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Spanish black beans and rice in a bowl on a wooden table.

Zesty Spanish Beans and Rice

Course: Side
Cuisine: Mexican, Spanish
Keyword: Easy, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 360kcal
Author: Marilyn
Spanish Beans and Rice is the perfect side dish for Mexican dishes. It cooks up in under and hour and in one pot. You can even serve this hearty dish as a vegetarian main dish. So good at any meal any time!
Print Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, diced about ¾ cup diced
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1-½ cups red salsa about 12 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounces) ,drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped optional


  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened.
  • Stir in rice, broth, salsa, cumin and paprika. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Remove from the heat and stir in the beans. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  • Serve sprinkled with cilantro, if using.


Beans: Substitute 1 can (about 16 oz) dark red kidney beans or pinto beans for the black beans. Drain and rinse all beans.
Brown Rice: Replace the long grain white rice with long grain brown rice. Increase the broth to 3-¾ cups. Increase the cooking time to 45 to 50 minutes.
Broth: If you prefer to use regular vegetable broth instead of low sodium broth, reduce the broth to 1-½ cups and add 1-½ cups water. Season to taste with salt. Using 3 cups of full sodium broth will make your rice and beans to salty.
Chicken Broth Substitute: You can use low sodium chicken broth in place of the vegetable broth. However, this substitution will make the beans and rice not vegetarian.
Broth versus Stock: Stock and broth can be used interchangeably in many recipes. Stock is much thicker so it is not a good choice for simmering the rice. Vegetable broth is needed to simmer the rice.
Homemade Salsa: Instead of using store bought salsa, use a homemade salsa. This recipe for Homemade Salsa from Spend With Pennies is terrific.
More Tips:
  • Spanish beans and rice can be covered tightly and refrigerated up to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing the rice and beans. While there is nothing wrong with freezing this recipe, I personally do not like the consistency after it has frozen and defrosted.
  • Choose any brand of salsa you prefer. My favorite red salsas are Roasted Tomato Salsa and this Pace Salsa which is actually called picante sauce! Choose mild, medium or hot, chunky or not, or with other ingredients you like.
Serving Suggestions:


Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 628mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 518IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg