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21 Best Beans and Rice Recipes (All Types)

6 Healthy beans and rice recipe's in a collage.
The funniest day in sociology was when we learned about how important beans and rice are in our everyday life. Along with learning about food as part of world cultures, we also discovered having a sociology degree meant earning an income meager enough to make you live off of rice and beans. Much to their chagrin, I also became a writer, but the beans and rice concept of saving pennies still sticks. Here are some of the best tasting and most original Beans and Rice Recipes I have found to help ward off starvation–and to save money while getting all those amino acids and complex proteins necessary for health and wellness. 

1. Spanish Red Beans and Rice to Feed a Family Fast

Spanish Style, red bean and rice with fresh tomatoes.
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Whether you are vegetarian or vegan, keto or an omnivore, beans, and rice are a huge part of most cuisines, especially Latin American and Mexican foods we eat so often in the US. This recipe takes root in the Spanish version of Mexican cuisine, which can be a little confusing to us. However, the Spaniards took over Mexico and subjugated them to have Spanish influences. Therefore, this might be a recipe originating in Spain or simply from south of the US-Mexico border.

2. Make it in a Minute Red Beans and Rice

Simple and healthy Rice and red beans in a bowl.
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The instant rice is back with this Red Beans and Rice meal by Minute Rice. The recipe is super simple and works on a dime and with minimal ingredients. You only need seven items with the option of an eighth, which is hot sauce and not optional in my opinion.

The recipe only takes four steps, too. Could you make this instant rice and beans in a camper or when roadside in a tent? I say so! Saute the veggies and beans, and then bring the pot to boil with extra water. Add enough water to the rice, let it sit, and fluff it up.

3. Food Network Presents Canned Black Beans and Rice

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The easiest way to cook a pot of beans is to start with beans that are already cooked. Canned beans make this the most cost-effective method, which is what they use in this Beans and Rice recipe. You need black beans for this version of Beans and Rice, but also fresh plum tomatoes. I am more of a Roma tomato buyer and I believe these are considered plum tomatoes based on their shape.

It also requires four whole cups of white rice, which is a lot by standard measure and will feed a dozen folks easily. No meat in this one, but they do provide a bevy of topping options like sour cream and chives. 

4. American Heart Association Black Beans and Rice

Healthy Red beans and rice in a pan with a ladle.
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Black beans must have more antioxidants due to their color and I bet that’s the reason the American Heart Association is using them in their version of beans and rice. The recipe provides 10 grams of protein per serving and does not use any meat or additional beans. That says a lot about the health benefits of this recipe, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.

The recipe also uses instant brown rice, which will save you so much time in cooking it while still giving you the benefits of wheat bran. They also use two whole limes for juice, and I love that! You get a lot of zing in each bite of these Black Beans and Rice.

5. All in One Pot Rice and Beans by the New York Times

New York times red beans and rice recipe in a bowl.
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If you are a subscriber to the New York Times recipes, then you are in luck! This recipe is a great option for a simple, one-pot meal that is ready for dinner in no time. You could even whip this up for lunch and have it ready to eat on the way out the door to the office.

Even if you live in New York City, which I do not. I could not if I tried on my sociologist-writer salary and budget. Again, we are talking a Beans and Rice recipe roundup, not steak and fries or even orange creamsicle cheesecake. 

6. Eating Well Makes Healthier Than Usual Beans and Rice

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Something about Eating Well makes the recipe feel healthier. Am I right about this or is it just me? This Beans and Rice recipe, for example, takes only 15 minutes and feeds four with a healthy serving of complex carbs and proteins. It uses instant brown rice that is already cooked along with canned dark red kidney or black beans.

I also love the use of real veg in terms of onion and red bell pepper and garlic plus cilantro as a topper. The beans and rice hit flavor notes with hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken or vegetable broth. 

7. Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice in More Depth

Red beans and rice with half sliced sausage.
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For a more in-depth take on flavors and a more localized version of rice and beans, choose this Red Beans and Rice recipe. For starters, the meal has historical roots. Monday was the day everyone in New Orleans did their laundry.

They needed to eat something they could cook from a distance, and what works better than a pot of beans simmering all day long? There is also sausage in this, by the way, so you are looking at a very hearty meal indeed.

