Protein Packed Bean Rice

This simple but super delicious and nutritious Bean Rice is a staple in any Portuguese household. I cook it every time I feel a bit home sick so I hope you like it too. It comes together in under 40 mins and is perfect as a side dish for a quick weeknight dinner. It’s full of earthy umami flavours and it’s velvety, creamy and comforting. It’s super healthy and protein packed, which is great for a post work out session. It compliments many dishes but I love it with these Vegan Courgette Fritters.


  • 1 Cup of cooked Kidney Beans

  • 1 Red Onion chopped

  • 4 cloves of Garlic

  • 1 tsp of Smoke Paprika

  • 1 tsp of Cumin

  • 1/2 tsp of Chilli Flakes (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp of Tomato Puree

  • 1 fresh Tomato chopped

  • 1 Tbsp of Miso Paste

  • 1/2 cup of Short Grain Brown Rice (see notes in the bottom)

  • 1 cup of the Kidney Beans cooking water (or water)

  • 1/2 cup of filtered water

  • 1/4 cup of freshly cut Coriander or Parsley

  • Freshly cracked Black Pepper to taste.


Step 1 – Chop the Red onions and Garlic. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. We aren’t using oil so add the diced Onions to the pan and cover with a lid to let it sweat for 1 min. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the pan then stir gently to coat with the water. The liquid will help prevent the onions from sticking and provide some moisture for cooking. Cook for 6-8 mins.
Step 2 – Once the onions are cooked add the Garlic and keep stirring for 2 mins until fragrant. Add the Smoked Paprika, Cumin and Chilli Flakes if using. Stir for 1-2 mins then add the Tomato Puree, stir and let it cook for 2 mins.
Step 3 – Now add the chopped Tomato and stir for 1-2 mins to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the Miso Paste and stir to coat.
Step 4 – Add the cooked Beans and rice and stir to coat. Add the water from cooking the beans and filtered water. Let it simmer in a low burner until the rice is cooked, mine took 25 mins.
Step 5 – Try your rice and top with freshly cracked Black Pepper and Salt to taste. Sprinkle with chopped Coriander or Parsley and a few drops of Lemon Juice to balance the flavours.

Step 6 – Serve in a bowl or plate, top with more of the fresh herbs you have on hand and enjoy It. Try it with these Vegan Courgette Fritters.

About the Ingredients

Kidney Beans: You can use canned Beans but for this recipe I really recommend organic dry Kidney Beans that you cook at home. I’m using the liquid of the cooking beans on a ratio of 2/3 of the total liquid required to cook this creamy and velvety rice. You can cook your beans on the stove or an Instant Pot with filtered water only. The liquid from cooking the beans is very important because this will give your rice a deep colour and creamy texture. You can also use other beans but Kidney beans have a rich, earthy, and slightly nutty flavour as well as having a firm and dense texture. They have a tender but slightly chewy consistency that holds up well in this recipe. Avoid more tender and mushy beans. Kidney beans are highly nutritious. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein, dietary fibre, complex carbohydrates, and various vitamins and minerals, including folate, iron, and potassium.

Red Onion: You can substitute by white onion if you wish. I’m using red Onion for two reasons: first it has a vibrant reddish purple flesh, which adds visual appeal to the dish and second because they contain higher levels of certain antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, compared to white onions.

Miso Paste: I’m using Miso Paste here instead Salt but you can omit or substitute for salt. Miso Paste also has a rich umami flavour, which adds a savoury, meaty and broth-like extra dimension.


Short Grain Brown Rice: I’m using short grain brown rice because it is a healthier alternative to white rice since it retains the bran and germ layers, which are packed with nutrients. It is a good source of dietary fibre, providing more fibre than white rice. It also contains minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. Brown or wholegrain rice typically requires a longer cooking time compared to white rice. It can take about 40-50 minutes to cook until tender and be fully cooked. However you can soak the rice beforehand to reduce the cooking time or cook it in an Instant Pot. I soak my rice for 2 hours in warm water and reduce the cooking time to 30 mins. Alternatively you can use Arborio, Risotto or a medium grain white rice in this dish. Avoid long grain Rice like Basmati or Jasmin. Arborio or Risotto rice has a lower starch content compared to short grain rice, which, depending on the cooking method and rice variety, will result in a creamier rather than sticky texture.

Smoked Paprika and Cumin: When using smoked paprika a little goes a long way, as the flavour can be quite potent. The smokiness of smoked paprika complements and enhances the Cumin, Beans and Tomatoes, adding depth and a touch of smoky complexity to this dish.

Coriander or Parsley: I’m using Coriander because it’s my favourite fresh herb but you can use Parsley or any other fresh herb you have on hand. The addition of fresh herbs enhances the overall flavour, adding a bright freshness to this dish.