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Rice and Beans Aren’t So Boring After All

Did you know that the humble beans and rice can be used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Rice and beans are the epitome of prepping staples; and in many countries, this power duo are equivalent to “our daily bread.” Every prepper from East to West have different varieties of these foods safely stored for a rainy day.


These low-cost preps are not only packed with nutrition but are extremely versatile. Beans are packed with protein, iron, fiber, folate, antioxidants, and vitamins. Rice is rich in starches and carbohydrates, and when beans are accompanied with rice, it makes a complete protein which provides all the amino acids needed to survive. One serving of beans and rice provides 19.9 grams or 40 percent of your daily vitamins.


As popular as these two preps are, many are concerned about food fatigue and are looking for ways to shake up the monotony in order to prevent culinary boredom. Because beans and rice are so versatile, adding any leftovers in from a previous meal is a way to experiment with different flavors and make good use of the food you have on hand.

Having a wide array of recipes and spices may cut down on food fatigue if a person were living on these two staples long term. Spices such as cumin, garlic, oregano, sage, thyme, savory, dried peppers, and parsley can create a full flavored meal. Many preppers have also stocked up on bulk spice combinations like taco seasoning, and pinto bean seasoning to flavor these favorite prepping staples.


Berry Bean Blast

1 can (15 ounces) Navy beans or Great Northern beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Navy beans or Great Northern beans, rinsed, drained
1 1/2 cups orange juice
2 cups quartered strawberries
2 to 3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 to 8 ice cubes

Makes 4 servings (about 6 ounces each)


Process all ingredients, except ice cubes, in a blender until smooth. Add ice cubes and blend until smooth. Serve in glasses.
TIP: Berry Bean Blast can be made 1 to 2 days in advance; refrigerate, covered. The drink will thicken in the refrigerator; stir in orange juice or cold water for desired consistency. Frozen strawberries can be used; if using frozen berries, ice cubes will not be needed.

Blueberry Bean Muffins

2 cans (15 ounces each) Red Kidney beans or 3 cups cooked dry-packaged Red Kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon allspice, ground
1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

(Makes 1 dozen)


Process beans and milk in food processor or blender until smooth.
Mix sugar and butter in large bowl; beat in eggs and vanilla. Add bean mixture, mixing until well blended. Mix in combined flours, baking soda, salt, and spices. Gently mix in blueberries. Spoon mixture into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups; sprinkle with pecans.
Bake muffins in a preheated 375-degree oven until toothpicks inserted in centers come out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes; remove from pans and cool.

Sweet Bean Pudding

1 can (15 ounces ) Navy or Pinto beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dry-packaged Navy or Pinto beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup mashed cooked or canned sweet potatoes
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, divided
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Grated rind of 1/2 orange
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped pecans

Makes 8 side dish servings (about 1/2 cup each)


Process beans, sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs in food processor or blender until smooth; add remaining ingredients, except 3 tablespoons brown sugar and pecans, and process until well blended.
Spoon mixture into lightly greased 1-quart casserole; sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar and pecans.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 F. until browned and puffed, about 1 hour.


Chili Bean Snack Mix

2 cans (15 ounces each) Garbanzo beans or 3 cups cooked dry-packaged Garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
Butter flavor cooking spray
4 cups toasted wheat, corn or rice squares cereal
2 cups pretzel goldfish or pretzel sticks
1 package (8 ounces) chopped mixed dried fruit (2 cups)
1 package (6 ounces) dried pineapple chunks (1 cup)
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika

(Makes 16 servings)


Dry Garbanzo beans well on paper toweling. Place beans in large skillet and spray generously with cooking spray. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until they begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer beans to jelly roll pan and bake at 350 F. until browned and beginning to crisp on the outside, 20 to 25 minutes.
Transfer beans to large bowl; add cereal, pretzel sticks, dried fruit, pineapple chunks, and pumpkin seeds. Combine Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, garlic, and onion powder and paprika; add to snack mixture and toss to coat well. Spray mixture generously with cooking spray and toss. Transfer mixture to roasting pan.
Bake snack mix at 350 F. for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Cool; store in airtight container at room temperature.
TIP: For a sweetened version of this recipe make snack mix as above, substituting 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon apple juice for the Worcestershire Sauce and 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg and 1 teaspoon ground allspice for the chili, garlic and onion powders and paprika.

