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Easy Vegetarian Black Beans and Rice Recipe

Sara loves making large batches of food that she can use in other recipes later in the week.

Vegetarian black beans and rice.

Vegetarian black beans and rice.

Balance: Protein and Carbs

This recipe goes well with all of your favorite Tex-Mex meals. It is an excellent side dish for enchiladas, burritos, tacos, or chalupas. I also like to serve it as a main dish with any combination of avocado slices, chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lettuce, sour cream, tortilla chips, and Frank's Red Hot Sauce.

As an entree, this recipe makes about eight servings. As a side dish, it feeds a small army. It also makes a tasty option as a filling in meatless burritos and enchiladas. If you have meat-eaters in your crew, you can easily add chicken, beef, or pork; this is a wonderfully versatile recipe.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low sodium black beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. In a large measuring cup, stir the enchilada sauce, lime juice, and spices together.
  2. In a stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add rice and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the liquid mixture from step 1, bring just to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the canned ingredients, and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes until rice is the desired consistency.

How to Chop Cilantro the Easy Way

When chopping such things as herbs and green onions, I find it much easier to use kitchen shears than a knife. Below is a video tutorial on how to chop cilantro for those who don't own kitchen shears (or if you simply prefer to use a knife). The clip is short but very useful. Before you begin, wash the cilantro in cold water, then blot dry with paper towels.

Removing the stems can seem daunting and time consuming. As the chef in the video clip mentions, you can use the top part of the stems. All you really need to do is remove the longest parts that don't have any leaves attached. That's what I do; I don't worry too much about getting some of the stem in with the leaves.

Chop Veggies on Bamboo Cutting Boards

Helpful Tips for Best Results

  • Brown rice takes a little longer to cook than white. Keep checking the consistency; you don't want your rice under-cooked and crunchy.
  • Add a can of corn to make the dish more colorful. You can also stir in chopped green onions just before serving.
  • I don't drain the canned goods; it adds more flavor. Also, by the time I add the canned food, the rice usually needs the extra liquid. In fact, you may find that you need to add a little water.
  • Red beans work just as well as black beans in this recipe.
  • If you're pressed for time, you can skip the second step entirely, if you don't mind leaving out the garlic. You can also skip the scallions and the cilantro, if you don't feel like chopping them up.

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© 2011 Sara Krentz

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