooling, storing, and serving any remaining cake the next day (hint: A microwave is involved).

Recipe: Super Nummy