August 13, 2020

Healthy Rice and Beans: One Pot + Vegetarian

healthy rice and beans

This recipe is so nostalgic for me. Back when I was vegetarian for a few years, my mom would make this black beans and rice recipe. It quickly became one of my favourite dishes and one that I'd make on the regular. It's been a long time since I've had it, so when I decided to make it and blog it, it brought me right back. I changed it a little, but to be honest I think this makes it better (and easier!), a win-win. Get ready to enjoy some healthy rice and beans.

healthy rice and beans

Are Rice and Beans Healthy?

Both rice and beans provide a healthy amount of complex carbs. Plus the fibre from the beans and the veggies also keeps you feeling full and is great for overall health. The boost of fibre is also great for heart and digestive health.

When eaten separate, rice and beans aren't complete sources of protein, but when you combine the two they are.

healthy rice and beans

Ingredients for Healthy Rice and Beans

For this one pot vegetarian wonder, you only need 10 ingredients and some spices. Because you can't make a delicious meal without flavour from spices!

ingredients laid out on table

Black Beans

For this recipe, you'll need one 15 oz can of black beans.

This is the brand of black beans that I use.


You'll also need one small yellow onion.


To add some flavour and for extra veggies, you'll need one bell pepper. I used a yellow pepper, use whichever is your favourite pepper.


You can use fresh corn as I did, or feel free to use frozen. You'll need one fresh corn on the cob, or about 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen corn kernels.


I used jasmine white rice for this recipe, but you can use whichever rice you want. Brown or black rice offers more fibre, but the cook time can increase.

This is the brand of jasmine rice I buy.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes

I love using fire roasted tomatoes! They have so much flavour, and I much prefer them over regular canned tomatoes. If you don't have them, feel free to use regular canned (diced or whole) tomatoes.


Cooking these healthy rice and beans in broth offers a lot more flavour. Feel free to use vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian, or use chicken broth if you aren't making this strictly vegetarian. Alternatively, you can use water in a pinch.

This is the brand I buy for chicken broth.


You gotta love garlic! If you need to omit for any reason, that's totally fine, but fresh garlic is the way to go in my opinion.


Adding a hint of acidity is important in all dishes. For this Mexican inspired rice and beans, lime juice is my personal favourite. Garnish with extra lime wedges too!

Cotija Cheese

This is a special cheese that works so well in this healthy rice and beans recipe. Cotija is a salty and crumbly Mexican cheese that works to enhance savory dishes. It is most similar to feta, but has a slightly more distinct taste. If you need to omit it, thats fine, but I highly recommend it!

Seasoning for Rice and Beans

Recipes need spice and these healthy rice and beans are no exception. For this recipe, I used smoked paprika, ancho chili powder, oregano and cayenne.

spices and fire roasted tomato

Substitutions for rice and beans

  • Substitute fire roasted tomatoes for regular whole or diced tomatoes.
  • Use frozen corn instead of fresh corn kernels.
  • Try brown rice instead of white.
  • Try cheddar cheese or feta instead of cotija.
healthy rice and beans

How to make these healthy rice and and beans

I love how easy this one pot rice and beans recipe is to make. Basically all you need to do is throw everything in one pot, cook and eat!

Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add a splash of oil and then add the onion, pepper and corn. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a quick 30 seconds. Then add all the spices and stir until fragrant. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes until slightly toasted. Add the tomatoes, beans and broth.

rice, beans and tomatoes in pot

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

rice and beans in pot cooked

Once cooked through, squeeze in some lime juice and give it a stir. Add the cotija cheese and place in the oven on broil for 2 to 3 minutes. The cheese will melt and the top will get a little crispy. If you don't have the time to do this step, thats ok, it will still taste amazing either way!

rice and beans with cheese on top
healthy rice and beans

Go ahead, and divide up the rice and beans. Serve with lime wedges and tortilla chips.

healthy rice and beans

How to serve and store your rice with corn and black beans

I like serving these healthy rice and beans with tortilla chips on the side and cilantro and lime juice on top. Feel free to serve this however you want.

If you want to make these rice and beans vegan, use vegetable broth and skip the cheese. You could also sub with a vegan cheese of your choice too.

To store these healthy rice and beans, keep it in a sealed container in the fridge. Then reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.

healthy rice and beans

If you make these healthy rice and beans, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to tag me on Instagram, and/or leave a comment, rating or review below.


This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I have personally used and love. Disclosure here.

Healthy Rice and Beans: One Pot + Vegetarian

This easy, healthy rice and beans recipe is made with corn, peppers and all the right spices. Serve it with nachos and cotija cheese on top!





  1. In a dutch oven over medium heat, add the avocado oil. Once hot, add the onion, pepper and corn. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant, then add the spices (smoked paprika through to the salt) and stir to combine. Add the rice and stir to combine until slightly toasted, around 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, black beans and broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Remove the lid, squeeze in the lime juice. Add the cheese on top and place in the oven on broil for about 4 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the rice is crispy on top. Garnish with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips on the side.


Omit the cheese if needed, or use feta or cheddar cheese.

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