If you’re familiar with financial guru Dave Ramsey, you might also be familiar with his popular money-saving advice to “just eat beans and rice” if you need to pinch pennies to get out of debt. Why? Because beans and rice are some of the cheapest staple food items you can buy at the grocery store.
Sometimes when Bob and I would be discussing our budget he would use that same phrase saying “Well maybe we can just eat beans and rice for awhile” to which I would reply, in all honesty, “I don’t know how to cook beans and rice”.
Now that may seem like a strange thing to say, but that’s truly how I felt. For most of my cooking years, I had used my familiar meat-and-potato type of recipes and my trusted cream-of-something-soup casserole recipes. There was usually not a bean or grain of rice anywhere in sight! Even though the whole frugal beans and rice thing sounded good in theory, I just didn’t quite know what that was supposed to look like in the kitchen.
So I decided to use another Dave Ramsey strategy. I took some baby steps. I dipped a toe in the water and started trying some recipes. This became a little easier for me when I began reading plant-based eating cookbooks and started to finally come across many more recipe ideas for beans and rice.
And now, at long last, I finally have my own basic Beans & Rice recipe in a size that’s perfect for two people as that’s what a usual supper is for us now.
A Flexible Strategy For Beans & Rice
What I like about my new beans and rice recipe is that it has some flexibility to it. Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients:
The Beans: Most of the time I use half a can of black beans. However other times I’ve cooked beans from scratch and have them in the freezer. I could also substitute other types of beans such as pinto beans.
The Tomatoes: I use half a can of tomatoes in this recipe. Most of the time I use regular diced tomatoes but sometimes I like using the fire roasted, and other times I’ve used the seasoned diced tomatoes. You could also use diced fresh tomatoes.
The Corn: For this ingredient I always use frozen corn, but fresh corn could also be used.
The Salsa: Adding a few spoonfuls of salsa is my easy way of adding some flavor to my mixture. I use mild salsa, but you could use medium or hot if you like a spicier mixture. You can also add more or less of this ingredient depending on how saucy you like your beans.
Fresh Add-Ins: The four ingredients above form the base of the mixture that I heat up in a saucepan. However I also like to add fresh ingredients to the mixture if I have them on hand. I like to add some diced green pepper, or sometimes some green onions, and I love topping it with fresh cilantro when it’s ready to be served. You could get creative with other fresh vegetables or herbs too.
The Rice: I cook my rice separately from my bean mixture. Usually I use this method to cook my brown rice. You could also serve this over white rice if you prefer, or use instant rice if you’re in a hurry.
Once again, because I’m usually making this recipe for just the two of us, I only use half of the can of beans and half of the can of the diced tomatoes. This ends up being about 3/4 cup of the beans and about 1 cup of the tomatoes. I’ve found that the other half of the ingredients freeze well. I just empty what’s left in the cans into ziploc baggies and save them in the freezer for the next time we need them.
If you would like to make this in a larger batch, simply use the entire can of beans and the entire can of tomatoes and increase the amount of corn and salsa in the recipe to compensate. My strategy is to aim for for about equal amounts of the beans, tomatoes, and corn in the mixture, with enough salsa added in to make it a little more flavorful and saucy.
Eat Your Beans & Rice!
This is a simple way to get started with beans and rice if you’ve never tried it before. You can use the baby steps of canned ingredients and minute rice to get started, and work your way up to cooking beans from scratch and making friends with brown rice as you move along.
So now when hubby says maybe we should eat beans and rice, I’m ready with this easy, frugal, and healthy recipe. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too!
Easy Beans and Rice for Two
- Half a can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed (¾ cup) (see notes)
- Half a can of Diced Tomatoes (1 cup) (see notes)
- 3/4 Cup Frozen Corn
- 2 Tbl Salsa (I prefer Mild)
- 1/4 cup Diced Green Pepper
- Chopped Fresh Cilantro
- Cooked Rice
- Combine the beans, tomatoes, corn, salsa, and green pepper in a small saucepan.
- Heat on medium heat until mixture is warmed through and starting to bubble.
- Serve over cooked rice and garnish with plenty of fresh chopped cilantro.
More Healthy and Frugal Food Ideas: