Easy and Delicious Rice and Bean Recipes From Around the World

rice and beans


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rice and beans

Rice + Beans = Delicious

You can open a can of black beans and pour them over a bag of precooked 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 a favorite recipe — perhaps one that reflects your cultural heritage — but it's always a good time to expand your culinary horizons, so join us on a "round-the-world tour" of rice-and-bean recipes. Do you have favorites we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Related: Cheap and Easy One-Pot Meals

red beans and rice
brazilian black beans and rice

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

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italian beans and rice

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

Asian-Style Fried Rice and Beans

"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" — all true. The base of this recipe 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

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 with 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

African Rice and Beans

This recipe for a "spicy flavorful rice and beans combo flavored with onions, thyme, smoked paprika, and garlic" has an optional ingredient: crayfish. The site offers a companion recipe/serving suggestion for a chicken dish but notes the rice and beans can be served with stew or vegetables.

Recipe: Immaculate Bites


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

Spanish Chicken and Rice

Recipe author Heidi 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 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

Mexican Beef 'N Rice Skillet

The caption for the photo accompanying this recipe says "Cheesiness at its best," and 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. Mix-it-up ideas include substituting chicken or serving in a tortilla.

Recipe: Delish 

red beans and rice

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

Cuban Rice and Beans

This one-pot dish, "healthy and full of flavor," makes an ideal sidecar to any entree. 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

Stewed Pinto Beans With Smoked Trout

This recipe is presented 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

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

Middle Eastern Rice With Black Beans and Chickpeas

A recipe straight out of Bethlehem has cumin, coriander, turmeric, garlic, and cayenne pepper adding spice, while ground turkey, black beans, chickpeas, and basmati rice carrying it through. Add extra zest from optional ingredients including fresh cilantro and parsley, as well as pine nuts.

Recipe: Allrecipes 

vegetarian briyani
Stanislav Sablin/istockphoto

Vegan Indian Biryani

This is an at-home version of an Indian restaurant fave. Its intense flavors draw from a unique combination of ingredients ranging from pistachios and golden raisins to turmeric, star anise, and cardamom pods, rounding out the tastes of basmati rice and green beans. 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
Richard Villalonundefined undefined/istockphoto

Savory Italian Sausage Rice

The beans are green in this 5-star-rated, Italian-inspired dish that takes but a half-hour to make. Reviewers note not only its pleasing taste but also its ease in preparation: "My kids and I made this together and it was such a treat to get them cooking!"

Recipe: SideChef 

valencian paella

Valencian Paella

Readers are invited to "travel the world through your taste buds," offering "delicious originals, revitalized classics and authentic dishes from around the world." This elaborate take on "the national dish of Spain" features chicken, artichokes, and lima and green beans (there's also a seafood version). The recipe introduction shares not only details on the tradition of paella but also travel notes and photos of a visit to Valencia.

Recipe: The Daring Gourmet 

Jerk chicken plate, jamaican food

Jamaican Red Beans and Rice

A 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 as a meatless main dish complemented by an avocado-tomato salad.

Recipe: Skinnytaste 

cauliflower salad

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 enlivened by lemon and tahini, and vegan to boot, that not only looks light and bright but pretty darned tasty. There are recipe notes (the rice and bean tradition, what tahini is) for background.

Recipe: Olive Tomato 

gallo pinto

Cowboy Beans and Rice

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

Recipe: Food

thai curry with edamame

Coconut Rice With Edamame and Canary Beans Curry

This 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.

Recipe: Vegetarian Underground

mexican tomato rice and beans

Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans

This recipe 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

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

Israeli Rice and Beans

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

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 (ideas are included). Remember, the chilling is the important step, allowing the ingredients to "soak in the blissful dressing."

Recipe: Taste of Home 


Sekihan (Japanese Azuki Beans and Rice)

Sekihan features red Azuki beans for "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

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
daniel san martin/istockphoto

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." 

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
undefined undefined/istockphoto

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. 

Recipe: Super Nummy