Dinner Tonight: West Indian Rice and Beans

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Dinner Tonight: West Indian Rice and Beans
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Staples like beans and rice are staples for a reason. Whether Cajun-style red beans and rice, arroz con frijoles negro from Mexico, or gallo pinto from Central America, sometimes two foods just go together. Beans and rice as a dish are not only delicious and nutritious but also economical. I've gotten into the habit now of cooking a big pot of beans every weekend, which make their way into breakfast, lunch, and dinner all week, most often paired with rice.

So I was quite excited to stumble on this new-to-me variation of the pair, hailing from Caribbean/West Indian cuisine. Rather than cooked separately, as I usually go about it, the rice and beans simmer together along with coconut milk and spices. The creaminess of the coconut milk gives the dish a thick, risotto-like consistency, and it's also a big help if you're starting from canned beans, since it makes up for the lack of bean cooking liquor to keep everything saucy.


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15-ounce) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 jalapeƱo, deseeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup medium-grain white rice
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions


  1. 1.

    In a medium or large saucepan, combine everything but the rice and green onion and bring to a boil. Stir on rice, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until the rice is almost tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Stir in most of the green onions, reserving some for garnish. Continue cooking until the rice is completely tender. Serve with remaining green onions as garnish.

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