Colombian-style Beans and Rice Recipe

Colombian style beans and rice, bandeja paisa, with aji (Colombian style salsa) and an avocado wedge.
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

At its core, a meal of frijoles needs nothing more than cooked seasoned red beans and rice, but from there it can grow in many directions. The greatest bean dinner is a fast-worthy plate called the bandeja paisa, and it reminds me of a full British breakfast in its makeup and extensive application of fried foods. Beans, rice, arepas, fried green or black plantains, avocado, a thin slice of grilled steak, deep fried pork rinds (known as chicharrones), a chorizo or two, a side of ají to sauce everything up, and a fried egg to top it off.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 24 hrs
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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  • 1 pound large dried red beans (kidney beans work fine)

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 pound pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 4 cups cooked white rice

To Serve (all optional):


  1. Place beans in a large bowl and add 2 tablespoons salt. Cover with cold water by 6 inches and allow to sit at room temperature overnight. If using a pressure cooker, this step can be skipped.

  2. The next day, drain beans and set aside. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or pressure cooker over high heat until shimmering. Add pork belly and cook, stirring occasionally, until well-browned and crisped on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Add tomatoes and onions and cook, stirring frequently until softened, about 3 minutes.

  3. Add beans, sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover with water by 2 to 3 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary, until beans are completely softened and liquid is thickened but still soupy, about 3 hours. (If using a pressure cooker, cook on high pressure until beans are tender, about 45 minutes).

  4. Season beans to taste with more salt and sugar and serve with cooked rice, avocado, plantains, fried eggs, steak, and ají as desired.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
427 Calories
10g Fat
62g Carbs
22g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 427
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 565mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 22%
Dietary Fiber 10g 34%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 22g
Vitamin C 9mg 45%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 990mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)