This recipe for Mexican Rice and Beans is super quick and simple. In fact, you can make this for lunch and still have plenty of time left for an afternoon nap.
How to Make Mexican Rice and Beans
The first job I ever had was working in a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar. I have very fond memories of working late nights and sneaking Mexican rice and bean in between serving tables. One dish I never forgot was the super simple but amazing rice and beans that the restaurant served and I have been trying to replicate them ever since. With this recipe, I think I finally found something very close to that authentic dish from years ago.
The first thing that I always use to do with my rice and beans was stir them together. Why in the world keep those two separate?! The spices and tomato flavor of the rice is meant to be combined with the creamy, dense beans. When creating this recipe, there was no way I was keeping those to separate! This also makes cooking the dish even easier as everything can go together in one pan and that is always a win!
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Using the Right Type of Rice
So let’s talk about the rice for a little bit. I usually stick to regular old white rice as it is going to absorb a lot of the spices and other flavors from the dish- there really is no need to go too crazy with expensive or other hard to cook rice. Brown rice also works really well in this recipe and is considered to be healthier (which is always a nice little bonus).
Maybe you love basmati rice or wild rice is your favorite- whatever type you really like (or maybe just whatever you have in your house!), go for it! You really can’t go wrong but don’t shy away from plain old white rice, it will do this recipe good.
Adding Mexican Beans
We got the rice, now on to the beans. Again, I tried to keep it simple with this recipe, uncomplicated can sometimes be best! Canned beans really are the way to go when making this dish. There is no soaking beans or extra cooking involved, just reach for your can opener, drain the juice, give the beans a quick rinse and you are ready to go.
Pinto beans are by far my favorite but cannelloni beans or even black beans can work too. While black beans can be found in many Mexican dishes and you may think of them first, they will make your whole dish a slightly grayish color so just keep that in mind.
Including Mexican Salsa
Next comes the salsa and there lies the main trick to this recipe. Using premade tomato based salsa, whether it is out of a jar or made by you, is the main thing that makes this recipe so great. For one, it’s super simple, all the tomatoes and peppers and delicious juices are already in there which means less work for you.
By using salsa as the base for the rice and beans you can also choose how spicy you would like your food. Most jars state right on the front of the label if they are mild, medium or maybe even extra spicy. You can totally customize this recipe to your preference. I’m a big fan of spicy as that brings back those restaurant memories again where some extra spice would wake me right up for the rest of my shift!
Mexican Beans and Rice Recipe Instructions
So now that we have covered the most important ingredients in this recipe, let’s start cooking! All you need to do is add a little bit of olive oil and some fresh salsa to a medium-hot skillet. Essentially, you are going to sauté the salsa.
The salsa goes into a sauté pan and cooks until it is a little bit thick. Then comes a nice array of spices that will blend together to make this dish really taste like its right out of a high end Mexican restaurant. You add in a few different spices like paprika + cumin + garlic + chili powder and mix it around real good.
The beans then are added into the pan and cooked to make a nice thick bean paste (if you love traditional refried beans, this part is very similar). The cooked rice is added last and everything is mixed together. At the end of the recipe, your house will smell like fragrant spices and your belly will be screaming to eat!
Maybe at the beginning of this recipe you were thinking, what’s so special about rice and beans? I get it, it doesn’t sound fancy or that creative but sometimes the staples are what you really need. Mexican rice and beans has been a staple for me since working in that restaurant soooo many years ago.
It is a food that has just stuck with me and it will stick with you too. It is easy, so tasty and tastes truly authentic. Give it a tray and you will see why! My guess is you’ll end up making this recipe all the time.
Mexican Beans Ingredients
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More Simple Mexican Recipes
- 2 cups cooked rice (any kind)
- 2 cans (15oz) organic pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- ¾ cup salsa (fresh or jarred works!)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- sea salt + black pepper
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and salsa then saute for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add spices into the skillet and stir until evenly combined. Add beans into the paste then reduce heat to low.
- Let the beans cook for about 15 minutes then add cooked rice. Stir everything together until evenly combined then serve immediately.