Spanish rice and beans is a quick and easy vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free weeknight dinner. Serve as a side dish, vegan main dish, or top with baked chicken or shrimp for a little extra protein. It’s ready in just 30-minutes and made with pantry staples like rice, kidney beans, and olives.

spanish rice and beans on a plate with a fork.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

Spanish Rice and Beans checks all my favorite recipe essentials—it’s ready in minutes, has complex, vibrant flavors and is easy to adapt to your liking. 

I will usually eat this as a vegan main dish, but it’s equally delicious paired with chicken, fish or shrimp. When it comes to flavorful meals without the fuss, this one is at the top of my list.

If, however, you'd like to add a few extras, be my guest! Top Spanish Rice and beans with Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Thighs and sliced avocado or treat it like a side dish. It’s wonderful served alongside fish like my Oven Roasted Mackerel or my quick cooking Spanish al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp).

So simple and delicious you might consider Spanish Rice and Beans a weeknight wonder! 

Table of Contents
  1. What You’ll Need to Make Spanish Rice and Beans 
  2. How to Make Spanish Rice and Beans
  3. Rice and Beans: A Complete Protein 
  4. What to Serve with Spanish Rice and Beans
  5. Other Rice Recipes We Love
  6. Spanish Rice and Beans Recipe
ingredients for spanish beans and rice including spices, diced tomatoes, olives, green pepper, vegetable broth, rice, garlic, onions, kidney beans and tomato paste.

What You’ll Need to Make Spanish Rice and Beans 

My favorite thing about Spanish Rice and Beans is the simplicity of the ingredients. Any time I’m digging through my pantry instead of going to the store is a win in my book! And, in case these ingredients aren’t already living in your pantry, the good news is they’re all very easy to find. 

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Any high quality extra virgin olive oil you have on hand will work perfectly for this dish, but I especially love our Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Southern Andalusian region of Estepa in this recipe. 
  • Smoked or sweet paprika: Smoked and sweet paprika are both equally delicious in this dish, so don’t worry too much about this one! For a milder flavor, use sweet. Or, you can turn things up a notch with smoked paprika for a slightly bolder flavor. While you can substitute paprika with cayenne pepper, it packs a lot more punch! I would lower the amount to ¼-1/2 teaspoon. 
  • Basmati rice: I love basmati rice because, when rinsed, the long, aromatic grains don’t clump. It's tender, fluffy and my favorite rice to use in dishes like this. If you’re looking for a substitute for basmati rice, any long grain rice–like jasmine or long grain white rice—will also work. 
  • Fire roasted tomatoes: Smokey and lightly caramelized, fire roasted tomatoes are made by first charing fresh tomatoes at the peak of the season over an open flame. They are intensely sweet, with a bold charred tomato flavor that I absolutely adore. That said, if you have  standard tomatoes on hand, use them up. They will work equally well in this recipe.. If you’d like to go the extra mile, add an extra pinch of smoked paprika and a pinch of sugar to mimic the flavor.  
  • Cumin: Ground cumin adds an aromatic element, as well as a warm and earthy flavor to the rice. 
  • Red pepper flakes: I love a light kick with my Spanish rice, but if you’re looking for a milder flavor you can leave the pepper flakes out. Or, to mix things up substitute red pepper flakes with Aleppo pepper.  
  • Kidney beans: Creamy, slightly sweet, and a great source of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, a couple can of kidney beans holds their weight in this recipe. 
  • Tomato paste: Concentrated tomato paste adds a depth of flavor and sweetness to the broth. 
  • Vegetable broth: Keep the recipe vegan and use a low sodium vegetable broth. If you aren’t a vegetarian feel free to substitute store-bought or Homemade Chicken Stock
  • Green bell pepper: While red or yellow bell pepper will work in a pinch, green bell peppers are slightly less sweet and provide better flavor for this dish. 
  • Kosher salt: Don’t skip the salt! A good 5-finger pinch of salt here and there draws out the flavor.
  • Garlic: You know I love garlic! I found two cloves perfect for this recipe, but you can always add more if you’re feeling brave. 
  • Finishing touches: Green olives and fresh herbs like cilantro and parsley are optional, but I never skip them! They add so much freshness to this simple dish.  

