Portuguese Beans and Rice is more than your usual rice side dish. A favorite among locals, arroz de feijão is creamy and nutty in every spoonful. Taste and judge for yourself!
Like the rest of traditional Portuguese rice dishes, arroz de feijão combines rice with an ingredient you probably already have in your kitchen.
In this case, it’s beans — black or red; it’s up to you.
Similar to Portuguese tomato rice, the result is a side dish that you might end up eating on its own.
Creamy, earthy, and nutty — deliciously filling in every serving.
FOR MORE EASY PORTUGUESE RECIPES, CHECK OUT THESE POSTS!
- Beans – I typically use dried red beans when making arroz de feijão, so I start with the preparation the night before.
- Olive oil – extra virgin olive oil, if possible, especially for drizzling when serving your rice and beans.
- Garlic – minced, grated, or finely chopped.
- Onion – finely chopped as well.
- Bay leaf – dried bay leaf is excellent for cooking the beans.
- Salt and ground black pepper – just use your favorite brand for seasoning.
- Rice – to keep it traditional, I generally use carolino rice for preparing arroz de feijão. You can always use your favorite type of rice or see the ‘recipe variation section‘ for my suggestions.
Start making Portuguese beans and rice by soaking the dried beans in cold water.
Let it sit for eight to twelve hours.
Rinse the beans and combine them with about four cups of water in a saucepan.
Add a pinch of salt and a piece of bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until the beans are cooked — scoop and remove any scum floating.
Drain the water from the beans, but do not throw the water away.
Set the beans aside and keep the cooking liquid hot.
Use a medium to large pan and heat three tablespoons of oil.
Once the oil is ready, saute garlic and chopped onion.
Cook until the onion softens.
Mix and cook for two to three minutes — keep an eye on the heat and adjust accordingly to ensure you don’t burn the onion or rice.
Pour about three and a half cups of the hot liquid from cooking the beans earlier.
Simmer for twelve to fifteen minutes, and season with salt and pepper.
Add the drained beans and mix gently.
Continue simmering until the rice is fully cooked — tasting and adjusting the seasoning in the process.
Transfer your beans and rice into plates.
Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired.
- Remember to chop the onion finely. The aim is for the onion bits to disappear — like when making a traditional risotto.
- Do not hesitate to add more liquid if you think your arroz de feijão is getting too dry.
Remember that it is a ‘saucy rice,’ so it should move (i.e., flow) when you transfer it from the pan to the serving plates.
If you want it to be almost as creamy, arborio rice is an excellent substitute.
But if you want it to absorb less water and keep its form longer, then basmati rice is perfect.
Note that these are just my suggestions; feel free to experiment with your favorite type of rice. 🙂
- Canned beans. When you’re out of time, canned beans will also work. Remember to throw away the liquid in the can and rinse the beans before adding them to the pan.
- Stock. It’s especially helpful if you are using canned beans. The stock will help elevate the flavor compared to plain water.
What to serve with rice and beans from Portugal?
Any grilled meat is a great match.
But for a heavenly pairing, serve it with grilled strips of pork belly. Absolutely delicious combo!
Are you convinced yet? Try this authentic beans and rice this weekend, and let me know! 🙂
OR GET MORE IDEAS IN THIS LIST OF RICE DISHES FROM AROUND THE WORLD!
FOR MORE EUROPEAN DISHES, CHECK OUT THESE INTERNATIONAL RECIPES BY COUNTRY!
Portuguese Beans and Rice Recipe (Arroz de Feijão)
- 1 cup dried beans, soaked in water for 8 to 12 hours (see 'recipe variation section' in the post for using canned ones)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup rice
- 1 piece dried bay leaf
- 4 cups water (for cooking the beans and the rice)
- salt and pepper, to season
- Rinse the beans and transfer them into a medium-sized saucepan.
- Add 4 cups of water, a pinch of salt, and a bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil and simmer until the beans are cooked — remove any floating sum in the process.
- Separate the cooked beans from the liquid by draining the beans — DO NOT throw the cooking liquid, and make sure you keep it hot.
- Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium or large saucepan and heat it over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is ready, add garlic and onion and cook until the onion softens.
- Add rice, mix, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour 3 & 1/2 cups of the hot cooking liquid and let it simmer for about 12 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked beans.
- Mix and continue simmering until the rice is fully cooked — tasting and adjusting the seasoning as well.
- Transfer your Portuguese beans and rice into serving plates.
- Drizzle with olive oil, if preferred — and enjoy!
- Cook’s Tip #1: Feel free to add more liquid if you think your beans and rice need it — remember that it should be ‘soupy,’ not ‘lumpy.’
- Cook’s Tip #2: See the recipe variation section above for substitutions.