Spanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black Beans

Spanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black Beans

Even those of us who are avid cooks sometimes desire a meal without fuss, but one that is nourshing and satisfying all the same. This colorful and hearty dish is a vegetarian twist on paella. Although there's neither meat nor seafood, the common component of paella, it's very much inspired by traditional paellas with short grain rice, vegetables and beans seasoned with saffron — from which the dish gets its reddish and glowing color — and spices, all cooked in a single large skillet, from which paella, "frying pan" in Valencian, gets its name. A generous helping of black olives stirred in at the end adds a final twist of robust yet complimentary flavor.

Best of all, this saffron and black bean rice is easy to put together and takes only 40 minutes to cook if you already have cooked or canned beans on hand, and it's filling and nourishing enough to serve as a dinner on its own.

Spanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black BeansSpanish-Style Saffron Rice with Black Beans
Recipe by
Cuisine: Spanish
Published on April 29, 2021

Saffron colored Spanish style rice with black beans, vegetables, olives and spices

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup dried black beans (1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 14 oz can)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup green beans, halved or quartered
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • Rinse the beans and soak in enough water to cover for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan. Cover with fresh water and bring a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

  • In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable stock or water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the saffron.

  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and brown rice. Stir for another few minutes to coat the rice with the spices.

  • Pour in the vegetable stock or water with the saffron, and stir in the cooked beans, green beans, red pepper, and jalapeño. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

  • Stir in the salt, black pepper, and olives, and serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Black Beans Saffron Infused Brown Rice

Other one-pan meals you may enjoy:
Black Bean and Quinoa Mexican-Style Chipotle Vegetarian Chili
Black Bean Chili With Mushrooms and Toasted Spices
Mung Dal Kitcheree
Bisi Bele Bhath (Rice with Lentils and Spices)

Audio Accompaniment: Petricor - Ludovico Einaudi and Daniel Hope

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