Spanish rice and beans is one of those dishes that’s open to interpretation and doesn’t strictly belong to any tradition. This vegan version is a great choice when you want something easy and hearty.
Inspired by a number of interpretations of what’s referred to as “Spanish rice,” in this version, briny pimiento olives perk up the mellow flavor of rice and beans.
Brown or white rice: The rice is added to the pan once you do a quick sauté of onion, bell pepper, and garlic; brown or white rice both work well in this dish. It takes longer to cook with brown rice, of course.
Complete the meal: This is fantastic served with wilted garlicky greens (chard, kale, collards). Arrange a platter of red and yellow peppers, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and orange slices to serve on the side.
Another meal idea: Serve with a simple salad of mixed greens, small orange sections and toasted almonds. Add more green to the plate with steamed broccoli, broccoli rabe, or green beans.
find more tasty vegan rice recipes from around the world.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium bell pepper, any color, diced
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or white rice (see note)
- 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted)
- 1 tablespoon spice blend of your choice (adobo, all-purpose, Cajun, or BBQ blend)
- Two 15-ounce cans (drained and rinsed) red beans, or 3 1/2 cups cooked
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, as desired
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes or hot sauce, optional
- Heat the oil in an extra large skillet or in a stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté until the onion just begins to brown lightly.
- Add the rice of choice. If using brown rice, stir in 4 cups of water; if using white, stir in 3 cups.
- Stir in the tomatoes and spice blend and bring to a slow boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently and steadily, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes for white rice; 30 minutes for brown. If rice isn’t done to your liking at this point, add 1/2 cup more water and cook until absorbed; repeat as needed.
- Stir in the beans and scallions. Continue cooking until heated through, then remove from the heat.
- Stir in the olives and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve at once; pass around red pepper flakes or hot sauce to anyone who’d like a spicier dish.
Variation: Substitute quinoa for the rice. Use 1 1/2 cups quinoa and 3 cups water, as you would for white rice; test once the water is absorbed. If the grain isn’t done to your liking at this point, add 1/2 cup more water and cook until absorbed.
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