This post may include affiliate links; for details, see our disclosure policy.

This Spanish rice and beans brings big flavor to humble ingredients! It’s a tasty vegan and vegetarian main dish or easy side dish.

Spanish rice and beans
Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!

Here’s a dish made with humble ingredients yet big flavor: Spanish rice and beans! Alex and I recently shared a Spanish rice recipe as part of our Ultimate Vegan Burrito, and it so tasty we wanted to find another way to serve it. Enter: rice and beans! It’s a pantry-staple sort of meal that works as a healthy vegan and vegetarian dinner or a hearty side. Flavored with salsa and adobo sauce, the rice is filled with tangy roasted red peppers, beans, and herby cilantro. Alex and I took one bite, and then couldn’t stop eating it. Here’s more about it, and how to make it!

Looking for something more traditional? Try our Black Beans and Rice or Cuban Black Beans Recipe. (Or change it up and go for Fried Rice (Takeout Style!).)

Spanish rice and beans: more of a concept than a recipe!

Spanish rice is actually Mexican dish, sometimes called Mexican rice or arroz rojo (“red rice” in Spanish). It gets its red color from cooking it with tomatoes. Here’s our take on this popular Mexican-style side dish, which pairs perfectly with tacos and enchiladas. It’s fantastic in this Vegan Burrito, or alongside these Zesty Red Enchiladas.

Add beans, and you’ve got Spanish rice and beans! Interestingly, there’s not really a “recipe standard” for it, like there is for Spanish rice. So, you can use any sort of bean you’d like! Adding that plant-based protein turns this classic side dish into a healthy vegetarian and vegan dinner.

Mexican rice

Ingredients in Spanish rice and beans

There are lots of variations on how to make Spanish rice. Like coleslaw or potato salad, everyone has their own spin on this side dish. And as I mentioned above, there’s even more variation on the concept when you add beans to it. Here’s what is in this recipe:

  • White onion
  • Medium or long grain white rice
  • Salsa
  • Adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
  • Olive oil, vegetable broth, and kosher salt
  • Kidney beans, pinto beans or black beans
  • Roasted red peppers (from a jar)
  • Fresh cilantro

Use any beans you like!

This Spanish rice and beans recipe is more of a concept than a recipe, so remember: you can use whatever beans you’d like! Alex and I used kidney beans here since that’s a popular variation on the recipe, but you can use pinto beans or black beans as well.

Using kidney beans gave it a bit of a vibe of a sort of vegetarian paella! But using black beans gives it more of a straightforward Mexican vibe. You could also try our Black Beans and Rice recipe if you’d like to use black beans.

Spanish rice and beans

Find roasted red peppers in a jar

The great thing about using roasted red peppers in a jar is that they’re pantry friendly! Alex and I wanted this recipe to be an easy pantry meal using staples you can have on hand, so we used red peppers in a jar instead of fresh bell peppers. They’re easy to find at your local grocery, and are usually near the canned goods next to the olives and jarred artichokes.

Because the peppers are roasted, their flavor is beautifully tangy. Alex and I loved the zing they added to this Spanish rice and beans, so we’d recommend finding a few jars for your pantry and using one for this recipe. You’ll only use about 1 to 2 peppers, so you can refrigerate the rest for using later! An opened jar of roasted red peppers lasts about 1 month in the refrigerator.

More recipes with roasted red peppers: Greek Orzo Salad and Romesco Gnocchi Sauce.

Spanish rice and beans

What to know about adobo sauce

This Spanish rice and beans recipe also stars adobo sauce: a tomato-chili sauce that brings savory, smoky flavor to Mexican dishes. It’s optional in this recipe, but we highly recommend it. It uses only 1 teaspoon, so it doesn’t add heat! Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • Chipotles in adobo sauce are available in the Mexican food section in most groceries. The can has both chipotle chiles (smoked and dried jalapeños that are rehydrated) and adobo sauce: a purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.
  • This recipe calls for adobo sauce only, not the peppers! Pull out just 1 teaspoon sauce from the can and leave the peppers inside. Each brand of can has different amounts of adobo sauce, so you’ll have to experiment and find your favorite.
  • Refrigerate or freeze the rest for other recipes. You can refrigerate the can for a few weeks, or place the contents in a sealed container and freeze for a few months.

More recipes with adobo sauce: Enchilada SauceVegetarian Tortilla SoupQuinoa Chili, and Refried Bean Tacos.

Instant Pot Spanish rice

Instant Pot variation

If you have a pressure cooker, you can also make this Spanish rice and beans with it! Go to Instant Pot Spanish Rice to make the rice, then stir in the beans, roasted red peppers, and fresh cilantro at the end. The advantage to using an Instant Pot is that it makes it hands off! (The recipe will take about the same amount of time, so for this one it’s not a huge time saver.)

This Spanish rice and beans recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Save this recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Spanish rice and beans

Spanish Rice and Beans

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This Spanish rice and beans brings big flavor to humble ingredients! It’s a tasty vegan and vegetarian main dish or easy side dish.


  • 1/2 medium white onion (1 cup finely diced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups medium or long grain white rice
  • 1 ½ cups salsa
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers*
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 15-ounce can beans (kidney, pinto, or black beans), drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup chopped roasted red peppers from a jar
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro


  1. Finely dice the onion.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salsa, adobo sauce, broth, and kosher salt.
  3. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes until all the liquid is cooked out. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes to steam.
  4. Fluff with a fork. Stir in the beans (drained and rinsed), chopped roasted red peppers and cilantro. Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Kathy Crosby says:

    I’ve been using cauliflower rice for my recipes. I’m not sure whether it would work for this or not. Your opinion?

  2. Tessa says:

    Can this be cooked with long grain brown rice instead of white? Thanks!!

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      We haven’t tried this one with brown rice, so sorry! It would likely need more liquid and more time to cook but we have no not tested it yet. Thank you for the idea!