Puerto Rican Rice And Beans

Boricuas eat Puerto Rican Rice and Beans almost every day because the dish has bold flavors, it’s easy to prepare, and it’s budget-friendly!

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Boricuas (i.e., people from Puerto Rico) eat Puerto Rican Rice and Beans almost every day because the dish has bold flavors, is easy to prepare, and is budget-friendly! Arroz Con Habichuelas, as it’s called on the island, can be a meal on its own with a side of ripe yellow plantain slices, or you can serve it as a sidekick to any protein. Welcome to your new favorite weeknight staple!

Overhead shot of a white bowl of red beans and rice.

A Note On Authenticity

This is not a historically authentic recipe. We strive to create recipes that are accessible to everyone, which means ingredients need to be available at a mainstream budget grocery store. We test recipes using the least amount of steps, tools, and ingredients while still honoring the spirit of the recipe. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and look forward to a time when our ingredients are available in mainstream markets. Until then, buen provecho!

Can I Substitute The Canned Kidney Beans?

I love how versatile this recipe is. If kidney beans are not your favorite, you can substitute them with almost any other canned bean. Try chickpeas, white, pink, or black beans to keep it truly island-inspired. If you’re working with dry beans, prepare about 3/4 cup of the dried to substitute for a 15-ounce can of beans.

Can I Substitute The WhIte Rice?

Since the medium grain white rice cooks in its own pot, making substitutions is easy. Don’t skip rinsing the rice, as it removes excess starches so the rice won’t clump together. Also, make sure to toast the rice in the oil, which develops nutty flavors and allows the rice to come to a boil faster since it is already warm. The only thing you really have to change is the amount of water you use to make the rice, as different grains require different amounts of liquid to cook fully. Follow these easy guidelines:

  • Brown Rice: 1 cup rice – 1 3/4 cups water
  • Basmati Rice: 1 cup rice – 1 3/4 cups water
  • Jasmine Rice: 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water
  • Long Grain White Rice: 1 cup rice to 2 cups water
  • Medium grain White Rice 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water
  • Short Grain White Rice: 1 cup rice to 1 1/4 cups water

How To Make Vegan Red Beans And Rice

You can make this recipe vegan by omitting the salt pork and substituting the chicken bouillon with vegetable stock. You should also make your own sazón, the all-purpose spice blend that gives Puerto Rican food its deep earthy flavors and orange hues. Many brands of sazón are made with a mineral salt that is animal based. Once you make your sazón, your first step will be to bloom it in the oil. Blooming is chef speak for warming the spices in oil until fragrant, a great trick to keep up your sleeve when you want to add deeper flavors to any recipe. Then just follow the rest of the recipe for Puerto Rican Rice and Beans. Here is a recipe to make your own sazón:

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground annatto
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
Overhead shot of a white bowl of red beans and rice with a side of ripe plantain slices. and a black spoon in it

Storing Red Beans and Rice

This is the best recipe for meal prep because it’s easy to store and holds up for five days in the fridge. Just place the rice in an airtight container, and do the same with the beans. Then, refrigerate until you’re ready to reheat them. You can also freeze individual portions. They will keep for up to six months.

Reheating Beans and Rice

You have a few options when it comes to reheating. I prefer to use a non-stick pan for the rice because I like the added crunch it gives to the grains on the bottom of the pan. I also sprinkle a little bit of water over the rice (about 1/8th of a teaspoon per cup) to rehydrate the grains. Finally, I reheat the beans in a microwave-safe container until they steam. Of course, you can reheat the rice in the microwave as well. Just remember that sprinkle of water.

WHAT TO DO WITH LeftoverS

If you want to go all out, reheat equal parts of rice and beans and make “Arroz Mamposteao.” Most Puerto Ricans do it with day-old rice and beans, and it is a DELIGHT. You’ll use 1 part beans to 2 parts rice. First, dice some salt pork, about 1/4 cup, and render the fat in a large pot. When the pork is crispy and golden, add a few more tablespoons of sofrito and cook until fragrant. Then add the beans and heat until they are steaming and the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Finally, add the rice, mix, and cook until the rice absorbs the sauce. Boom! You’re welcome!

