Black Beans and Rice: Laughably Cheap Comfort Food

Black beans and rice is a favorite comfort food for us here at Casual Kitchen. Our recipe, which I’m going to share with you today, is authentic, vegetarian, laughably cheap, and highly scalable.

It’s also a really quick and easy meal to make: from start to finish, you should be able to make this dish in 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!
Classic Black Beans and Rice

4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1-lb 13-ounce can black beans, undrained
1 cup water

Spice mix:
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano (more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Optional for a spicier sauce: cayenne pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large non-stick pan, add onion, green pepper and garlic, and saute for 5-7 minutes until tender. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

Serves 4-6. Can be easily doubled.
A few brief recipe notes:

1) Feel free to experiment with the mix of spices in this dish. One alternative we’ve used is adding 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the dry spice mix (adobo seco) from Daisy Cooks!, which I’ll share with you here (we've modified it slightly, in part to reduce the salt content):

1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons garlic powder
3 Tablespoons onion powder
3 Tablespoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Makes about 12 Tablespoons of mix; use 1 1/2 Tablespoons per batch of black beans.

You can keep any remaining spice mix in an airtight container for the next time you make this recipe.

2) Let’s quantify the risible inexpensivity of this recipe, shall we? The total cost of this dish runs approximately $3.50, which works out to about 65-70c per serving (!) including rice. God, I just love recipes like this.

3) Tune in a few days from now and I’ll share an embarrassing story about the very first time we made this recipe.

Related Posts:
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Mock Wild Rice: An Insanely Easy To Make Side Dish
Three Easy, Delicious and Inexpensive Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

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uncanny said...

I'm going to have to try this.

Anonymous said...

I think I will make this for dinner tonight. And I was wondering what to make right as I saw this post. Thank you!

Daniel said...

Thanks, Uncanny and Kat, for the feedback and comments--let me know how it came out for you!


Jill said...

This looks great. I like to buy dried beans and soak and cook them's far more economical and healthy (less salt) than canned beans. Would you happen to know about how many cups of dried black beans would equal a 1 lb. 13 oz. can? I'm in Turkey and working with the metric system here...Thanks for the great recipes.

Daniel said...

Hi Jill, great question and a bit of a complicated one to answer.

First of all, I encourage you to use canned black beans if at all possible, the liquid that's along with the canned beans is necessary to make this dish come out with the right consistency.

That being said, using rough math, a 1 pound 13 ounce can of canned black beans translates into about 825 grams. If using dried beans, about 650 grams (or 1.5 cups or 0.75 pounds) ought to equate to roughly the same amount, after cooking the dried beans of course. Hopefully that all makes sense.

Also when using dried beans, be sure to save back some of the liquid that you cooked the beans in. You'll need it to have the right amount of liquid in the black bean sauce.

I can't vouch for how the dish will come out using dried beans, but this is such a flexible recipe that you can probably eyeball things as you go and it will all come out okay. If you'd like to, please email me with your results!


Jill said...

Ok. I didn't think about the bean juice. I will try to get canned ones. Thanks for your reply. I'm hungry now, gotta go.

Sara said...

I just finished making this and it is AWESOME. I subbed in a jalapeño (deribbed and deseeded, of course) because I really don't like bell peppers. I didn't think about the bean liquid being part of the thickener, so I drained the beans (oops). I have to say, it's delicious!

Daniel said...

Hi Sara, I'm so happy to hear it! And yes, the liquid that comes with the beans is an important part of the sauce. I'll re-write the recipe to emphasize this. Thanks for your feedback!


Anna said...

I made this tonight. It was quite good and of course very easy! The flavor was different from the black beans I usually make, it's nice to change things up sometimes. We love beans and rice so I'm going to try making a bigger batch in my crock pot using dried black beans. Thanks!

Anna said...

I just read the comments about the bean juice in canned beans. When I cook beans in my crock pot, I thicken the juice by just mashing some of the beans with my potato masher. It should turn out just fine and of course I won't add the water in the recipe :)

Sara said...

Sara again! I made this with pinto beans recently (reconstituted from dried, because I'm cheap like that) and I thought it turned out pretty well! I didn't reserve any of the liquid (forgot to) but even w/o the liquid I found the consistency (while thick) to still be pleasant.

I'm also pleased to report that I got over my dislike of bell peppers (as long as they're cooked) so I managed not to make it burn-off-nose-hair hot this time. (Though I still added cayenne.)

evoldog said...

I use red yellow orange and green bell peppers...the green has the least "good stuff" in them, the others are better healthy-wise and make for a better presentation.
I also chop up an approx. 6"-8" mildly hot banana pepper instead of cayenne.
If anything, I also tend to double up on the other peppers, garlic, onions and spices, then back off as necessary to keep the taste right - can't have too much healthy stuff in there!
New batch I'll be trying the dry beans; you really should adjust your recipe for "either or", certainly through a little mashing and/or water retention, you can achieve the canned consistency, and it's better for you...THEY did it, didn't they? ;)
Beans are better for you than rice, and I LOVE black beans, so I sometimes reverse the beans to rice ratio(generally) so that it's mostly beans.
Next batch I'll incorporate turmeric, one after that maca, and if they adapt to the recipe well, both together...way too much good stuff in both to not include in anything you can.
Both tolerate heat, so no issues there...
If there are flavor issues, I'll try them using pinto in the recipe instead of black, my guess is the maca and turmeric flavors are more conducive to that of the pintos...but we shall see!
I also plan to sprinkle chia seeds on it when served - chia does not tolerate heat as well as maca and turmeric, although only one benefit is decreased by heat.
One possible exception for adding chia earlier is if you have a batch that is a little too watery - chia absorbs I think it's 300 times it's weight in water and will thicken things up. If you try to achieve that influence by only sprinkling it on the served portion, know to let is sit for a few, to do its thing.
Now that I think about it, may be good to let it be a little watery so as to allow the chia to thicken things up - may be the perfect remedy to give dry bean dish the same consistency as canned.