Rice and beans

Rice and beans

Rice and brown beans, as served in a hotel in the southeast Brazilian countryside. The dish may be accompanied by meat, bread, eggs, vegetables, etc.

Beans and rice are a staple food in many cultures around the world. It provides several important nutrients, and is widely available.

Known As

Enchiladas, with Mexican rice and beans

Rice and beans is referred to as arroz y habas, arroz con habichuelas, arroz con frijoles or similar in Spanish, arroz e feijão, arroz com feijão or feijão com arroz, in Portuguese, diri ak pwa in Haitian Creole, Avas kon arroz or Avikas kon arroz in Judaeo-Spanish.


Kidney beans and rice

The dish usually consists of white or brown rice accompanied by brown, red or black, dry beans (typically Phaseolus vulgaris or Vigna unguiculata) and seasoned in various ways. Different regions have different preferences. In Brazil, for example, black beans are more popular in Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, while in most other parts of the country these are mostly only used in feijoadas. The New Orleans specialty known as "red beans and rice" is often accompanied by a side of smoked sausage or a fried pork chop.

In many areas, rice and beans are often served side by side rather than mixed. Either way, they may be considered a meal, frequently with a topping of meat or chicken. Meat or other ingredients are sometimes placed atop rice and beans or (less often) mixed into it.


The Americas

While beans are native to the Americas, rice is not. Rice was introduced to the Caribbean and South America by European colonizers at an early date with Spanish colonizers introducing Asian rice to Mexico in the 1520s at Veracruz and the Portuguese and their African slaves introducing it at about the same time to Colonial Brazil. More recent scholarship suggests that African slaves played a more active role in the establishment of rice in the New World, and that African rice was an important crop from an early period.[1] In either case, varieties of rice and bean dishes were a staple dish among the peoples of West Africa, and they remained a staple among their descendants subjected to slavery in the Spanish New World colonies and elsewhere in the Americas.[2]


In Israel variation of the dish was developed by Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain to Jerusalem, the dish is known in Hebrew as Orez Shu'it and it is a staple of the local cuisine of Jerusalem today.

Nutritional significance

The dish is very nutritious. Rice is rich in starch, an excellent source of energy. Rice also has iron, vitamin B and protein. Beans also contain a good amount of iron and an even greater amount of protein than rice.[3] Together they make up a complete protein,[4] which provides each of the amino acids the body cannot make for itself.

In addition, rice and beans are common and affordable ingredients, often available in difficult economic times.


In Brazil, rice and beans are commonly eaten as everyday lunch, along with a different variety of meats and vegetables. It is also common to prepare dinner using the lunch leftovers. Brazil is the world's third largest producer of dry beans and American leader in rice consumption.

See also


  1. ^ by Judith A. CarneyBlack Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas
  2. ^
  3. ^ http://www.npr.org
  4. ^


  • Embrapa, Origem e História do Arroz and Origem e História do Feijão (Portuguese)
  • Arroz e Feijão: Uma dupla infalível, Camaquã Alimentos (Portuguese)

External links

  • Embrapa - Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (English)