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Rice and Beans: Versatility and frugality all in one meal

rice and beans with broccoli

Hey Full of Beaners! Mom & Dad have entrusted me with a guest post spot, so I will talk about something legitimately full of beans. One of our favorite, most versatile, and cheapest meals is rice and beans.

Rice and Beans Means Options

The best part about rice and beans is that neither of the tastes (no matter what type of rice or bean you use) are very strong, which allows you to use a plethora of different flavor combinations to spice things up. If you want to do something a little more classic, you can throw in some salsa and avocado to your brown rice and black beans. Or you can take jasmine rice and chickpeas and add some sautéed bok choy with Sriracha and soy sauce. Rice and beans allow for a nutritious and filling base, but its also like a blank slate for whatever you have on hand to add to it.

They also happen to be very cheap! So, for a broke college student like me, I can turn to rice and beans as opposed to something like ramen and still get something nutritious.

How Mom & Dad Do Rice and Beans

You don’t have to be a broke college student to enjoy the benefits and deliciousness of a good bowl of rice and beans. The day-to-day dinner at my house looks a lot like one of the many recipes on this site, thanks to my mom’s excellent cooking skills. (Are those genetic? I hope so.) However, both of my parents eat rice and beans all the time for lunch. It is rare in our fridge that we don’t a container of at least one of those ingredients.

Dad’s favorite version includes brown rice, broccoli, black beans, avocado chunks, Sriracha, and SimplyNature Roasted Red Pepper salad dressing that I use as well (Side note: this dressing is just about the most addicting thing I’ve ever tasted. Since we found it at our local Aldi I put it on everything). Mom prefers something classic; she likes brown rice, black beans, half a chopped avocado, and a healthy serving of salsa to spice it up.

Rice and Beans - Dad's style
Rice and Beans – Dad’s style

Meals, Broke College Student Style

I won’t lie; rice and beans have saved me many times in between grocery runs when I’m 90% out of food and 100% out of grocery money. And I can’t rely on something basic like a PB&J sandwich because buying not expensive gluten-free bread is like trying to buy not expensive avocados. It’s just not going to happen. However, it’s comforting to know that despite the lack of food and money, I’m still putting something good into my body.

I primarily eat brown rice, which for me is more bang for my buck. First, it’s way more nutritious than white rice. And second, it’s WAY more filling which means you don’t need to eat as much to be as full. My favorite type of bean to add is either black beans or pinto beans, both are excellent choices and I find even if I’m buying organic, it’s still not expensive.

Make Your Own “Chipotle” Meal

Recently, I was craving Chipotle but didn’t feel like shelling out ten dollars for basically a bowl of rice and beans when I could have the same thing at my apartment. But I did have some vegan Soy Chorizo* from Trader Joe’s, and some tortilla chips! So I took my rice and beans, added some Sriracha and red pepper dressing with the soy chorizo and some make-shift guacamole with an avocado and there, I had it. It was my own cheaper version of a burrito bowl! However, when I don’t have the time (or the money to have an avocado) my in-a-rush version is really simple. All I add is that roasted red pepper dressing and some sriracha. I generally keep frozen vegetables on hand, so if I have some, then I will add them too.

* That Soy Chorizo is awesome in a simple pasta sauce, by the way. You’re welcome!

rice and beans in Vieques
Rice and beans on vacation, too!

Rice and Beans is a Meal that Can’t Go Wrong

The point is, rice and beans are the perfect base for anything. Whatever toppings or sauces, or vegetables you have on hand, just throw them in! So next time you’re at the grocery store, buy a big bag of rice and just throw a bunch of beans in your cart. And whatever rice and beans concoction you come up with, post it on Instagram and tag us on it @fullofbeanslife!

And if you find you have more beans than you meant, you can try out our Vegan Baked Beans recipe.  😉

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Basic Rice and Beans

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  • Author: Elena @ Full of Beans
  • Prep Time: 2
  • Cook Time: 2
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Quick Meal
  • Cuisine: vegan
  • Diet: Vegan


One of our favorite, most versatile, and cheapest meals is rice and beans. 

This short and sweet recipe helps you whip up a tasty, inexpensive meal for one that is filled with the nutrition of brown rice and black beans.


Units Scale
  • 3/4 cup beans (black beans are a favorite)
  • 1 cup cooked rice (brown, white, or jasmine)
  • 3 Tbs salsa


  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Corn


  1. Drain and rinse beans (if from cans)
  2. Place in a bowl or dinner plate
  3. Add rice
  4. Microwave for 1.5 – 2 minutes (if rice is fresh and warm heat beans for 1 minute)
  5. Add salsa and optional ingredients
  6. Enjoy!

rice and beans with broccoli


  • Serving Size: 1

Elena is child #2 and currently a student at Fordham University. She is an Psychology major, athlete, writer, and roasted potato wedge addict.

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