It’s bean time for sure. This has been a family favorite before it was a necessity, and costs just a few dollars to make. Canned tomatoes, garlic, onions, carrots and red pepper (skip the pepper if you don’t have it) all pull together to make a very soul-satisfying and kind of heart-warming dish, kind of Cuban-inspired.
This is a Charlie favorite. My younger son might have been Cuban in a previous life. Oh, probably not, but it is a bit funny and disarming to watch this little Jewish, blue eyed, blond child hunker down over a plate of black beans and rice as though it were mother’s milk. He had to take a packed lunch every day to summer camp and this was his frequent request; odd on a number of levels, but who cared.
Make Ahead Black Beans
This is one of those recipes that is delicious hot off the presses, but even better one or two days after you first make it, because the flavors have a chance to meld and become one with the universe. As it sits in the fridge, it thickens. When you reheat it, or portions of it, you may want to add more water or broth to loosen it up.
Topping for Black Beans:
The garnishes are what make this dish so personalizable. Seriously, go for it.
Some guacamole and a big spoonful of salsa.
Some cheese. I love the crumbly white Mexican cheeses for this dish, like cojita (saltier) or queso fresco (milder), but you could also use any kind of shredded cheese from cheddar to Monterey Jack, to Pepper Jack.
And a big old dollop of sour cream to finish it off. Also think about a few squeezes of fresh lime juice, a shot of hot sauce, or a handful of slivered scallions.
Are you annoyed that I called for less than a full small can of tomato paste in this recipe? Are you wondering, “Hey, Ms. Full-of-Advice, what should I do with the rest of the tomato paste, other than leaving it partially covered with plastic wrap in the back of my fridge, and waiting for it to get moldy so I can toss it out, and feel resentful that I wasted it?” Well, thanks for asking. You’re going to freeze it, and here’s how.
More Vegetarian Side Dish Recipes:
- Artichoke, Feta and Roasted Pepper Couscous Salad
- Tomato, Zucchini and Bulgur Salad
- Herby Brown Rice
- Wild Rice and Broccolini Salad
Vegetarian Black Beans and Rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped carrots about 2 large carrots
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper about 1 small pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chipotle puree or 2 teaspoons chili powder, optional
- 4 15.5-ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes preferably in puree
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 8 cups hot cooked white rice or brown rice
- Grated cheddar cheese or crumbled cojita or queso fresco cheese
- Lime wedges to serve, optional
- Sliced scallions optional
- Sour cream optional
- Hot sauce or salsa optional
- Heat a large pot with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent and tender, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, red pepper, and carrots until you can smell the garlic and the peppers and carrots start to become tender, about 2 minutes. Add the oregano, cumin, and chipotle puree or chili powder, and stir until everything becomes very fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Add the black beans, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water or vegetable broth, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, and taste to see what seasonings you want to add.
- Serve over hot cooked rice, with guacamole, crumbled or grated cheese, a squeeze of lime, salsa, scallions, and sour cream as desired/accepted.
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