Easy Pantry Rice & Beans

Have a bunch of pantry items, but don’t know what to cook with it? Tired of pasta and red sauce? When I am feeling particularly lazy, I always go for a simple rice and beans dish. It’s easy enough where I can put some things onto cook – and leave it be for the afternoon or evening, and then add whatever spices or seasoning I am feeling for that week. This cheap & easy recipe requires almost zero ingredients that cannot be sourced from the freezer or the pantry – perfect for the current quarantine situation. Not only is it super tasty and one of my favorites – but it’s got all of the food groups you need for a perfect plant-based meal – legumes/beans for protein, rice for starch & greens (and my favorite minimum of 3 colors plant-based rule!). I will truly NEVER get sick of this yummy meal – and if I do? I will often just put it in a tortilla and add some Mexican spices.

***Notes: This recipe uses a method for baking rice in the oven, and instant pot beans. If you do not have an instant pot, and you are using dried beans – you will have to soak and cook the beans for much longer. If you are using canned beans, simply rinse & drain the beans before storing in the refrigerator, and heat the beans on the stove top before serving. If you are not baking your rice, cook on the stove, the rice cooker or the instant pot!!

Here are some helpful recipes for cooking your beans:

Method 1: Instant pot – See below :).

Method 2: Dry beans stove top: I like this method and have had good results – but I like to skip the salt addition. Totally up to you! – This recipe is also for 5 cups of beans and I usually only cook for 1-2 people at a time so I cook 2-4 cups of beans. 5 cups is a LOT of beans!!


-2 Cans no sodium diced tomatoes

-2 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth

-2 Cups (1 lb) Pinto Beans or other Dried Beans (Can also use canned!)

-2 Cups Basmati Rice

-1 tsp Dried Parsley

-1 tsp Dried Basil

-1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-1 tsp Dried Oregano

-1 tsp Dried Thyme

-1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

-What I like to add as optional: 1/2 chopped white onion, 1/2 lemon, 1 splash of balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves of chopped garlic & if I have some fresh greens or frozen greens I will add that.

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Cook the Beans (Instant Pot Directions): If you pre-soak the beans for 4-6 hours from their dried state, put them in the instant pot with 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water on high pressure for 15 minutes. If you do not pre-soak the beans, put them in for 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the Rice (Dutch Oven / Pyrex for Oven):Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and put 2.5 cups of water in. Once the water is boiling, add your rinsed 2 cups of rice, cover and let bake from 18-25 minutes – keep an eye on it and wait until all of the water is gone, and your rice is fluffy.
  3. Cook the Tomatoes:If using onion and garlic, sautée in a pan with spices and a bit of water until translucent and fragrant. Drain the crushed tomatoes, and add with other spices and other flavors you may like!
  4. To serve: grab a spoonful of rice, a spoonful of beans, some tomatoes, and a steamed or fresh bed of greens and season with your choice of seasonings! (I like the beans and rice flavor plain with the tomatoes, but some add salt and pepper or extra siracha etc.) If I am meal prepping, I will put these portions in separate tupperwares in the refrigerator for the week.

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