A good rice and beans recipe pretty much a must-have for vegans or anyone hoping to adopt a healthy diet. (Watch this video about the health benefits of beans.) Rice and beans dishes are 1) full of protein and fiber, and low in fat, 2) budget-friendly–especially when you use dried beans, and 3) versatile enough to keep things interesting.
This Smoky Vegan Rice and Beans recipe is one of my favorites, and it’s a staple in our house. We often make a big pot and eat it all week long!
Why I Love These Smoky Vegan Rice and Beans
Sure, rice and beans are a key component in a healthy vegan diet, but without a good recipe, they can be a little boring. These smoky vegan rice and beans are nothing of the sort.
The secret to this recipe’s full flavor is 1) adding the black beans liquid, which gets soaked up by the rice, and 2) smoked paprika, which stands in for what would traditionally be ham, bacon or another meat in non-vegan bean recipe. The result is a dish that’s simple, but packed with flavor.
How to Use These Versatile Smoky Vegan Rice and Beans
While these smokey vegan rice and beans are tasty all by themselves, I like to use them as a base or filler for other recipes. For example, they’re great as the base for a buddha bowl–just add fresh chopped veggies or cooked vegetables like sweet potatoes, (maybe drizzle on a little Easy Cheezy Sauce) and you’ve got a complete, nutritious meal.
Or, roll them up in corn tortillas, add more veggies like roasted corn and poblanos if you like, pour on some enchilada sauce and bake for 30 minutes, and you’ve got a delicious, healthy vegan Mexican dinner.
They’re also an amazing burrito filling! Just warm them a little, and roll them in a big tortilla along with fresh ingredients like cabbage, fresh spinach, and salsa or guacamole. Then, eat them right away or wrap them up for a portable, nutritious, yum-some lunch on the go.
The possibilities with these smoky vegan rice and beans are pretty much limitless, and they make it almost effortless to create a satisfying meal from whatever you happen to have on hand. This dish also freezes well–a lifesaver for nights you don’t have time to cook.
Smoky Vegan Rice and Beans
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 red bell peppers diced
- 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
- 2 15 ounce cans black beans, LIQUID RESERVED (or 3 cups of cooked beans + 1/2 cup of liquid)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or more to taste. Plus more for garnish if desired)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (plus more for garnish if desired)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups water
- Heat 1 tablespoon of water, in a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper with a pinch of salt, and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until soft.
- Add the dried oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and rice, and mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until everything is hot and well blended. Add the sherry vinegar and deglaze any brown spots. Add the black beans and reserved liquid, and water. Stir to combine. Add the bay leaf.
- Bring the rice and bean mixture a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. (It's okay if it's still a little moist.)
- Give the beans and rice a gentle stir, then cover again and let rest for 5 minutes. The rice will absorb a little more liquid as it sits. Don't over stir, or the rice will become mushy.
- Garnish with more smoked paprika and dried oregano, if desired.