Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Beans and rice are such simple food, but they were always one of my favorite things growing up. In Florida, Cuban food is a big part of the culture. (I bet you didn't know that the Cuban sandwich was actually invented in Tampa.) My mom used to make something similar to this version on a regular basis -- it's not fancy, but it's so good, with the smokiness of the cumin, the acidity of the vinegar, and the crunch of red onions on top.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Two 15-ounce cans of black beans, one undrained and the other drained and rinsed
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Lots of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium lime, cut into wedges
  • Chopped tomato (optional)
Prepare rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add all but 1/2 cup of the onion and all of the pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and oregano; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the can of undrained beans with their liquid, the drained and rinsed beans, and 1/2 cup of water; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for flavors to blend, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and salt to taste.

To serve, spoon beans over rice; sprinkle with remaining onion and lots of cilantro; squeeze fresh lime juice over top. Serve with some chopped tomato if desired.