How to Make Spanish Rice and Beans

This Spanish rice and beans is the ideal side dish: it comes together in just one pot, is super versatile, quick, and easy. Follow my step-by-step instructions for making this simple recipe below: 

  • Saute the onion and pepper: In a large, deep pan heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When the oil  shimmers, add the onion, bell pepper and a big pinch of kosher salt. Cook, tossing regularly until the vegetables soften a bit. chopped yellow onions and green peppers being sauteed in a pot.
  • Add the garlic and spices: Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 more seconds. chopped yellow onions and green peppers with a sprinkle of spices being sauteed in a pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the rice, beans and tomatoes: Add the rice and season with another pinch of kosher salt. Toss to combine, then add the beans and fire roasted tomatoes. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix the tomato paste and broth together, then add it to the rice mixture. spanish rice and beans ingredients simmering in a pot with a wooden spoon.
  • Boil then simmer: Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat to low. You want it to simmer gently. Cover and allow the rice to cook until tender and the liquid is fully absorbed, about 20 minutes. spanish rice and beans ingredients simmering in a pot with a wooden spoon.
  • Garnish and serve: Garnish with the olives and fresh herbs, if using, and serve. 

Rice and Beans: A Complete Protein 

A “complete protein” boasts all of the 9 amino acids we need to survive that our bodies don’t naturally produce. 

If you’re a meat-eater or pescatarian, filling your diet with the essential amino acids is easy–meat and poultry, seafood and fish, and eggs (like my favorite Turkish Poached Eggs with garlicky yogurt), are all considered complete proteins. If you follow a plant-based or vegan diet, getting all of the amino acids you need takes a bit more thought.

Enter rice and beans: a complete protein that’s completely vegan! On their own, rice and beans don’t have the necessary amino acids to be considered complete proteins. But, like with so many things in life, they get better when they work together! 

Brown and white rice both have low levels of lysine and high levels of methionine. Beans are their perfect match: high in lysine and low in methionine. 

According to the American Heart Association, "A vegetarian diet based on any single one or combination of these unprocessed starches (eg, rice, corn, potatoes, beans), with the addition of vegetables and fruits, supplies all the protein, amino acids, essential fats, minerals, and vitamins ... necessary for excellent health."

This is what makes rice and beans a complete protein: they’re high in nutritional value, essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, they’re super filling, inexpensive, easy to store, and delicious! What more could you ask for in a vegan recipe?  

spanish rice and beans on a plate with a fork.

What to Serve with Spanish Rice and Beans

This dish is the definition of versatile: it’s flavorful enough to stand on its own, but mild enough to complement the flavors of a wide variety of dishes. 

I love serving Spanish Rice and Beans as a vegetarian main dish, especially for a healthy lunch, where I pair it with a fresh salad like Simple Lemony Arugula Salad with Avocado, or Traditional Greek Salad.  

Or, for a hearty dinner, this Spanish Rice and Beans is the perfect side to a lemony roast fish, like Mediterranean Baked White Fish, or grilled meat, like Grilled Harissa Chicken

Other Rice Recipes We Love

Browse all Mediterranean recipes.

Visit Our Shop.

Try our Smoked Spanish Paprika

Take your Spanish rice and beans to a whole new level with this bold and smoky spice! So much flavor and a subtle heat you'll love.

a jar of smoked spanish paprika from the mediterranean dish.
4.91 from 52 votes

Spanish Rice and Beans

Suzy Karadsheh
spanish rice and beans on a plate with a fork.
Healthy, hearty, and full of flavor, this Spanish Rice and Beans is one of my favorite 30 minute, one pan recipes. Add chicken or shrimp or serve it as a vegetarian main with a green salad on the side.
Prep – 5 minutes
Cook – 25 minutes
Total – 30 minutes
Cuisine:
Spanish
Serves – 6
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 cups basmati rice or similar long grain rice, rinsed very well
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • cup sliced green olives, optional, for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, optional, for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Saute the onion and pepper: In a large, deep pan heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the chopped onion, chopped bell pepper and season with a big pinch of kosher salt. Cook, tossing regularly until the vegetables soften a bit.
  • Add the garlic and spices: Add the garlic, paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 more seconds.
  • Add the rice, beans and tomatoes: Add the rice and season with another pinch of kosher salt. Toss to combine, then add the beans and fire roasted tomatoes. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix the tomato paste and broth together, then add it to the rice mixture.
  • Boil then simmer: Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. You want it to simmer gently. Cover with a tight fitting lid and allow the rice to cook until its tender and the liquid is fully absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  • Garnish and serve: Garnish with the olives and parsley, if using, and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Leftovers? Cover, refrigerate, and turn this Spanish rice and beans into a delicious and healthy bowl for lunch the next day.
  • On rinsing rice: Rinsing your rice may seem like an extra step, but I promise it’s worth it! You want each grain of rice to be nicely cooked without clumping, so you’ll need to remove the starch. Make sure to rinse your rice until the water runs clear.
  • Visit our shop to find my favorite high quality spices and olive oil for this dish, including sweet Spanish paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, and extra virgin olive oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 487.4kcalCarbohydrates: 90.5gProtein: 18gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 0.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.7gSodium: 554mgPotassium: 778.6mgFiber: 12.9gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 865.1IUVitamin C: 21.8mgCalcium: 92.6mgIron: 5.7mg
Tried this recipe?

