When you’re short on time and need a simple yet healthy meal, black beans and yellow rice is one of your best options. Not only is this dish nutritious, providing a good amount of fiber and protein, it’s also one of the cheapest healthy meals that you can make. Start keeping some canned beans and brown rice as part of your pantry staples so that you can make this easy meal anytime.

Turmeric is used to make the brown rice a bright yellow color. When you are preparing to cook the rice add 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric to the water.


turmeric yellow rice


In addition to producing a vibrant yellow color, cooking with turmeric has health benefits. Curcumin, which is a chemical component in turmeric, has been found to have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh turmeric is actually an orange colored root, similar in shape to ginger root. However, ground turmeric powder is easier to use when making yellow rice.


yellow rice


Rice and beans alone can be pretty bland, so seasoning is the key to making this dish delicious. The garlic, cumin, paprika, and oregano used to season the black beans are inspired by the seasoning used to make traditional Cuban black beans. You can use garlic powder in place of fresh garlic if needed; use 1 tablespoon of garlic powder to replace the 3 cloves of minced garlic. This dish is one example of why you really want to make an effort to keep your pantry stocked with basic herbs and spices so that you can turn a simple meal like beans and rice into a very flavorful dish.


black bean ingredients


When you cook the beans, add 1/4 cup of water to create a little bit of a sauce. This helps to coat the beans with the spice and onion mixture. It also helps to prevent the beans from becoming too dry. The water cooks off pretty quickly however, so the finished beans do not have any excess liquid.


spiced black beans


To finish the dish, it’s a good idea to squeeze some fresh lime juice over it. In addition to providing flavor from the lime juice itself, the acidity in the limes works to brighten all the other flavors in the dish. You can also add some pico de gallo or avocado.


yellow rice and black beans


This dish makes good leftovers. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Consider making it as part of your weekly meal prep to eat for work lunches or a make-ahead dinner.


More Vegetarian Meals to Try

Healthy Quinoa Fried Rice Bowl

Vegetable Farro Skillet with Tahini Sauce

Farro with Roasted Vegetables

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Greek Quinoa Salad

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5 from 1 vote

Black Beans and Yellow Rice

This black beans and yellow rice dish makes a simple and nutritious work lunch or easy dinner. Turmeric is used to make the bright yellow rice, while cumin, paprika, garlic, and oregano are used to season the beans. 
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beans, gluten-free, rice, vegan
Servings: 4
Author: Gabriella @ Nutritious Minimalist


  • 1 cup dried brown rice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lime, quartered


  • Cook rice according to package directions. Add the turmeric to the water that you cook the rice in before you cook it. This is what makes the rice yellow.
  • While the rice cooks, heat up the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute 5-7 minutes until the onions are softened and translucent.
  • Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt. Cook 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add the black beans and 1/4 cup water and stir to combine the beans with the onion mixture. Cook 5 minutes. 
  • Squeeze some fresh lime juice over each serving.
  • (Optional) Serve with chopped avocado or pico de gallo. 

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