Side shot of a white bowl of red beans and rice with a side of ripe plantains and a spoon in it.
Overhead shot of a white bowl of red beans and rice.
Print

Puerto Rican Style Red Beans and Rice

Puerto Rican Rice and Beans is a dish with bold flavors, it's easy to prepare, and it's budget-friendly! Make it a meal with a side of ripe yellow plantain slices, or serve it as a sidekick to any protein.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Latin
Total Cost ($8.24 recipe / $0.69 serving)
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 1/2 cup beans + 1/2 cup rice
Calories 314kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.16
  • 1 packet sazón $0.17
  • 1/2 cup salt pork, small dice $1.83
  • 1 onion, diced $0.42
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 3 cloves) $0.14
  • 8 oz tomato sauce $0.59
  • 4 Tbsp sofrito $0.72
  • 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon, Roasted Chicken Base* $0.12
  • 2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar $0.07
  • 1 large sweet potato, large dice $0.74
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced $0.79
  • 2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained $1.68
  • 2 cups white medium grain rice, rinsed $0.76
  • 3 cups boiling water $0.00
  • 2 tsp salt, plus more to taste $0.05

Instructions

  • Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once it has warmed, add the salt pork and sazón. Fry until the fat has rendered and the salt pork is golden, about 4 minutes.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato sauce, sofrito, chicken bouillon, and vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, reducing the sauce and developing the flavors.
  • Add the green bell pepper and the sweet potato. Cook for five minutes.
  • Add the beans and enough water to cover them. Stir and taste the broth. Add salt to taste.
  • Cook uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes until the sweet potato has softened. If halfway through the cook, the liquid in the beans reduces too much, add 1/4 cup of water.
  • For the rice, set a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil has warmed, add the rice, mix it into the oil and let it toast for a minute. Next, add the boiling water and 2 teaspoons of salt to the rice and stir.
  • Cook uncovered until the water begins to evaporate and you see little steam holes form over the surface of the rice, about 5 minutes. Stir the rice once, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot tightly with a heavy lid, so steam does not escape.
  • Cook the rice without stirring until the grains are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. After you portion out the rice, scrape up the crispy bits on the bottom of the pot to serve on top of your rice.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*A packet of sazón contains about 1.5 teaspoons of sazón.
*If you cannot source Better Than Bouillon, Roasted Chicken Base, use 1 cup of chicken stock.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 885mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Puerto Rican Red Beans And Rice – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of salt pork frying in a silver pot.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot over mid-high heat. Once it has warmed, add 1/2 cup of diced salt pork and a packet of sazón. Fry until the fat has rendered and the salt pork is golden, about 4 minutes.

Overhead shot of salt pork, onions, and garlic, frying in a silver pot.

Lower the heat to medium and add the diced onion. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the tablespoon of minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Overhead shot of gray rubber spoon with wood handle scraping the bottom of a silver pot to part sofrito.

Once the garlic releases its aroma, add the 8 ounces of tomato sauce, the 4 tablespoons of sofrito, the teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon, and the 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, reducing the sauce and developing the flavors.

Overhead shot of diced green bell peppers and diced sweet potatoes in a silver pot with sofrito.

Add the diced green bell pepper and the diced large sweet potato. Cook for five minutes.

Overhead shot of water being added to a silver pot full of red beans.

Add the 2 cans of beans and enough water to cover them. Stir and taste the broth. Add salt to taste, but don’t over salt. As water evaporates, the salt will become more pronounced.

Overhead shot of finished red beans in a silver pot with a spoon scooping a cup full.

Cook uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes until the sweet potato has softened. If halfway through the cook, the liquid in the beans reduces too much, add 1/4 cup of water.

Overhead shot of water being poured into toasted rice in a silver pot.

For the rice, set a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil has warmed, add the 2 cups of rinsed rice, mix it into the oil and let it toast for a minute. Next, add the 3 cups of boiling water to the rice. Finally, add the 2 teaspoons of salt and stir.

Overhead shot of a silver pot of rice with steam vents on the surface of the rice

Cook uncovered until the water begins to evaporate and you see little steam holes form over the surface of the rice, about 5 minutes. Stir the rice once, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot tightly with a heavy lid, so steam does not escape. Cook the rice without stirring until the grains are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Overhead shot of cooked rice in a silver pot.

After you portion out the rice, scrape up the crispy bits on the bottom of the pot to serve on top of your rice. No, you did not burn your rice. The crispy bits are called “pegao,” and in Puerto Rico, it’s the part of the meal that everyone wants a piece of.

Side shot of a white bowl with red beans and rice and slice ripe plantain with a black spoon in it.

To serve, scoop a 1/2 cup of rice into a bowl and top it with a 1/2 cup of beans. If you want to take it one step further, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and add a few slices of ripe plantain on the side as we did. It’s a knockout!! As we say in Puerto Rico, “Buen provecho!”