8. How Does Emeril Lagasse Make Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice with tomato, cilantro and a wooden ladle.
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Because Emeril Lagasse makes a lot of Cajun cuisine, so BAM! We must see how he does his easiest and most basic Cajun-style dish. The Red Beans and Rice recipe does not use anything canned, I can tell you that much.

You are going to need real, dried red beans that have to be sorted and soaked the night before; do not skimp and quick-soak these. You might also have to spend some money on the beans in order to get some actual flavor. Ingredient Number 2 is bacon grease, and can I just say for sure this is the best recipe in the roundup?

He also uses smoked ham hocks and smoked sausage, and most of these recipes forgo meat altogether. 

9. New Orleans Style Red Beans and Rice 

New Orleans red beans and rice in a large cup and a maracas.
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A variation of the New Orleans style of beans and rice is this recipe for Southern Style Red Beans and Rice. Looking it over, it’s got the bones to be a great recipe. You have andouille sausage coins, which are seasoned with Cajun spices.

There’s also the use of celery, bell pepper, and onion to create a holy trinity of veg in New Orleans cuisine. The total time cooking is about three hours, so prepare for that, which is most likely another reason this really does ring true for Southern cuisine. They like to make this dish low and slow to simmer out the best flavor profile.

10. Let Lousiana Tell You How to Cook Rice and Beans

Louisiana red beans and rice with sliced sausages.
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Another way to cook Red Beans and Rice like they do in Louisiana comes from the Louisiana Office of Tourism. This recipe claims to be most authentic to what you would call Cajun or New Orleans Red Beans and Rice. They use baked or boiled ham, along with smoked sausage and dried red beans.

So far it looks great to me! They also make the trinity of onions, bell peppers, and celery to use for the flavorings and veg. This is a great recipe if you are searching for real Louisiana-inspired Red Rice and Beans.

11. Copycat Popeyes Red Beans and Rice

Popeye's classic red bean and rice side dish.
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You need two things to make the knock-off version of Popeyes’ classic side dish, Red Beans and Rice. First, real whole strips of bacon, and secondly, an Instant Pot. The dish starts with bacon grease freshly rendered from the bacon along with crispy bacon pieces.

Doing this in an Instant Pot is simple; yes, you can even saute bacon using this slow cooker/pressure cooker. The recipe is otherwise very simple and has only a handful of ingredients. This makes getting dinner done fast and without a lot of effort. 

12. Mexican Rice and Beans by Success Rice

Mexican style black beans and rice in a bowl with fresh tomatoes.
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Along with Minute Rice, Success Rice is a popular brand of US instant rice boxes. This boil-in-a-bag option for brown rice has whole grains and makes the entire meal healthier. You also have the use of chorizo, which is a Mexican sausage, plus a jalapeno, which is going to spice things up with that familiar Mexican spice.

The recipe goes on with the use of canned black beans for the bean component. Black beans and brown rice are a hearty and heart-healthy combination for the Beans and Rice recipe roundup. Then you get to make it even more Mexican inspired with the use of cumin, Cheddar cheese, cilantro, and lime.

I would suggest using crema instead of sour cream if you want even more authentic Mexican Rice and Beans.

13. Goya Gives Us Puerto Rican Pink Beans and Rice

White rice and beans in a bowl with fresh cilantro.
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Let me start by highlighting the name change! From Red Beans to Pink Beans, this Beans and Rice Recipe is a wonderful way to switch up the flavors on this dish. The Goya brand brings the recipe for Puerto Rican Rice and Beans, starting with Sofrito, which is a red jarred sauce, along with Sazon Goya without Annatto and chicken-flavored bouillon.

The use of actual Goya Pink beans is also exciting for this recipe. If you find these on the shelf, it is a sign that you must make Pink Beans and Rice; it’s a must!

14. Black Beans and Rice by Bush’s Beans

Black beans and rice with fresh tomatoes in a blue bowl.
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Another simple dinner solution using canned beans is this Black Beans and Rice recipe by Bush’s Beans. The recipe also uses just “cider vinegar,” when I thought that was actually called apple cider vinegar. What a world we live in! You need fresh thyme.