Chick-Pea Patties

  • one 20-ounce can chick-peas
  • 1/2 c. onion, minced
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs. parley, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of dried oregano
  • 2 tbs. sharp cheese, grated
  • 1-2 tbs. water (if needed)
  • flour for rolling
  • vegetable oil for frying

Makes 24 small patties or 12 larger patties


Drain and rinse chick-peas with cold water.  Mash with a fork or in a blender or food processor.  Saute onion in butter until soft and golden; remove from heat. Add chick-peas, beaten egg, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, and grated cheese.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if necessary, to form soft mixture.  Shape into 2-inch patties.  Roll in flour and fry in oil until golden.

Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice

  • 2 c. red beans that have been soaked overnight (reserve liquid) or three cans of beans with 1 can of liquid reserved)
  • 1/2 lb. of smoked ham hock
  • 1 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 4-5 c. cook rice and drained

(Makes 4 servings)


Pour beans in a pan (reserve 1 can or 1 cup of beans for later) and add smoked ham hock in water. Simmer on medium heat for an hour until the meat starts to loosen from the bone. Remove from heat and cool until the hock is cool enough so the meat may be removed from the bone. Place the meat, beans, and liquid in a food processor. To the mixture add onion powder, garlic salt, red pepper, salt. Process for only 4 seconds. Beans should be chopped and liquid thick. Now add the 3rd can of beans (or remaining 1 cup of beans) that have been drained of their liquid. Process just for a second or two you want these beans to remain almost whole.

Pour beans over rice and enjoy.

 Black Bean Burgers

  • 1-16 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed or 2 c. black beans soaked overnight
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into inch pieces
  • 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tbs. cumin
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • 1/2 bread crumbs


If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

Bobby Flay’s Black Beans and Rice

  • 2 c. white rice
  • 2 cans of plain black beans w/ liquid or 3 c. dry beans that have soaked overnight
  • 4 c. water
  • 1-2 tbs. garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. salt
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • olive oil

(Makes 4 servings)


NOTE: These are meant to be cooked at the same time.

Place chopped garlic and salt into a mortar and pestle and grind into a paste.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can pile up garlic on a cutting board, pour salt on top and smash with the back of a spoon.  Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t reach a consistent paste, we just want it all mixed together evenly.  Divide paste into two equal portions.  (The amounts of garlic and salt can be adjusted to taste.  I don’t suggest any less than the minimum in the ingredients of the dish will be bland)

Get a large pot for the rice and a medium saucepan for the beans.  Drizzle approx. 1 Tbs. of olive oil in each over high heat.  When the oil is hot place a portion of the garlic paste into each pot and mix until garlic starts to brown.  Add rice into large pot and beans into a saucepan.  Stir each to mix paste in.  Add the bay leaf to the beans, reduce heat to med-low and cover.  After stirring the rice for a minute or two in the pot to coat with oil add the water.  Stir again, reduce heat to med,  cover pot but leave a small opening to prevent boil over.

Cooking times will vary with the rice so keep an eye out for it.  Mine usually takes around 20 minutes.  If you can’t see the liquid through the rice anymore try this trick:  Lick your finger and quickly touch the bottom of the pot (don’t leave it there).  Your listening for a sizzle.  If it sizzles, that means the water is gone and your rice should be ready.  For some scientific reason, it won’t sizzle if there’s still water in the pot.  My rice comes out perfect every time with this trick. Once the rice is done remove from heat and fluff with a fork or serving spoon.  Remove the bay leaves from the beans and serve!

TIP: To add a little spice, put a little cayenne pepper into the bean pot or on individual servings.

Recipes adapted from American Bean

Other great recipes for beans

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on June 15th, 2011