Costa Rican Rice and Beans | Lunch

This is a dish I enjoyed many times while living in Costa Rica. I also attempted to make it many times at home as well, but without two key - unhealthy - ingredients: oil and Salsa Lizano sauce which contains MSG. Here is my take on a healthier version of Costa Rican rice and beans. This is generally a very seasoned and salty dish as the rice and beans are seasoned separately, so use salt to your desired preference.


1 large onion, diced

3 tsp. / 45 ml. garlic, minced

2 red bell peppers, deseeded and diced

Black bean juice – reserved or from can

4 cups / 948 g cooked black beans (two 15 oz. / 425 g. cans)

1 cup cilantro, chopped (1 bunch)

2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Seasoning or 1 vegetable bouillon cube

5 Tbsp. seasoned tamarind sauce *see below or 4-5 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp. fresh ground pepper *optional

½ tsp. Herbamare or salt *optional

4 cups cooked white rice (cold and refrigerated)


1. In a large wok, sauté onion, garlic and peppers in black bean juice (reserved or from can) for 6-8 minutes until slightly soft. Use vegetable broth if it dries up or add additional black bean juice.

2. Add black beans and seasonings and cook for another 5-6 minutes until the peppers are cooked to your liking. Be careful not to stir too roughly and break the beans.

3. Add the cold rice and gently stir to cover with black bean juice and spices. Do not over stir or you will break the ends of the rice and it will become mushy and sticky. Make sure there’s just enough liquid to cook it, Too much will make it too wet, and too little and the rice will burn at the bottom.

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