Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice
By Kath Dedon
Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice makes a fabulous vegan main dish on its own. It’s perfect for Meatless Monday. I am not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy flavorful vegetarian meals now and then.
It was also the perfect side dish with the Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce that I recently made. So this Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice is a great main dish or side dish.
The recipe is adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. It’s very easy to make, but you want to remember to soak the beans the night before you want to make it. ATK did all of their usual testing and determined that you get the best results if you soak the beans in salted water. The skins of the beans are softer and less likely to split when you cook them.
They do offer a quick soak method if you forget to soak your beans the night before. Simply bring the water, salt, and beans to a boil in a large pot. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for one hour. Drain and rinse the beans and proceed with the recipe.
If you try Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!
Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice
(Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook)
Serves 6 – 8 as a main dish, or 8 – 10 as a side dish
To soak the beans
1½ tablespoons table salt (I used sea salt.)
1 cup dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
2 quarts cold water
1. Dissolve the salt in the water. Soak the beans at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.
To Cook the Beans
4 cups water
2 large green bell peppers, halved, stemmed, and seeded
1 large onion, peeled leaving root end on the onion, and halved crosswise
1 head garlic (5 of the cloves peeled, minced, and reserved for the rice, the remaining head halved crosswise and left unpeeled)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a large Dutch oven, put the 4 cups of water, the drained beans, 1 bell pepper half, the root end half of the onion, the halved unpeeled garlic head, the bay leaves, and the 1 teaspoon of salt. (Reserve the other 3 pepper halves, the half onion, and the 5 cloves of minced garlic for the rice.)
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook at a simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the beans are just tender.
3. Discard the pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Drain the beans over a large bowl. Measure and reserve 2½ cups of the bean liquid to use with the rice. Add water to make 2½ cups, if you don’t quite have enough. Don’t wash the pot.
To Finish with the Rice
The reserved pepper halves and half onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
The reserved 5 cloves of minced garlic
1½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed several times until the water runs clear
Cooked black beans
The 2½ cups of reserved bean cooking liquid
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons salt
2 green onions, sliced thin
Lime wedges, for serving
4. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°.
5. Cut the remaining pepper halves and onion half into 2-inch pieces.
6. Pulse the pepper and onion in a food processor about 8 times, until the pieces are about ¼-inch, stopping to scrape the bowl down as needed.
7. Heat the oil in the now-empty pot that you used for the beans until it is shimmering.
8. Add the peppers and onion, cumin, oregano, and tomato paste to the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened and just starting to brown. This will take about 15 minutes. Stir in the reserved minced garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
9. Stir in the black beans, the reserved bean cooking liquid, the vinegar, and the 1½ teaspoons salt.
10. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and put in the preheated oven. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Fluff the rice with a fork and let it sit uncovered for 5 minutes before serving.
11. Serve with the green onions and lime wedges.