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Spanish Rice and Beans

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Easy Spanish rice and beans, a flavorful and healthy one-pot dish. Serve as a main or side dish.

white dutch oven full of spanish rice and beans seen from above

We actually have the Spanish rice and beans as main dish most of the time… Rice as a side dish is mostly plain or an even simpler recipe like the Jollof rice or the BBQ rice. This Spanish, or better said Mexican, rice dish also includes vegetables like peppers and olives, thus becoming more substantial.

A nice salad on the side and there you have it: a perfect, easy to make, tasty weeknight dinner. Not to mention a super healthy one as well: vegan, gluten free, dairy free, a complete source of protein.

close up orange colored rice with vegetable pieces inside

Rice and beans combination

This combo is a staple in the cuisines of many African, Central, or South American countries, the Caribbean, China, India, the Middle East, and so on. Over the years I’ve had many versions of it, for instance, Jamaican rice or Gallo Pinto from Puerto Rico. Not to forget the delicious Rice and Beans Soup or my newest discovery the Haitian black bean soup with coconut milk.

Combining the two ingredients has a lot of health benefits, compared to eating any of the two on their own. The combination of different plant proteins provides us with all of the essential amino acids.

pot full of rice and beans with olives

What do you need?


  • Usually long-grain white rice.
  • For a speedier version, use basmati or Jasmin rice, it cooks much faster and it has a wonderful flavor.
  • For an even healthier version, use brown rice. I do it often, I love its nutty flavor and the heartier structure. However, keep in mind, that it needs a bit longer to cook, about 30-40 minutes. And you will need to increase the amount of broth as well.


  • Either kidney (red) beans or pinto beans.
  • I had pinto beans this time, but normally, I would choose kidney beans. Just because they are cheaper and more available here. For pinto beans, I have to consider driving longer and pay about 3 times as much. But they are delicious if you decide to use them.


  • Onions, garlic, green onions, red pepper, and green olives.
  • My green olives were pitted and filled with red pepper. Use whatever you like.
chopped onion, peppers, green onions and olives on a cutting board


  • You can use salsa from a jar, if you wish, and if you can buy good quality salsa where you live.
  • However, I don’t recommend that if you are living in Europe and only get the standard barbeque bottled salsa, which, in my humble opinion, has absolutely nothing to do with real salsa. It is just a sauce to serve with your grilled steak in summer, which actually covers the taste of everything else you have on your plate.
  • The best, tastiest, purest option is to use pureed tomatoes. The use of good broth and all the other spices adds more than enough flavor without you having to rely on anything else.
  • Alternatively, use the same amount of your favorite tomato sauce brand.


  • Oregano, sweet and smoked paprika, ground corinader and cumin, fresh coriander/cilantro to sprinkle on top of the finished dish.
mexican rice and beans in a large wide pot

How to make?

  • Sautee the chopped onion and the garlic, stirring often, until slightly yellow. (1)
  • Toast the rice for about 2 minutes. (2)
  • Add tomato paste, chopped vegetables, and spices. (3)
  • Pour the broth and pureed tomatoes. Stir well. (4)
  • Cook covered for about 15 minutes, the broth should be pretty much absorbed. Add beans and olives. Stir well. (5)
  • Cook until the rice is tender, about 5 more minutes. (6)
frying onion, rice in a white dutch oven

How to serve?

What to do with leftovers?

  • Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
  • You can take them to work in a lunch box.
  • Or you can reheat it. In this case, do it in a non-stick pan, add a splash of vegetable broth and stir often until the rice is pipping hot.

More rice recipes?

Cheesy Corn Rice (with Turmeric)

Gochujang Fried Rice (Bokkeumbap)

Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo

One-Pot Vegan Pilaf

Romanian Chicken and Vegetable Pilaf

white dutch oven full of spanish rice and beans seen from above

Spanish Rice and Beans

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Easy Spanish rice and beans, a flavorful and healthy one-pot dish. Serve as a main or side dish.


  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 3-4 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 350 g/ 12.5 oz/ 1 ¾ cup long-grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 750 ml/ 25 fl.oz/ 3 ¼ cups vegetable broth
  • 200 g/ 7 oz/ scant 1 cup pureed tomatoes (Note)
  • 1 can pinto or kidney beans (400 g/ 14 oz)
  • about 20 pitted green olives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander/cilantro


  1. Finely chop the onion and the garlic. Set aside. Chop the pepper and the whites of the green onions. Set aside separately.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven, heavy-bottomed or non-stick pan. Cook the onion and the garlic until slightly yellow.
  3. Add the rice and toast for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add tomato paste and stir well to coat the rice with it.
  5. Add the pepper, green onion whites, oregano, paprika, cumin, and ground coriander. Stir well to coat.
  6. Pour the broth and the pureed tomatoes (or sauce) into the pan. Stir well again, cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes, stirring a few times in between.
  7. Add drained beans, sliced green olives, and sliced greens of the green onions. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes more or until the rice is tender.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped coriander/cilantro and serve.


You can use the same amount of your favorite tomato sauce brand.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the dish
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 320Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1048mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

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