Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos)

Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos). A flavorful blend of black beans, rice and spices that is easy to make and a uniqe side dish! -

The other day I was making a large pot of Gallo Pinto, Costa Rican beans and rice (a typical staple for breakfast there) and flashed on a Cuban restaurant I used to go to for lunch years ago when living in California.  A coworker took me there for the first time and it may have been the first time I’d had Cuban food.  The place was a bit of a hole in the wall (which I loved) and I recall getting a plate of chicken, fried plantains and black beans and rice.  It was plate rich with distinct flavors, spicy, sweet and tangy, leaving me feeling I’d traveled to another land over the noon hour.

With this thought hanging in my mind I did some research on those Cuban Black Beans and Rice, feeling it similar to Gallo Pinto and wanting to whip up a batch of them.  The Cuban version, Moros y Cristianos, is symbolic of Spanish history; the black beans represent the Muslim Moors and the rice represent the Christians.  Cooked together they absorb the flavors of the dish and the beans lend color to the white rice.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos). A flavorful blend of black beans, rice and spices that is easy to make and a uniqe side dish! -

Bean and rice dishes can be found in most cultures.  A popular one from the U.S. is Hoppin John which uses black eyed peas and rice.  Said to deliver good luck if eating it first thing on New Year’s Day, Hoppin John undoubtedly has African roots that originally brought it to America.  Beans and rice combine make up a whole protein so it’s a filling combination that is usually very inexpensive to make as well.

Moros y Cristianos is a flavorful recipe that makes a hearty side dish for most meals.  Add it to grilled or roasted meats for something a bit out of the ordinary!  It inspired another full meal recipe I’ll be sharing tomorrow so be sure to hop back for a look.  You won’t want to miss it!

Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos). A flavorful blend of black beans, rice and spices that is easy to make and a uniqe side dish! -

Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 6 cups

Moros y Cristianos is a classic Cuban bean and rice dish that can be found paired with most authentic meals. It's easy to make and is a great side dish for any entree.


  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 small Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped Green Pepper
  • 4 large Garlic Cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can Black Beans, undrained
  • 1 cup Long Grain White Rice
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 tablespoons Lime Juice
  • Garnish: 1 slice Bacon, cooked (not crisp), drained and chopped
  • Garnish: chopped fresh Cilantro leaves


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven (with lid) heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, green pepper and garlic and sauté until soft (8-10 minutes).
  2. Add the cumin and oregano; sauté until fragrant (30 seconds to a 1 minute).
  3. Drain the liquid from the black beans into a liquid measuring cup (a 2 cup measuring cup if available). Add water to make 2 cups total liquid. Pour the liquid into the pan (reserve the beans), add the bay leaf, and bring to a boil (will happen quickly) scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the rice and black beans; bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and simmering. Cover and allow to cook until the liquid is fully absorbed into the rice (approximately 25 minutes).
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in the lime juice and serve with chopped bacon and cilantro leaves for garnish.


  1. Pam says

    This looks like something my son in law would love to make. He has a lot of Cuban friends so he eats a lot of Cuban food.

  2. says

    When my husband and I were first dating we lived near the yummiest Cuban restaurant. I haven’t found anything that can compare, but now I can bring some of those amazing flavors home. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    • says

      I have not Kelly. This recipe is the traditional combination but I think you definitely could substitute brown rice. I would just compare the cooking time on the package to the cooking time here (25 minutes) and adjust accordingly.

    • says

      Completely understand on the beans. I’m that way with beets. No matter how hard I try, we just can’t find a love connection! I love the bowl too. We brought it back from a trip to Spain and I’ve adored it ever since.

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