After the dinner I just made using that herb, be warned, it’s hard to get the fresh stuff off the stem sometimes. I would recommend this for a fiesta-inspired brunch for colleagues at the office. It’s healthy, includes a complex carb and protein blend, and most people will eat black beans with rice.

15. Rice and Beans the Costa Rican Way

Rice and red beans with spicy chicken in a plate.
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There is another cuisine that has beans and rice recipe that is close cousins to those recipes we see common here in the US. Thanks to those local Caribbean roots! The island makes its Rice and Beans using an unusual ingredient–Panamanian green peppers. The recipe gets a lot more in-depth than any of the other ones featured in this recipe roundup.

You’ve got to find three whole coconuts, one whole chicken, four ripe plantains–and the option of MSG. Yes, folks, that’s right. You can optionally include monosodium glutamate in this recipe. This might be a shocker for you, but along with headaches, MSG is a flavor enhancer common among a lot of cuisines.

16. Success Rice is Back With Confetti Beans and Rice With Chicken 

Rice and black beans with corn, chicken and fresh tomato.
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This recipe for Confetti Beans and Rice with Chicken will be easy enough to toss together for a picnic by the lake. Simply use some Success Brown Rice that takes a minute with boiling in a bag. Then use canned ingredients the rest of the way to get the colorful array of veggies and black beans in this rice.

The addition of canned or rotisserie chicken for the cooked and diced chicken breast is an excellent option here. You could quickly grab a whole chicken at the market, saving you time with roasting your own. 

17. Goya Goes Cuban This Time With Rice and Beans

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For a secondary Cuban-style Rice and Beans, Goya is back with another recipe. Here is a meal ready in half an hour that is both vegetarian and vegan. Plus, you get to use some fun items from other cuisines you might not keep in stock, like Sazon Goya with Coriander and Annatto and Sazon Goya without Annatto.

I admit I have no idea what either of those ingredients is and how they are going to taste! All of these flavors are new to my profile, which excites me. If you have never cooked Cuban food, the spice blends alone are simply awesome. 

18. More On That Louisiana Style Red Beans and Rice

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Truly in this Beans and Rice recipe roundup, there is an assortment of cuisines being represented mainly from Latin America. Then there are the seemingly only beans and rice recipes in the US–the black beans and rice and this one, the Louisiana Red Beans and Rice. Serving red kidney beans that have been soaked overnight is a much healthier option than canned–you cut out all of the added sodium and preservatives.

This one uses the standby of a ham hock or ham bone in order to enhance the flavors with pork undertones. A single bay leaf is often cooked in soups and dishes like this and then removed before serving. I wonder, is that really worth the effort, or just to make sure cooks are on their toes?

19. What About White Beans and Rice

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This is an uncommon bean for this recipe of beans and rice–where black and red kidney beans are the leading contenders. However, this White Beans and Rice recipe is going to change that for you. Take out a can of Great Northern beans or a similar cannellini bean.

Navy beans would work, too, as these are also white beans, but avoid butter, garbanzo, or lima due to the taste. They also use a smoked fully cooked ham, which is much better than a ham hock or bone. You want to eat the ham, after all! 

20. Spiced Rice and Beans From India

Spicy Indian bean and rice with fresh cilantro.
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Indian food is a quite spicy cuisine that also showcases rice and beans in almost every meal. The beans that they use are also found in American cuisine, even though we don’t eat them often enough. The recipe for Spiced Rice Beans calls for a can of black-eyed peas that are rinsed before being cooked with the rice.

Spices including cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger render a more Indian flavored rice and beans dish. The finished dish gets some pumpkin seeds out of the shell, which makes this super fancy to me.

21. Southern Living’s New Orleans Red Beans and Rice

Rice and red beans soup in a large mug.
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If you are from the south but not from New Orleans, you might not eat Cajun rice and beans. That’s OK and you are not alone! There is this variation of New Orleans Red Beans and Rice that is considered a New Orleans classic.

Let’s see how this measures up given it is by Southern Living magazine. They use Creole seasoning, which is unique to the other recipes in this roundup. They also have the good old andouille sausage you see in all the Louisiana rice and beans recipes.

Other than the spice blend they also forgo the ham hock or additional bones in this sausage-laden dish. As the final enchilada in this roundup, I will say that the simplistic nature of this recipe would have me reaching for it time and time again.