These Easy Mexican Pinto Beans and Rice are the perfect sides for your Mexican meal. The mexican rice has a secret ingredient that makes it taste like it came from a restaurant, and the pinto beans are ready in just 10 minutes.
Who loves Mexican food? I sure do. We have a Mexican restaurant in town that we’ve been going to for more than 10 years. The girls love it there too, but have you ever tried to eat out with three kids under the age of 4? If you have you can understand why we don’t do it that often, it’s not exactly a relaxing experience. Savor my food? More like scarf it down while the baby (who refused her high chair) sits on my lap and scoops up my food with her hands, getting some into her mouth and some all over my clothes. Because who needs clean clothes, and who needs a kids meal when mom’s food looks so enticing? It’s a good thing she’s cute!
My daughter Alice is in love with this restaurant’s pinto beans. They call them cantina beans, and she likes them so much that she would be happy to just have beans and nothing else. I decided to try and replicate them at home. Now, I know that you’re supposed to use dried beans, and that they are superior in most ways to canned. I tried it with dried beans and I just couldn’t get it right, the beans turned to mush before the sauce thickened up. I use canned beans for this recipe; it works perfectly every time and it only takes about 10 minutes to make the recipe start to finish. Who can argue with that?
These easy Mexican pinto beans are seasoned with chili powder and simmered in a little chicken stock and tomato sauce. That’s it, super easy but they taste like they’ve been cooking for hours. I top these beans with fresh pico de gallo like they do at our restaurant but that’s totally optional.
I have been experimenting with mexican rice recipes for years. I could never find a recipe that was quite right until one of my fellow twin moms posted her favorite recipe on her blog. I made a few tweaks to suit our taste, and here it is: what I consider to be the best mexican rice recipe. The secret ingredient? Bell pepper slices! They infuse the rice with flavor as it cooks and then the peppers get discarded at the end. Or you can eat them for a snack, that’s what my husband prefers to do. My daughter Cora was patiently waiting for me to finish taking these pictures in hopes of snagging a taste.
My local mom’s group has a program called Helping Hands where we provide meals to other mothers who have just had babies. I love to bring them a taco kit for dinner – these rice and beans, some type of meat, taco shells and tortillas, shredded cheese, olives, salsa, lettuce and sour cream. It’s perfect because it reheats well and everyone gets to create their own tacos so you don’t have to worry about other people’s picky eaters. So now that we’ve got our easy Mexican pinto beans and rice, stay tuned for the next component of my perfect mexican meal: Mexican carnitas.
- For the Rice:
- 1 cup long grain white rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
- 1 and ½ cups of chicken stock or vegetable broth
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup diced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
- For the Beans:
- 1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup pico de gallo for garnish (optional)
- For the Rice:
- Heat the olive oil in a 2 quart pot over medium heat. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated in the oil. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the rice is toasted and lightly browned.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients. I recommend doing this off the heat to avoid splattering.
- Return the pot to the burner, bring the contents to a boil.
- Cover the pot and turn the heat to low; cook for 17 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat and let it stand, covered for 5 minutes. Remove and discard bell peppers. Stir well. Garnish with tomatoes and green onions if desired.
- For the Beans:
- Put all of the ingredients in a pan over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer. Cook for 7-10 minutes until sauce has thickened. Taste and add more salt or chili powder if needed. You can also add a bit more chicken stock if the sauce gets too thick for your liking. Garnish with pico de gallo if desired.
Little Helpers: Let your kids measure the spices and help take apart the bell pepper.