Easy Cheesy Rice and Beans
I originally thought of this Easy Cheesy Rice and Beans as a hearty side dish to serve with almost anything Tex-Mex, but then I realized that it’s actually delicious enough to serve as an entree!
The whole rice and beans recipe comes together in one skillet which makes for easy clean up. If you are serving it right away you can serve it straight out of the skillet and if you want to do the entree version, serve the cheesy rice and beans with warm flour tortillas.
I made this base version very mild so my kiddos wouldn’t complain, but it would be easy to spice it up either by substituting a spicy salsa or adding in a few diced peppers in the beginning of the recipe.
No matter how you serve it, this Cheesy Rice and Beans recipe should be in your arsenal. You might even have everything you need to make it in your pantry right now!
- In a large cast iron skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until veggies soften, 3-4 minutes. Then add salsa and stir together. Season mixture with cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Rinse rice well under cold water until the water runs clear. Then add rice to the skillet along with drained and rinsed black beans. Stir together well.
- Add water (or stock) to the skillet and bring to a slight simmer. Turn heat down to low and cover. Cook rice and beans for 15-18 minutes until rice is cooked and water is evaporated. Stir once or twice during cooking to make sure the rice isn’t clumping or cooking too quickly. If the rice and beans seems particularly dry, add another 1/2 cup of liquid.
- When rice and beans are cooked and the rice is tender, stir mixture with a fork and season to your taste with salt and pepper.
- Dot the top of the rice and beans with handfuls of cheddar cheese and cover with lid. Residual heat should melt the cheese, but if you’ve waited too long, you can also stick the skillet in a 350 degrees F. oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese really well (that’s my preference).
- Garnish skillet with sliced avocado and fresh cilantro and serve while warm.
The cheesy rice and beans works great as a hearty side dish OR you can serve it with flour tortillas to make it an entree.
Cheesy Rice and Beans in One Skillet
Everything for this rice and beans dish comes together in one skillet, but obviously not at the same time. Order is important!
Start the recipe with a drizzle of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the diced onion and garlic. Cook them until they are translucent (not browned at all).
Then you can add the salsa. I kept mine very mild, but again – you do you!
How to Prepare the Rice for Rice and Beans
I like a long-grained white rice for my rice and beans, but you could use any rice. The most important part is to rinse it well before you add it to the skillet. Like, you should rinse the rice until the water is clear.
If you don’t rinse the rice well, then the starch on the rice will make everything clump together in the skillet and it’ll take way more water for it to cook correctly.
Assuming you are using canned black beans, rinse them well also!
Then you can add the rice and beans to the skillet with everything else!
Finishing the Cheesy Rice and Beans
Stir all the ingredients together really well and then add the liquid. I just add water but you could use stock if you wanted.
Bring the skillet to a simmer and turn the heat down to low. Cover it and cook until the rice is cooked and the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes.
It helps to stir it once or twice while it cooks also to make sure the rice isn’t clumping together. If it seems too dry, add a little more water.
Eventually, the rice will be tender and everything will smell delicious! This is when you can season your rice and beans skillet.
Now to finish it! Add some big handfuls of cheddar cheese in pockets around the rice and beans. If you work fast, you can cover the skillet again and the residual heat will melt the cheese.
Or, you can stick the skillet in a 350 degree F. oven for just a few minutes to make the cheese super-melty. That’s my preference!
This cheesy rice and beans skillet also gets some sliced avocado and fresh cilantro!
Serve these cheesy rice and beans as a side or load it into a tortilla with some sour cream. YUM!