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!!
Healthy Mexican Rice and Beans
Many people this time of year are dieting and really watching every morsel they put in their mouth, and this is a healthy meal that tastes like comfort food. This one-skillet black beans and rice recipe is so easy, ready in 15 minutes, naturally vegan and gluten-free, and tastes like a million bucks. When your body craves more than a cold salad but also needs a bit of a reset, this is perfect.
There’s an abundance of vegetables, hence the very veggie title. There’s sweet Vidalia onion, red bell pepper, shredded carrots, frozen peas and corn, green onions, cilantro, and of course rice and beans. I also added cumin, a pinch of cayenne, and lime juice so that the dish would have plenty of Mexican-inspired flavor.
I think this easy rice and beans dish tastes incredible and I love all the different textures from the vegetables. The naturally sweet red peppers, carrots, peas, and corn are pleasant little surprises in an otherwise savory dish. The cilantro and lime juice at the end are great touches and really bring everything together.
Make it for a quick and easy lunch, a meatless dinner, or as a hearty side to go along your favorite Mexican recipes.
The rice and beans recipe beats the pants off what Trader Joe’s sells in their freezer case called ‘Vegetable Fried Rice.’ That’s a staple for my daughter that I always have on hand, but my homemade version tastes way better and skews more Mexican while theirs has more of an Asian flair.
If you’re looking for an Asian fried rice recipe that’s better than takeout, look no further than either this Chicken Fried Rice or this Shrimp Fried Rice recipe. Both of them are in the Top 10 recipes I’ve ever published and continue to be reader favorites.
What’s in Healthy Rice and Beans?
To make this easy rice and beans recipe, you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Sweet Vidalia onion
- Red bell pepper
- Shredded carrots
- Black beans
- Pre-cooked White Rice
- Green onions
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime juice
How to Make Rice and Beans
The key to making really good rice and beans is to cook all the veggies in stages. First, sauté the onions in an oiled skillet until softened. Then, add in the bell peppers and carrots and cook just until crisp-tender.
Throw in the corn, peas, beans, rice, and spices and cook until warmed through. Finish everything off with some green onions, cilantro, lime juice, then stir and serve!
Can I Use Different Veggies in This Recipe?
Most definitely. The nice thing about this healthy rice and beans recipe is that it’s a very flexible recipe and you can toss in the veggies you have on hand. Mushrooms, other kinds of peppers, cooked sweet potato cubes, or whatever you have laying around. I made this when I had a fridge full of random produce I needed to use, pronto.
Can I Add Chicken to Rice and Beans?
Yes, leftover cooked chicken would be a nice addition to Mexican rice and beans (use shredded, cubed, or rotisserie chicken — whatever is on hand!).
Can I Use Another Type of Rice?
Of course! I used an 8-ounce package of precooked white rice to save time. You can use your favorite rice and make it from scratch if desired. Just make sure whatever rice you’re using is cooked before adding it to the skillet.
Tips for Making Black Beans and Rice
Note that the cayenne doesn’t make the rice and beans super hot but rather just adds flavor, but you can omit it if you prefer.
I also wanted to caution you not to overcook the veggies. I made sure not to overcook the vegetables because I wanted them to be crisp-tender rather than mushy.
If you’re in need of an easy freezer meal, this recipe fits the bill! I divided the Mexican rice and beans into five plastic containers, froze them, and we pulled them out as needed. The tasted just as good after being frozen and reheated as they did fresh. Perfect.
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Very Veggie Rice and Beans
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced small
- 1 to 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
- 1 to ½ cups corn, I used frozen and added it straight from the freezer
- 1 cup peas, I used frozen and added it straight from the freezer
- one 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (I use no-salt added)
- one 8-ounce package precooked white rice, another cooked rice may be substituted
- 1 to 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 2 to 3 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- To a large skillet, add the olive oil, onion, and cook over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, or until it begins to soften; stir occasionally.
- Add the bell pepper, carrots, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender; stir occasionally.
- Add the corn, peas, beans, rice, cumin, salt, pepper, optional cayenne, stir to combine, and cook for about 2 minutes or until warmed through; stir occasionally.
- Add the green onions, cilantro, lime juice, stir to combine, taste and check for seasoning balance and add additional salt, pepper, cumin, etc. if desired.
- Serve immediately.
- Dish will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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