Moros y Cristianos

Beans and rice have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. We had beans and rice at almost every meal when we were growing up. They are a delicious and nutritious combination.  And inexpensive.   A win-win-win!

The name for this recipe comes from the time when Spain was split between the Muslim Moors and the Christian Catholics. It wasn’t until 1492, when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand (of Columbus fame) defeated the last stronghold the Moors still held in southern Spain. In the recipe, the Moors represent the black beans and the rice, the Catholics.

Whatever the historical context, I just call them black beans and rice. And to quote Alton Brown, they are definitely “good eats.” And a few fried plantains are always welcome too!

Moros y Cristianos

Moros y Cristianos (a.k.a. Black Beans and Rice)

1 ½ – 2 cups black beans, drained


1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 cups water or broth

1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

1 white onion, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced

2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano, crumbled

Salt, to taste

Prepare the beans and set aside.


In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the rice, stirring frequently until the rice is beginning to brown. Carefully pour in the water or broth and let it come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid has absorbed. Let the rice rest for 10-15 minutes.


In a separate saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion until it just begins to brown. Add the chiles, cumin and oregano.


Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the reserved black beans. Stir to combine.


Mix in the cooked rice gently with the beans and add salt, to taste. Cook for 5-8 minutes until heated through and serve.

NOTE: I used a vegan broth base (see picture below) to make the rice. But water, vegetable broth or chicken broth (which is more traditional) would work with this recipe.  Also, traditionally, the beans are not drained and the bean broth flavors and colors the rice.  This is my version.  I like the contrast between the beans and the rice.


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