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.
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
More Recipes with Beans and Rice
Open a few cans, mix everything together and instant food! No actual cooking, heating, or baking required.
A Brazilian take on chicken paprikash. Rich, satisfying, not too spicy, and only one pot!
A classic Italian soup that’s made entirely with pantry ingredients you likely already have in your cupboard. And, as my mom would point out, beans and starch equals a complete protein!
Layers of flavor piled into one bowl. First the meat, then the sweet carrots, balanced by the sharp cabbage, and spicy chili garlic sauce. All topped with a slightly crispy fried egg. A whole meal at once.