Tex-Mex Red Beans and Rice

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Red Beans and Rice 2

This recipe has history.  It’s one of the first full meals I remember cooking away from home in my dorm’s kitchen.  It’s one of the few recipes that required absolutely no change when I married a vegetarian.  It was also the first recipe I ever had published.  Yep, this recipe and I go way back, which I why I was surprised when I realized that I had yet to blog about it.

In a way, it’s almost too easy, but that’s what makes it great.  Minimal ingredients and 25 minutes, and you have a tasty, filling dinner that will satisfy pretty much anyone, form the college boyfriend you are trying to impress to your family of four.

Before I go too much further, let me go back to that statement about being published.  Way back when Amy and I were still roommates, the Cincinnati Enquirer decided to start a free weekly paper focused on entertainment and culture.  They decided to call it Cin Weekly (which is rather awful, but whatever).  Cin Weekly had a cooking section featuring a young, hip person and a favorite recipe.  Well, I wasn’t so hip, but I was young and I had a few recipes up my sleeve, plus a friend in PR that convinced me to participate.  It was my first experience in food photography and recipe publishing.  I tried in vain to locate the article, but Cin Weekly seems to have closed up shop.  I can’t find a link or a copy.

Red Beans and Rice

I’ve altered the recipe a bit since then to make it healthier.  Tim and I switched to brown rice a few years ago after I discovered the pasta cooking method.  This means that it doesn’t take any longer than white rice, and we actually prefer it.  If you start the rice first, the rest of the meal will be ready when it’s done!  I also added some red pepper to amp up the veggies.  You can leave this out if you are like Amy and don’t like peppers or simply don’t have one in the house.

Finally, a note about the salsa.  You can truly use any kind you like, from homemade to jarred.  I’ve made it with all kinds, but personally prefer a chunky, veggie-packed medium salsa.  This is also a good place to adjust the heat.  If you like spicy, go for a hotter salsa.  If you prefer milder, get a mild salsa. Enjoy!

Tex-Mex Red Beans and Rice

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3-4


  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 14.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jar (~15 oz) or about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa
  • 1-2 tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • Optional toppings: cilantro, sour cream, or cheese


  1. First, fill a medium large sauce pot with water; no need to measure. Add the rice and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer till done, about 25 minutes. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, red pepper, and chili powder. If you like spicy, use more chili powder. If you prefer a milder flavor, start with 1 tablespoon.
  3. Saute the onions and peppers till translucent. Then add the kidney beans.
  4. Stir the in salsa. If you are using a thicker salsa, you may also want to add about 1/4 cup of water as well. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the rice is done.
  5. Serve the beans over the rice and add the toppings of your choice.