Best ever black beans and rice (+ mango)

A plate of OMG

Who knew that this would be one of the best things I’ve made since starting the blog?  Or perhaps ever?  My kitchen smells amazing.  The colors and flavors jump off the plate. You guys, I am not even a big bean lover, but I had a can of black beans and some rice in the house and was in the mood for hearty winter food that I could eat over the next few days.  I eyed this recipe all day, but ended up adapting Deborah Madison’s recipe from her book Vegetarian Suppers because it had prettier pictures. It’s the perfect example of how inexpensive staples can be doctored up into something amazing. Recipe after the jump.

Coconut Rice


  • 1 1/2 cups of rice
  • 1/2 can (1 scant cup) coconut milk.
  • 1/2 tsp of ground turmeric
  • 4 slender scallions, including the greens
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads (Note:  I did not have this on hand, so omitted without consequence, though I imagine including it would have resulted in a culinary orgasm.)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Rinse the rice.  Bring 2 cups of water and the cup of coconut milk to boil with the saffron and tumeric.  Add the rice and 3/4 tsp of salt, cover the pan and cook over low heat until liquid is absorbed and rice is done – about 20 minutes.  Stir in the chopped scallions before serving.

Black Beans


  • 2 tsp light peanut oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 scant teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile, powdered or in adobo sauce, or more to taste (I substituted powdered ancho chile, as it was in my house)
  • Two 15 oz cans of black beans, with their juice.
  • 1 scant cup coconut milk (the other half of the can from the rice)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 limes, one juiced and one cut into wedges.

Start the rice. Heat the oil in a pot.  Add the pepper, onion, bay leaf, and cilantro and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, cumin, and chile, then the beans and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer until hot.  Season with salt and the juice of one lime.

Makes 4 main course servings, can easily stretch to 6 if you have other dishes on the table.

Madison’s recipe says to garnish with lime wedges and some cilantro and/or pickled red onion.  I say:  Cut up an avocado and some scallions and season them with salt and lime and scoop some on top of the beans.  And then on the side, season some mango with chili, salt, and lime.


10 responses to “Best ever black beans and rice (+ mango)

  1. This is so similar to a dish I made over and over during the summer, just to eat caramelized onions and black beans with chipotle over rice with avocado.

    BUT. Ye gods and little fishes. COCONUT! Genius. This’ll be on next week’s menu for sure.

  2. I have a feeling it’s even better the second day.

  3. Num, looks delish! For even more cost savings, soak your own dry beans. Cheap city.

  4. GUH. Must make now.

    If you’re interested in pickled red onion, there is a great looking recipe here that I am going to try very, very soon for quick pickled red onions…

    …along with a truly insanely good looking brisket recipe that I will be trying very, very soon as well.

  5. Amanda MacKenzie

    I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for something to do with some mangos I had that were just about too ripe. Holy sweet black beans, if that wasn’t the tastiest thing I’ve made in a while. I love beans and rice, but find they can be a bit bland. Not this little gem of a recipe. I made it in the dead heat of summer and didn’t find it too heavy, especially with the coriander, lime, avacado and mango. I thought it was the perfect summer dish…even my two year old ate it!

  6. Can you substitute the peanut oil out? Maybe use olive oil instead? Otherwise, I have everything already stocked in my kitchen to make this! Yum!

  7. I just made this tonight with brown rice- IT IS BEYOND AMAZING. I’ve shared it with 3 friends already! Best recipe I’ve found in ages, the flavors meld beautifully with one another. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s