black beans and rice recipe one person

Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

A friend’s mom made this black beans and rice recipe for me many years ago on Thanksgiving.  We had the traditional turkey, and also a slow-cooked pork roast that was divine.  The beans were so good I asked her to have her mom send me the recipe.

The great thing about this is that you feel you’re eating something rich and luxurious, even though it’s a “budget” meal.  This particular recipe is also vegetarian.  Of course, if you want, you can add some pork or bacon in with the seasoning mixture and cook that before you combine it all with the beans.

It’s also versatile.  Cook it down more and you have black beans and rice. Cook a bit less and you end up with black bean soup.

The recipe here is portioned to be a substantial main dish for dinner (or two lunches). Or, use it for two side dishes.

There are two ingredients in it that are a bit unusual for black beans and rice (at least unusual to me): balsamic vinegar and port.  You just use a little of each, but it adds an extra depth of flavor which wouldn’t be there otherwise.

I don’t usually have port, so I used brandy instead.

I nearly always get the dried black beans instead of the canned ones. The canned beans tend to have extra salt and additives to “keep them fresh” (which never made sense to me; canned food should last without preservatives). Besides the dried beans are a better value and will last indefinitely.

It does take a bit of time to make this (not so much because of the cooking as because of soaking the dried beans). However,  you can just let them soak overnight or use my quick soak method.  Or, if you’re in a big hurry, use canned beans.  Half the can should do it.

I used leftover rice that I already had.  If you don’t have leftover rice, start the rice while the bean and onion mixture is simmering.

Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Cuban

one serving

black beans and rice recipe one person

A delicious, filling, and budget-friendly black beans and rice recipe for one person.


  • 1/2 C dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • generous pinch salt
  • grinding of black pepper
  • pinch of oregano
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 T ketchup (or tomato sauce)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp brandy or port
  • 1 tsp olive oil


  1. Wash and soak the beans overnight.
  2. Drain the beans, put them in a medium size saucepan, add a cup of water and cook until soft (about one hour).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onions for five minutes until soft. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, tomato sauce (or ketchup), oregano, bay leaf, and sugar.
  4. Cook the mixture on a low flame for 5-10 minutes until soft.
  5. Add the onion mixture to the pot with the beans.
  6. If you don't have leftover rice, start it now.
  7. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer on medium low until thick for beans and rice, or cooked through for soup.
  8. Before serving, add the port, additional olive oil, and salt/pepper or sugar to taste.
  9. Top with bell pepper slices.

Substitutions and Variations for Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

  • Use brandy instead of port
  • If you don’t feel like opening an entire can of tomato sauce to use a small amount, use ketchup (add a little more water)
  • Add 1/4 pound pork stew to the onion mixture (when you start it)
  • Try some pork fat or bacon or a ham hock
  • For more kick, add some cumin or cayenne

Ingredients and Tools for Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One

Lundberg Organic Rice

The reports of arsenic in standard rice make me a bit nervous. Also, this rice is just delicious. It isn’t jasmine rice (though they have that too), but it tastes like it. And it’s not expensive either. Actually, sometimes the bags of regular rice in the store cost more!

T-fal Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, 4-Quart

If you’ve got the space for it, a pressure cooker will make preparing beans a whole lot faster (it’s also good for split pea soup). Pressure cookers used to be tricky to use (my grandpa made a terrible mess once when he opened it too soon – pea soup everywhere!), but they’ve gotten a lot easier. The pressure gauge on this one is marked for high or low pressure, steam release, and off. If you forget to soak your beans you can cook them with this in about 20 minutes, instead of an hour, plus the waiting time. It’s also dishwasher-safe.

2 thoughts on “Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person”

  1. I usually use leftover rice, but if you don’t have any, start it while the beans are cooking. Generally 1 C rice to 1 3/4 C water, but this can vary depending on the variety of rice you use. Bring the water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, then the rice. Stir it and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 17 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Let it sit for 5 minutes in the saucepan, and then fluff with a fork and serve.

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