Mexican Rice and Black Beans Medley — Hearty enough to be a meal or makes a FANTASTIC side dish with loads of textures in every bite!! A super FLEXIBLE recipe that’s HEALTHY and makes a big batch for planned leftovers!!
Quick Black Beans and Mexican Rice Medley
There are so many layers of flavors and textures going in every single bite of this medley with Mexican-inspired ingredients that’s so easy and ready in 30 minutes.
There’s rice, hearty black beans, crunchy bell peppers, juicy tomatoes, corn, a bit of heat from a serrano chile, along with plenty of cilantro, cumin, garlic, and red onions for flavor galore.
The recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free although you’d never guess it because it has enough heartiness to keep you satisfied.
I almost used the word ‘Salad’ rather than Medley, but because you can serve it warm, I didn’t want to confuse anyone.
You can also serve this recipe at room temp or chilled, more like a salad.
It makes a fairly big batch and the leftovers are great to have on hand in upcoming days.
Ingredients for Mexican Rice and Black Beans
This recipe for Mexican black beans and rice is very flexible, so feel free to swap out any ingredients you don’t like or don’t have on hand.
Here’s what I used in this recipe with notations for substitutions or additions in parentheses:
- Red onion (yellow or white are okay)
- Rice and quinoa (all rice or all quinoa okay)
- Black beans (garbanzo, pinto, kidney, or your favorite beans are okay)
- Corn (I used canned; fresh, frozen, or grilled would be great)
- Tomatoes (I used Roma, cherry, grape, heirloom are fine)
- Yellow bell pepper (another color may be substituted)
- Serrano chile (adds heat but for flavoring this big of a batch of food, I felt it was necessary; try jalapeno for less heat, or omit if you’re heat-adverse)
- Cumin (I used ample amounts for flavor, adjust to taste)
- Salt and pepper
- Lime juice (brightens the overall dish)
Aside from the ingredients I used, you can also include or swap in:
- Yellow squash
- Green onions
- Leftover chicken (bonus if it’s grilled chicken or even poached chicken!)
- Or just about anything in your produce drawer that needs to be used or you enjoy the flavor of!
How to Make Mexican Rice and Black Beans
Black beans and Mexican rice is one of the simplest recipes you can make! It’s a quick, one-skillet recipe that comes together in about 30 minutes.
Here’s an overview of the recipe steps:
- Begin by sautéing an onion in a large skillet before adding garlic, rice, quinoa, water, and cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes or until all the water has absorbed and the grains are tender.
- Add black beans, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, optional serrano chile for more heat or a jalapeno, salt, pepper, cilantro, and lime juice.
- Stir to combine and dig in!
Can the Quinoa Be Substituted?
Yes! I’ve never made any dish with rice and quinoa but I found a packet of grains that said “rice and quinoa”, and ingredients are random and in short supply at times depending on the supermarket, so I rolled with it.
If you want to just use rice, or just use quinoa, go for it.
What to Serve with Mexican Rice and Black Beans
Serve the Mexican-inspired rice, quinoa, and beans as an entree or as a side dish. Some recipes that pair well with this easy skillet dish include:
- Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas
- Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
- Chicken Mole Enchiladas
- Baked Beef Taquitos
- Smothered Beef Burritos
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
- Baked Tortilla Chips
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- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 large or extra-large red onion, diced small
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 1 cup dry rice and quinoa medley (all rice or all quinoa is okay)
- 3 cups water, or as directed on the package to cook 1 cup dry grains
- one 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used low-salt)
- one 14-ounce can corn, drained and rinsed (fresh or frozen may be substituted)
- 2 medium Roma tomatoes, diced small (cherry, grape, or heirloom may be substituted)
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced small (another color pepper may be substituted)
- 1/2 to 1 serrano chile, seeded and diced micro tiny; optional and to taste (jalapeno may be substituted for less heat)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cumin (not teaspoons), or to taste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/3 cup finely minced fresh cilantro, or to taste
- 1 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
- To a large and fairly deep skillet, add the olive oil, onions, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened and just begin to lightly caramelize, about 5 to 7 minutes; stir frequently.
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stirring nearly constantly.
- Add the rice and quinoa and stir it into the onion mixture and let it toast for about 30 seconds.
- Add 3 cups water, or what the package instructs you to add if you're cooking 1 cup dry rice/quinoa.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet with a lid, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the water has absorbed and the rice and quinoa are tender. Check at 10 minutes, stir, and cook for additional time as necessary. All grains cook at slightly different rates. Tip - Drizzle in another 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil into the water. This helps prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- When tender, add the beans, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers, optional serrano chile (if you are sensitive to heat, start with 1/4 of the chile and work up from there; or use a jalapeno which are less spicy; or omit), cumin (tablespoons is not a typo for teaspoons, but you can start with 1 or 2 teaspoons, and work up from there as desired), and stir to combine. If necessary to avoid dryness, drizzle in more olive oil at any time, to taste.
- Add the salt, pepper, stir to combine, and taste. Depending on your preference for heat, you may want to add more serrano or jalapeno. Or additional cumin, salt, and/or pepper for more developed flavor. This is a fairly large batch of vegan food and in order to taste good, my advice is not to be shy with seasoning it.
- Add the cilantro and lime juice to taste, stir to combine, and serve immediately. Medley can be served warm, at room temp, or chilled. Will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
1. Tip - While the grains are cooking in step 5, make sure you are working ahead chopping everything you need for the rest of the recipe.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 229Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 552mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 7gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
More Mexican-Inspired Rice Recipes:
Very Veggie Rice and Beans — EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and amps up rice and beans with an abundance of vegetables!! Healthy, Mexican-inspired food that tastes like comfort food and keeps you satisfied for hours!!
15-Minute Tex-Mex Ground Beef and Rice Skillet — An EASY comfort food recipe with just 5 main ingredients made with everyday staples!! Juicy beef, tender rice, and just the right amount of kick from the salsa make this an automatic FAMILY FAVORITE!!
15-Minute Salsa Verde Chicken, Rice, and Beans — Fast, EASY, one skillet recipe!! Between the salsa verde, lime juice, and cilantro mixed with juicy chicken, rice, and beans, you’ll be hooked! Perfect for busy weeknights and meal prepping!!
Loaded Vegetarian Burritos — HEALTHY Mexican comfort food that’s loaded with black beans, rice, and more before being topped with salsa and CHEESE!!
15-Minute Mexican Rice and Beans Skillet with Sausage — A FAST and EASY recipe that’s loaded with Mexican-inspired flavors and ingredients!! Break out of your chicken rut with this FLAVORFUL dish that’s perfect for busy weeknights!!
One-Pot Cheesy Mexican Ground Beef and Rice — All your favorite burrito ingredients minus the wrap!! Made in one skillet, ready in 30 minutes, and so EASY! Hearty comfort food that’s packed with bold Mexican flavors!!