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Savory & Satisfying Rice and Beans

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Today's Tasty Tuesday addresses the warm and generous people of Puerto Rico and their dire need for help.

People with limited food budgets and those who have lived in earthquake, tornado, flood, or high-altitude, potentially snowed-in areas for any length of time, frequently keep enough pinto or other beans and rice in their pantries to feed their own family and a few neighbors for a week or more.

Unfortunately, Maria-destroyed, Puerto Rican larders are now completely empty, or soon to be, and these people desperately need our help.

Our favorite Puerto Rican rice and bean recipe is called Habichuelas Guisadas. These savory nutrient-dense canned pinto beans are simmered in a tomato and sofrito-based broth with potatoes and olives or capers. When served with rice, they are intensely satisfying, and the combination forms a complete protein. 

The ingredients in this nutrient-dense recipe are inexpensive with a multi year shelf life. This is also a family favorite, flavorful, last- minute dinner, right out of the pantry when no one has had time to grocery shop.  

Ingredients for four servings

1 tablespoon oil

2 heaping tablespoons sofrito* see note below about making sofrito

8 ounces canned tomato sauce

2 cans (15-16 ounces) kidney, red or pink beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water

1 packet ham flavor, optional (We use Goya Jamón

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon coriander

ground black pepper, to taste

​green pimento-stuffed olives or large capers

1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and diced into large chunks

fresh cilantro, if available, or to taste


In a medium stovetop casserole, sauté sofrito in oil two to three- minutes over medium heat.

Add tomato sauce, beans, water, and ham packet. Season with pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and coriander, and stir. Taste and adjust spices according to your liking. Broth should be slightly salty, since the potatoes will absorb much of the flavor.

Add potatoes and olives or large capers and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 30 minutes or so, depending on their size. Serve over hot rice.

Nutritional value

Canned pinto beans are a great value, since they are rich in fiber and lean protein, as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, thiamine, B6, and folate. 

*Sofrito is the aromatic holy trinity flavor base for most Puerto Rican dishes. It can be added to beans, rice, soups, and stews. It always includes finely chopped onions, peppers, cilantro, and garlic, sauteed until it forms a paste. It can also be store bought, but we always prefer making it from scratch, if possible. However, keeping a small jar in the refrigerator is a good idea for flavoring last-minute meals. 

Ellen Troyer with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

Biosyntrx stepped up to the plate with support for hurricane victims in Texas and Florida, and we are asking our readers to help us support the relief agency of your choice or the American Red Cross in Puerto Rico.