Dinner Tonight: West Indian Rice and Beans

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.

Dinner Tonight: West Indian Rice and Beans

About This Recipe

This recipe appears in: This Week In Recipes


  • 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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