Share it with the world

I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
Learn More

Get our best recipes and all Things Mediterranean delivered to your inbox.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. 3 stars
    Hi, I am only cooking for 2 so your recipes are always too big. I try to divide them but am not always successful. Any chance you could add a button below the 1X? Thanks Helen

    1. Hi, Helen. Thanks for the feedback. That is something we've looked into doing, but unfortunately it's not possible with our current website configuration. You aren't the first whose mentioned this... it's definitely something we'll keep researching.

  2. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe! Quick and easy. Luckily I had a can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and sliced green olives. Went well with our leftover roast chicken. Thank you Suzy 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    This is SO delicious! I used half smoked paprika and half hot paprika because we like it spicy. Easy and fast. Thank you so much

  4. 5 stars
    this was truly lovely and so easy to make.
    i added half a spicy chorizo ring, diced, and about 10 roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes along with the onion and capsicum. i've never seen "fire roasted tomatoes" in the UK so i used a tin of crushed tomatoes which worked well. no salt added [cardiologist's orders].
    just before clamping the lid on i added about half a cup of frozen peas and then dropped 14 criminally plump prawns on top.
    instead of parsley at the end [don't like it] i snipped in a decent bunch of chives.
    i divided the prawns between the two of us along with a good serving of the rice mixture and there was still enough left over to serve a small street.
    will most definitely make this again and feel that you can be quite inventive with what you put in it in regards to herbs and spices. as long as the rice/liquid ratio is kept the sky's the limit!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Suzy, I’m new to the cooking game, my wife always did the cooking. We are now transitioning to the Mediterranean way of cooking. Each and every one of your recipes have been very easy for me to follow. Not only are they easy but they are also very tasty. I want to say thank you and keep cooking.

  6. 5 stars
    Another fantastic recipe. I used the smoked paprika which is one of my favorite seasonings. It makes a lot especially for one person but I was able to enjoy it for a few dinners, a breakfast with a fried egg on top and lastly lunch. Freezing leftovers in portions to have again soon!!

  7. 4 stars
    I am wondering if the amount of liquid is correct since my rice was undercooked. I chose to use a white long grain instead of basmati but had to add more liquid and still the rice was not cooked through. Flavor was great though....

    1. Hi, Donnie. The amount of liquid listed in the recipe did work for us. It may be because you changed up the type of rice used. Basmati tends to cook faster than other varieties of long grain rice.

    2. Hi… I used also Basmati and my rice was undercooked… I had to toss out that food that I made and follow exactly to the dot the recipe and video to the trash because my rice was uncooked… so there must be a problem with the liquid amount… from now on I will cook the rice separately and the beans and sauce separately and then combine them.

  8. Trying this recipe today, but I have a question about the caloric intake. I saw where the recipe serves six and the calories were nearly 500 . Is this per all six portions or will the calories be divided by 6? Thank You.

    1. Hi, Anthony. I'm so sorry you're having issues viewing this video. Unfortunately, some web browsers block pop ups which, for some reason, also blocks instructional videos. You may need to adjust your browser settings, or try a different browser on your end in order to see them.

  9. I find it really frustrating when I can't get hold of ingredients listed in a recipe. Trying to find Fire Roasted Tomatoes here in the UK is impossible. American foods supplier is out of stock and Amazon also out stock.

  10. 5 stars
    The best ever recipe full of flavor and so so good. I could fix this 3 times a week. Very easy to prepare. I love your spices and the your presentation of recipes you make them easy to make. Thank you.

  11. 5 stars
    Suzy, thank you once again for another stellar recipe and meatless too! I just devoured 2 bowls it is so good. And easy and economical. Ticks every box. This is also perfect now that I am dating a vegetarian, and I am also passing this on to my Lenten observing friends. Every one of your recipes that I have tried are fantastic!

  12. This recipe looks fantastic! Can't wait to try it. One question: how would I adapt/adjust the recipe if I wanted to use brown rice instead of basmati or other white rice?