Rice and beans are some of the most affordable food staples you can buy. They also can be a rather boring and bland combination. However, if you spice them up just right, the whole family can enjoy them as a dinner side.
Are rice and beans healthy?
Rice and beans are both carbohydrates so one might think they aren’t the best dietary choice, but let’s look at these ingredients a little closer. The truth is we need to look at the nutritional value in both rice and beans and make an informed choice based on personal preference.
One thing that is controversial is the discussion that rice and beans combine to make a complete protein. While some believe they must be combined to make a complete protein, there are other sources that say they are complete on their own. If you’re interested in knowing more about that feel free to do some research yourself. It’s a fascinating discussion.
Are rice and beans gluten-free?
Rice and beans themselves are gluten-free. If you use canned beans you need to check the ingredients to be safe. Also, if someone you know is allergic to gluten or highly sensitive you will want to check that the spices you use do not contain gluten or have the potential for cross-contamination.
Are rice and beans keto friendly?
Sorry friends! Since both rice and beans are high carbohydrate ingredients, I’m afraid they are not a ket0-frienly dish.
Are rice and beans vegan?
As long as you follow this recipe without adding any animal fats or meat, or swapping out water for a meat-based broth, it certainly is a vegan rice and beans recipe.
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What kind of rice should I use?
To get the maximum benefit of nutritional benefits from rice, you need to choose the right rice. The main rice options to choose from are some type of white rice, brown rice, or wild rice. Brown rice and wild rice (not really rice but a type of wild grass, who knew?!) are your best options as they contain more fiber and nutrients than white rice.
Brown rice carries a minimal amount more protein than white rice while wild rice has double the amount of protein. So, if you’re trying to add some protein go with wild rice. That being said, wild rice can be an interesting flavor choice for rice and beans so I would generally stick with brown rice like I do in this dish. Feel free to experiment and find which rice works for you, but keep in mind different types of rice will take longer/shorter to cook and need slightly different amounts of water.
What kind of beans should I use?
Beans themselves are not only packed with nutrients, but are an excellent source of vegetarian protein and fiber. Do a little research to find which one you prefer. However, if you’re looking for a more traditional rice and beans I would choose a red bean (like this, not kidney beans), black beans, small white beans, or pinto beans.
Should I use dried beans or canned beans?
Dried beans are so easy to cook there sometimes seems like no point in buying them canned (Check out all the ways you can cook dried beans easily). Plus, they are super budget-friendly, but canned beans are also an affordable option and sometimes we all just need easy solutions that don’t require a ton of prep.
I’m giving you permission to buy the canned beans if you need to. Just remember to check the servings on the can to see how much is in a can as opposed to going by the weight since you will need to rinse and drain them. Generally, one can has between one and one and a half cups of beans once drained and rinsed.
Protein + fiber + a sucker punch of vitamins and minerals all “packaged” in affordable food staples? I’ll let you decide if that makes them starches worth eating, but I say they are a great addition to our food budget and dinner table.
What if I try this recipe and feel like the spices are too strong?
Most people say the spices in this recipe are just right, but others have tried it and feel the spices are too strong for them. If you give it a taste before serving and it tastes a bit too strong, add a 15-ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes and simmer the liquid off over high heat for a few minutes. That will help tone it down a bit.
The next time you make the recipe you can simply cut back a little on the chili powder.
Tip for getting kids to eat food they aren’t a fan of: Keep a good supply of spices on hand for flavoring their least favorite dishes. Using a heavier hand with spices can help disguise the flavors they don’t care for a bit.
How do I get my family to eat this dish?
I don’t know about your family but my kids have never exactly jumped up and down when they hear “rice and beans for dinner.” But rice and beans are so affordable and filling so I tackled it head on and looked for ways to make rice and beans a thing to be enjoyed. This rice and bean dish is a great start. The seasonings add a punch of chili-like flavor without being too spicy for the more timid taste buds.
Here are some ideas to get your family used to rice and beans dishes.
- Pair it with several other dishes you already know they enjoy and require they eat just a small portion.
- Mix shrimp, chicken, or sausage into the dish.
- Make a soup that includes rice, beans, and chili powder before giving this recipe a try so they start to become familiar with the flavors.
- 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked rice (I use brown rice)
- 2 cups cooked red beans
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. salt (I go with 1/2 since I like less salt)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Put rice, beans, and water in a pan.
- Add seasoning and stir.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover and turn burner to low to simmer.
- Cook for 15 minutes then check for doneness.