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The Pizza Roll Up Lunch Box

The heat is getting to me, y’all! So last week I sat down and brainstormed some no-cook lunch boxes, or meal preps that I can keep in the fridge for quick meals over the next couple of months. I’ll be posting these lunch box ideas over the next few weeks, the first being this Pizza […]

The post The Pizza Roll Up Lunch Box appeared first on Budget Bytes.

The heat is getting to me, y’all! So last week I sat down and brainstormed some no-cook lunch boxes, or meal preps that I can keep in the fridge for quick meals over the next couple of months. I’ll be posting these lunch box ideas over the next few weeks, the first being this Pizza Roll Up Lunch Box. These easy no-cook lunch boxes make great “brown bag” lunches for the work week, especially for those of you who don’t have access to a refrigerator or microwave during your work day. Just pop one of these in an insulated lunch pack and you’re good to go!

This one goes out to everyone who grew up eating those pizza lunchables. ;)

Four rectangular glass containers with pizza roll ups, green bell pepper, and a dipping cup of pizza sauce.

There is no “one size fits all” lunch box

We all need different amounts of food, so make sure you flex your lunch box up or down to fit your appetite. Here are some other things you can add to this pizza roll up lunch box to beef it up, if you need more!

  • Add an apple, orange, or yogurt cup on the side for dessert
  • Add an extra layer of turkey, ham, or salami sliced deli meat to the roll up
  • Add a layer of caramelized onions to the wrap
  • Spread ricotta cheese on the tortilla in place of pesto (option drizzle pesto on the ricotta and have both!)
  • Add a few banana pepper rings inside the roll up
  • Pack a simple green salad on the side

There are an endless number of toppings you could add to your roll up, but just be careful with “chunky” ingredients that may make it hard to keep the roll up closed.

How long do the lunch boxes last?

You can keep these lunch boxes in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Longevity may vary depending on the conditions inside your refrigerator and freshness of your ingredients.

What containers do you use?

These are Pyrex glass containers, and small metal dipping cups (both are linked in the bottom of the recipe card below). I have the dipping cups in the glass containers in the photos, but they are actually taller than the container and would need to be packed outside the glass container for it to be closed properly.

Three pizza roll up lunch boxes lined up in a row

 
Three pizza roll up lunch boxes lined up in a row

The Pizza Roll Up Lunch Box

These easy pizza roll up lunch boxes are a great no-cook lunch idea for your work week. No reheating required for this lunch meal prep!
Total Cost $5.64 recipe / $1.41 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 598.05kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 large tortillas (burrito size) $0.65
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto $0.55
  • 8 slices provolone cheese $1.19
  • 36 slices pepperoni $0.97
  • 4 cups fresh spinach $0.32
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce $0.43
  • 2 green bell peppers $1.53

Instructions

  • Spread 1 Tbsp pesto over the surface of each tortilla (it does not need to cover the entire surface. Lay two slices of provolone over one half of each tortilla, followed by about 9 pepperoni. Lastly, add one handful of fresh spinach to each tortilla.
  • Roll each tortilla up, trying to keep the roll as tight as possible. With the seams facing down, slice the rolls into one-inch sections. Place the sliced roll-ups in your meal prep container. Pack them closely together to keep them from coming unrolled.
  • Slice the green bell peppers into strips. Divide the bell pepper strips between the four containers.
  • Fill four small containers with 2 Tbsp pizza sauce each. Refrigerate your roll ups, bell peppers, and pizza sauce for up to five days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1box | Calories: 598.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.18g | Protein: 26.3g | Fat: 35.15g | Sodium: 1509.63mg | Fiber: 5.08g

Want more cold lunch ideas? Check out our No-Reheat Meal Prep category!

A pizza roll up being dipped into a small cup full of pizza sauce

How to Make Pizza Roll Up Lunch Boxes – Step by Step Photos

pesto, provolone, and pepperoni on a tortilla

Spread 1 Tbsp of pesto over each tortilla. Lay two pieces of provolone and about 9 pepperoni on one half of the tortilla.

spinach added to the tortilla

Sprinkle one handful of spinach over each tortilla.

Rolled up and sliced tortilla on a cutting board with a knife

Roll up the tortilla, making sure to roll as tightly as possible. Slice the roll into one-inch sections. The two end pieces might not stay rolled, but as long as the roll is seam-side down, the rest should stay rolled.

Finished pizza roll up lunch boxes

Place the sliced roll-ups in your containers. Cut two green bell peppers into strips and divide them among the four containers. Place 2 Tbsp pizza sauce into four small containers. Pack up your boxes and refrigerate up to 5 days!

The post The Pizza Roll Up Lunch Box appeared first on Budget Bytes.