Cuban black beans and rice is a simple vegan recipe that’s full of flavor and cheap to make. Dry beans are simmered until tender before adding a tasty spiced sofrito, vinegar and sugar for a delicious sweet and sour note. Serve with rice for a hearty plant-based meal!
These Cuban black beans are made the right way, which is to say from scratch. If you think cooking dried beans is a hassle you’re partly correct. You do need to plan ahead and not want to eat within the next 30 minutes.
½ pound (225 grams) dried black beans, soaked overnight or all day
1 litre (4 ¼ cups) water
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ green pepper, finely diced, divided
½ medium onion, finely diced, divided
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
½ tablespoon sugar
Long-grain rice, to serve
Drain and rinse the soaked beans and put them in a pot along with the water, half the diced green pepper, ¼ of the diced onion, 2 cloves of the minced garlic and the bay leaf.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot with the lid. Simmer for 45 minutes.
After about 35 minutes start preparing the sofrito. In a pan heat the oil over medium heat and add the remaining onion. Sautee until tender then add the remaining green pepper. When the green pepper is tender add the remaining garlic and sautee for about a minute more or until the garlic is cooked. Add the cumin, oregano and paprika and fry, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds or until the spices are fragrant.
Add this sofrito to the beans along with the salt, cover and simmer for 30 more minutes.
You can start boiling water to cook the rice at this point.
Finally, add the vinegar and sugar to the beans and simmer for 15 more minutes. If the beans seem to have a lot of water you can simmer them uncovered this time, otherwise cover them again. You can optionally transfer a portion of the beans to a blender and stir the blended beans back into the pot (I didn’t).
Taste and add salt as necessary (I added an additional ½ teaspoon). Serve the rice into bowls with the black beans on top.