The key to the best rice and beans is, as with most things, making it from scratch. But don’t worry, this is the kind of dish that has big flavor with minimal effort on your part. In our recipe, we simmer the beans slowly, while cooking the rice with tomatoes, veggies and spices. You can serve it as a side dish with your favorite enchiladas or tacos, or you can eat it with a side of greens as a meal all its own.
12 ounces dried kidney or pinto beans, soaked in cold water overnight
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups long-grain rice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish
1. Make the Beans: In a medium pot, combine the beans with 6 cups water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the garlic, oregano, coriander, cumin and bay leaf, and reduce the heat to low.
2. Simmer the beans gently, uncovered, until they start to become tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Add the salt and continue to simmer until the beans are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.
3. Make the Rice: In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, and cook until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and rice, and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the rice is lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes more.
4. Add the cumin and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and broth, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid, 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Stir in the peas and season the rice with salt and pepper. To serve, portion some beans and rice together on a plate, then garnish with cilantro.