Black Bean & Rice Stew

This satisfying, chunky stew is a breeze to make since you can use canned beans and tomatoes. This dish is perfect for cozy dinners or easy, filling lunches for work.

1 cup water (for sautéing)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
8 button or crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder of your choice

3 cups water
3 cups diced tomatoes (see Notes)
2 cups cooked brown rice
3 cups cooked black beans (or 2 15-oz. cans, drained and rinsed)
1 large russet or Yukon Gold potato, with skin on or off, cut into small cubes

2 teaspoons fresh, minced oregano or ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro or basil

1. In a soup pot that is heated to medium-high, add onions and sauté them without water for a minute or two, keeping them moving with a wooden spoon (this draws out the natural sugars). Browning is fine but add a tablespoon of water now and then to avoid sticking and burning. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté in the same manner for one minute.

2. Add to the pot: the celery, mushrooms, and herbs and spices (cumin, coriander, chili powder), and about ¼ cup of water, which will make the mixture more saucy. Sauté for another 2 minutes.

3. Add the 3 cups water, tomatoes, brown rice, beans, and potato. Cook at a low-medium boil for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Add in the fresh herb of your choice, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Optional: garnish with fresh oregano (shown above) or some chopped cilantro or basil.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes (not counting cooking rice)
Makes: 8 cups or 4 bowls


Potatoes: You could also use yams in place of the white potatoes; or half and half. You could even cube some squash instead.

Beans: Any kind of beans could be used in place of the black, such as kidney and pinto, or a mix. See below for suggestions of brands.

Rice: Similarly, any type of rice can be used here. I like short-grain brown. To cook short-grain brown rice, place 1 cup of dry rice into a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Cooked covered for 50 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes still covered before serving.

Tomatoes: See the photo below, as there are many types of packaged tomatoes you can use. Or you can use fresh as well. For this recipe use 2 cans of diced tomatoes, or 1 jar (of the Eden brand), or the whole box of the Pomi brand.

Sauteing alternative: If you want to skip the step of sauteing the onion and other vegetables first, you can also just put everything into your soup pot at once and cook it until the potatoes are tender. I like sauteing because it intensifies the flavors, especially with onion and mushrooms.

Spices and herbs: I don’t favor overly hot and spicy flavors in my meals, but if you do, this would be a good one to add more chili powder and/or other favorite chili or Mexican food herbs/spices to. I like “ancho” chili powder since it’s mild.

These are two brands of pre-cooked black beans that I like, both organic and salt-free. Eden doesn’t use BPA in their cans of beans, a toxic substance typically used as a preservative in aluminum can linings. And the Whole Foods 365 brand has moved to using aseptic square containers for some of their beans to avoid BPA concerns.

Here are four types of tomato products that I use. My favorite is the Eden crushed tomatoes in the jar; it’s organic and salt-free, and has a smooth, sweet taste (I’ve only found this at Whole Foods and healthy groceries). Pomi brand has a similar taste and contains only tomatoes (no salt); it is not organic. The Muir Glen and 365 brands are organic and salt-free, and I like them too, but they have a little of that “from a can” taste to them, but it’s not objectionable. The Pomi and Eden packages contain about twice as much as a can of diced tomatoes. Some are crushed, some are diced, some are chopped; it doesn’t matter which you use in this recipe.

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  1. says

    Excited to try the recipe! May I make a suggestion on the printer-friendly formatting? It automatically prints the beautiful large photos in full color- I only found the “click to delete” option after printing it out. I think I usually find that the printer-friendly option is text-only, which makes it quick & easy. Anyways, as someone who also runs my own business, I know I always appreciate feedback, so just wanted to share in case that’s at all helpful to know. Really appreciate all the great recipes, and I”m off to go make this one! :)

    • says

      Thanks for the feedback :) Hmm, I’m not sure how I would change that to do text only or have the check box be more prominant. I got the plug-in from another food blogger; maybe it was geared toward printing recipes with the photos, which some may want. But yes, not interested in wasting a lot of ink. Thanks!

      • Rachel says

        I like it the way it is!!! You can chose to delete the pics if you want. I save to PDF and use my tablet as a cookbook in the kitchen, so I like the pictures.

  2. says

    I made this tonight and it was/is fantastic! I had some additional things I needed to use and didn’t have some other things so I improvised. I made a batch of the dried organic bean medley from Costco and used those and the organic brown rice and quinoa mixture for the rice. Thanks so much for the recipe(s) and the inspiration. Your site and your recipes are AWESOME!

  3. Cathy says

    I’ve made this twice now with quinoa and a sweet potato. It is delicious and looks so appealing. I’m going to make it again on Saturday to take to a family dinner. Yum! Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous recipes.

  4. says

    Hey Cathy, just tried this stew today and it’s great! Added some sweet corn to the dish also, tasted awesome 😀 Btw, is it okay if i put a link on my blog to your site? I’m coaching people in healthy vegan eating, and want them to have acces to as many recipes as possible :)

    Best Regards from Denmark


  5. Gisela says

    Hi Cathy this looks great haven’t made it yet, looking forward to make it. My question is I’ve been scanning all your recipes and have noticed that you don’t use a lot of Corn unless it is of the cob ( NON GMO ), what may be your reason for this if any? Just curious. Love your site! Been a Vegetarian for 5 years and 2 months ago went Vegan, for the Love of animals and this planet. I’m so thankful to have come across your blog as I was getting bored with my current source. So Thank You Cathy for all your dedication on helping others find their way to good health.

    • says

      Hi Gisela, I’m not purposely trying to avoid corn, I love it. :) When I use it, I do try to get fresh organic, and if I can’t get that I’ll buy frozen since you can get it raw and without salt, etc. (unlike most canned corn, which has salt and is cooked). Even organic corn that is frozen is often shipped from China (listed in small print), and I know people who are uncomfortable with this, for reasons of global warming (transporting the corn all the way from China) and/or a mistrust that the food may not actually be organic/GMO-free (even though the label says so). So label reading is important. And some people only eat what’s in season so they can buy it locally, thereby cutting out the transport issue and the question about if it’s really organic/GMO-free. I’m also into less packaging, so buying corn on the cob is the preferred way. 😉 Thanks!

  6. RitaB says

    I have made this for the second time, only this time I used Italian seasonings and added some zucchini that I had on hand. Smells yummy. Who knew that it could be this tasty without salt. Thank for the website!

  7. says

    Thank you for this recipe. I used portobellos, sweet potatoes and veggie broth. It was better than I expected and I will definitely make this again. I used some of the leftovers to make quesadillas with brown rice tortillas, sautéed kale, guacamole and nutritional yeast and those were delicious as well.

  8. Amy says

    I’ve never bought beans in the aseptic square cartons. Are they similar to canned beans, in that you have to rinse them before eating them, or are they free of liquid, making them an easy way to consume beans while traveling? Thank you!

  9. Kris McCormack says

    Thank you for another great recipe, Cathy! I just discovered this one about 3 months ago, when I was looking for something different to make with some leftover rice. Since then, I have made it 5 or 6 times. It has become one of our regulars, like so many from this site. I usually make it with yams instead of Yukons, add a red bell pepper and increase the mushrooms. Yum!

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