Veracruz-style baked rice and beans

Baking rice is an incredibly easy, no-fuss way to get your grain on the table. If you need help getting at least 50 percent of your grains from whole grain sources, try using brown rice when you can. It takes 15 to 20 minutes longer than white rice to bake, but the rest of your meal can be prepared while this is in the oven. The beans add some lean protein and the salsa adds the punch. There are an infinite number of ways to flavor baked rice – just start with your favorite spices and herbs and go for it.

Inspired by a Yotam Ottolenghi baked rice recipe using a minty salsa, I created this Veracruz-Style version of baked rice and beans.

Servings: 8

Ingredients

Rice and beans:

  • 2 cups long-grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup crushed tomato
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans, no-salt-added
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Salsa:

  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, chopped
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • ¼ cup Nicoise or green olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, cut into slices if possible (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. In a large baking dish, combine the rice, water, tomato, beans, olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes. After removing the rice from the oven, turn on the broiler.
  3. Meanwhile, while the rice bakes, make the salsa by combining the cilantro, oregano, red onion, olives, capers, jalapeños, olive oil, and lime juice in a small bowl.
  4. After removing the rice from oven, fluff it gently with a fork and mix in about half of the salsa. 
  5. Layer the slices of feta cheese on top and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly browned around the edges. 
  6. Top with remaining salsa and serve.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Without feta cheese:

  • Calories: 280
  • Total fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 410 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 47 g
  • Dietary fiber: 5 g
  • Sugars: 2 g
  • Protein: 7 g

With feta cheese:

  • Calories: 320
  • Total fat: 11 g
  • Saturated fat: 3.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 5 mg
  • Sodium: 670 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 47 g
  • Dietary fiber: 5 g
  • Sugars: 2 g
  • Protein: 11 g

Contributor

Benjamin Maring, MD