The Foodbank of Southern California

Rice and Beans

Cinco de Mayo Rice and Beans Recipe

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day. In fact, Cinco de Mayo is not really celebrated in Mexico, other than in the city of Puebla. It has become more popularized in the United States, with celebrations consisting of drinks and food. To celebrate, we want to share a Mexican rice and beans recipe, using some rice and beans we have available to give out! Everyone makes their rice and beans differently, but this is our take.


  • 1 lb bag of pinto beans
  • salt
  • Half of a small yellow onion

For Mexican Rice:

  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ of a small yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons tomato bouillon


For beans:

  1. Wash beans and put them in a large pot.
  2. Fill the pot with water until beans are submerged, with an inch or two of water above the beans.
  3. Place the pot over medium-high heat and wait to boil. This may take around 10 minutes.
  4. Lower to medium heat and place half of an onion in the pot. No need to cut the onion, it is just for flavor. Cover the pot.
  5. Make sure the beans never run out of water. If the water level is lowering, add more water.
  6. Cook until the beans are soft, which may take about an hour and a half. Once beans are almost fully soft, add salt to taste.
  7. Turn off heat and they are ready to eat.

For rice:

  1. Wash your rice until the water runs clear. We recommend using a strainer so that the water can be easily removed from the rice.
  2. Put 3 and a half cups of water to boil.
  3. In a medium pan, add oil. Cook on medium-high heat.
  4. Cut onion into desired pieces. We cut it into medium-sized pieces.
  5. Add onion and rice to oil.
  6. Cook until rice begins to brown slightly.
  7. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
  8. Add boiling water and tomato sauce. Stir well.
  9. Add tomato bouillon for salt and added flavor.
  10. Turn heat to low and add lid to pan. Let it cook for about 15 minutes.
  11. Rice is done when the liquid has been absorbed and the grain is no longer hard.

Serve with your choice of protein, or on their own! Rice and beans can be a nutritious meal on its own.


  1. For best results, soak beans overnight in cold water.
  2. Add a jalapeno when boiling beans for added flavor.
  3. You can save the water you washed your rice with and use it to water plants.
  4. Add chopped carrots, bell peppers, or peas to the rice for added vegetable intake.

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