Easy Black Beans and Rice Recipe with Cilantro


A goal here is to have several meatless meals during the week. One that fits the bill and is flavorful and a hit is black beans and rice with cilantro. It’s a pretty fast meal I can pull together quickly and we usually have everything on hand. I’ve even started saving some bell peppers when I buy them and dicing up extra in the freezer.

black beans and rice with cilantro

I like to make ours with brown rice. It comes out perfectly in the instant pot while I’m getting everything else ready. So it’s really a two pot/pan/container dish. (Well, I guess not counting the cilantro and avocado).

For the recipe you’ll need to cook some brown rice, and then have a little cooking oil, some onion (I buy the frozen diced onion so I don’t have to deal with it), a bell pepper (pick the color…your choice!), brown sugar, garlic powder (or the real deal if that’s your thing), cumin, black pepper, and cooked black beans (either canned or pre-cooked in your instant pot).

Black Beans simmering on stove

The oil gets heated in a pan over medium heat. Then the onion and bell pepper are added and cooked for a couple minutes until they are tender. Then, you stir in the brown sugar, garlic powder (or minced garlic), cumin and black pepper. This starts to smell a little interesting. But, stick with it as you are only cooking it for about a minute or two. Then you will add the beans and 1 cup of water. Bring this to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to simmer, and partially cover it for about 30 minutes until it starts to thicken. Take it off the heat and add the vinegar. Yes, vinegar. It’s not much and you can tell the difference when you don’t add it.

Serve the beans over the rice (or next to it if your kids don’t like touching food). Sprinkle some cilantro over the top and a couple of slices of avocado and tomato to the side if you enjoy those.

Black Beans and Rice

If you are lucky, everybody will eat it up and you’ll still have a little bit of leftovers for lunch the next day. I find the flavors intensify after it sits in the refrigerator overnight.

Black Beans and Rice

Black Beans and Rice with Cilantro

Black beans and rice with cilantro

A quick, easy and tasty vegetarian dish perfect for a meatless meal

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 cups brown rice, prepared
  • 1 1/2 T oil
  • 1 T diced onion
  • 1 bell pepper (your choice of color), finely chopped
  • 3/4 t brown sugar
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 3/4 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 3 cans black beans, 15oz
  • 1 1/2 t white vinegar


  1. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and bell pepper to pan, cook for about 5 minutes until tender.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar, garlic powder, ground cumin and black pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add 1 cup of water and 3 cans of beans and bring to boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes until thickened. Stir occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and add vinegar.
  7. Serve over rice and top with cilantro. Serve with a side of avocado and tomatoes. 

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1 grams

Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. This looks sooooo good. I rarely use cilantro, so I’d likely skip it, but the rest? YUM.

    1. I’ll let it slide:) We love it here, but I know how it’s like soap for some people. Just add extra avocado:)

  2. Grandma Pat says:

    This looks yummy. interesting adding the vinegar. Joe loves beans and rice

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