Cuban-inspired Beans & Rice

This is a fast, easy recipe for those nights when you want something healthy and light, but satisfying. I’ve also added meat to mine, on the nights when I really do need to eat more protein (and accepting it’s a little less healthy this way.) You can easily make it with or without the polish sausage.


  • Olive oil or whatever oil you like.
  • 1 onion. Just use as much onion as you like. I love onions.
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves, minced (or use a garlic press)
  • 1 tsp Cumin (honestly, I just sprinkle it on until the gods say “stop.”)
  • 16 oz Black Beans (canned or otherwise – either is fine)
  • 2 Bay Leaves (and get the good ones – the cheap ones break too easily and you don’t want to eat these.)
  • 1 cup of water or chicken broth
  • optional: Kielbasa (Polish sausage, which I think has the best flavor for this dish.)
  • Rice, cooked like you do.


  • Slice onions and peppers into strips and sauté in the oil until soft (or, to taste).
  • Add garlic toward the end of the time you’re sautéing the other veg so it doesn’t burn.
  • Sprinkle cumin over the veg and sauté another minute.
  • Add water/chicken broth, beans, bay leaves, salt & pepper to taste and let simmer. I usually use a bit less of the water/broth as I don’t like it too soupy, or you can simmer uncovered so it evaporates a bit. Also, make sure the bay leaves are fully submerged to get the full flavor out of them.
  • Optional: Add sliced up sausage to the pot, and cover while simmering to make sure it’s heated through.
  • Before serving, take out the bay leaves so no one eats them.


There are variations on this to try, including adding sliced radishes, or cilantro (noticeably absent from my food blog…) if you’re into that kind of thing.

Pro tip: To make it thicker, remove some of the food from the pot and blend in a food processor so it’s kind of paste-y, and then add it back in. That works for soups and things, too.