Bring a taste of Mexico to your dinner table with this quick and easy one-pan spicy Mexican rice and beans recipe. Made with white rice, tomato passata, kidney beans, sweet corn, red peppers and the delicious flavours of smoked chilli paste, cumin and coriander, this vegan and naturally gluten-free recipe is ready in just 30 minutes.
How can I spice up white rice?
Make spicy Mexican rice and beans!
We eat a silly amount of rice in our house. Ever since I started cycle training, I am hungry, and I need fuel. I need the kind of carbohydrates that get where I want them to get, and fast, and white rice is perfect for that. It’s easy to digest, which means I can scoff a plate of this spicy Mexican rice for lunch and then smash out a 64-mile ride without bonking.
White rice on it’s own can get a bit… boring though, so here’s a recipe for you to spice it up a bit.
Spicy Mexican rice and beans (aka Spanish rice) was something I was introduced to by those ready-made microwaveable rice sachets you can get from the supermarket.
I wish I had an authentic ‘trip to Mexico (or Spain)’ story to share with you, but no, I discovered this deliciousness simply by being lazy. Well, laziness combined with the fact that my car was in the garage and I couldn’t get to the supermarket to buy the Mexican rice I was craving one day a few years ago.
Inspired by this recipe, tweaked over the years, I’ve created my own spicy Mexican rice and beans recipe. I don’t know how authentic my recipe is, given that I’ve never been to Mexico, but I do like the intense flavours of this dish.
The key ingredient for this recipe is the smoked Mexican chilli paste. Feel free to use half the quantity I’ve used if you prefer a more mild dish, but I like the smoky fire the chilli paste imparts. Alternatively, you can cool it down at the table with a dollop of soured cream or yoghurt on the side.
This recipe serves six people as a side or four as a main. Leftovers freeze very well too; simply defrost and reheat in a saucepan with a splash of water. You can jazz it up even more by adding in a couple of handfuls of chopped seasonal greens towards the end of cooking too.
That’s it. That was the pre-recipe blurb no one reads.
(Did you actually read that? If so, let me know in the comments!).
Ingredients you’ll need…
- Long grain white rice – use basmati or your favourite long-grain white rice for this recipe.
- Passata – the rice is cooked in sieved tomatoes, which infuses a delicious tomato flavour into every grain of rice.
- Vegetable stock – stock made from a good quality stock cube or stockpot will do.
- Kidney beans – tinned is fine; simply rinse them off before adding.
- Sweetcorn – again, tinned is fine or use frozen.
- Carrot – here, I prefer fresh as it has a better texture. Dice it into 5 mm pieces.
- Red pepper – adds an extra serving of fresh vegetables.
- Brown onion – this gets cooked with the carrot and some garlic at the start of the recipe for some extra flavour.
- Garlic – because every good savoury recipe has garlic in it, right?
- Cumin & coriander seeds – left whole, these are toasted in the pan along with the onions for maximum flavour.
- Smoked paprika – adds a rich, smokey flavour to the rice dish.
- Smoked Mexican chilli paste – that extra fiery smokiness that makes this dish awesome.
- Tomato puree – for an extra tomato flavour boost.
- Vegetable oil – to saute the carrots, onion and garlic.
- Smoked sea salt – to taste.
- Freshly ground black pepper – to taste.
- Fresh coriander – to garnish.
- Fresh chillies – finely sliced to garnish.
How to make spicy Mexican rice and beans
- Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saute pan and saute the garlic, onions and carrots for two minutes.
- Add the rice, cumin and coriander seeds and saute until the rice begins to toast and turn golden.
- Stir in the smoked Mexican chilli paste, tomato puree, passata and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil.
- Add the beans, red pepper, corn and peas.
- Pop the lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to sit for ten minutes. Fluff and serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves and finely sliced chilli peppers.
Is there a difference between Mexican rice and Spanish rice?
No, not really. Although the terms are used interchangeably as they pretty much contain the same ingredients. However, Spanish rice might include saffron instead of cumin, and the texture of Spanish rice is a bit firmer, while Mexican rice is soft and melts in the mouth.
What’s the best rice for spicy Mexican rice?
Use your favourite long-grain white rice for this recipe, such as basmati, as it cooks quickly and fluffs up at the end without the stickiness you get from shorter grained rice.
What to serve with this spicy Mexican rice and beans recipe
I like to serve my spicy Mexican rice and beans recipe with some grilled meat – our local butchers do some rather fantastic seasoned pork loins that just take a few minutes to cook. Perfect for a simple midweek meal.
What would you serve with your spicy Mexican rice and beans? Let me know in the comments!
Spicy Mexican Rice and Beans Recipe
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 100 grams carrot peeled and diced
- 300 grams basmati rice
- 225 ml passata rustica
- 400 ml vegetable stock (I use a Knorr Stock Pot)
- 1 tsp smoked Mexican chilli paste or 1 tsp chilli powder, to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp whole cumin seeds toasted and ground
- 1 tsp whole coriander seeds toasted and ground
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 400 grams tinned kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 200 grams sweetcorn drained
- 100 grams red pepper diced
- 80 grams frozen peas
- smoked sea salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- fresh coriander leaves to garnish
- fresh red chilli finely sliced, to garnish
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- Heat sunflower oil in a large, heavy-based saute pan over a medium-high heat.
- Saute the garlic, onions and carrots for two minutes.
- Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and rice and saute for five minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice is toasted and golden.
- Add the paprika, tomato puree, smoked Mexican chilli paste, passata and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Add the sweetcorn, red peppers, kidney beans and frozen peas. Stir until combined and then pop the lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
- Remove from the heat and leave to sit for 10 minutes with the lid on, then fluff and serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves and finely sliced red and green chillies.