Quick and Easy Rice & Beans

By Cameron Saylor, Recent Arizona State University Nutrition Student


As a college student, my time can be very limited. Thus, I sometimes forget to eat and when I remember I usually go for what is fast and easy. One of the ways that I make sure I am eating plenty of nutrients and making good choices, is by meal prepping. Below, I detail one of my favorite meal prep recipes. Spanish rice and refried beans is full of many healthy fats, fiber, protein and carbohydrates. It can be easily eaten as an on the go snack or added to a tortilla with some shredded chicken and sliced avocado. The best part about this recipe is that it takes only about 30 minutes to make. Check it out below.

Refried Beans



  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp oil (I use avocado but feel free to use your favorite cooking oil)
  • 2 cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste


In a small stock pot, sauté garlic in oil until fragrant (1-2 minutes), add remaining ingredients and heat to boil. Stir until desired consistency is met. You can also try adding onions, diced green chilies or hot sauce in place of dry spices.


For a quick snack, top with cheese or whip up a quick batch of 5 layer nachos. (Chips, cheese, lettuce, beans, and tomatoes)




Spanish Rice


This recipe has a slight kick of heat to it, if you are not a fan of heat, substitute one 6 oz can of tomato sauce and 1/2 tablespoon chicken bullion in place of El Pato.



  • 2 tsp oil (avocado, canola, vegetable, or whatever oil you prefer to cook with)
  • 1 cup long grain white rice (for cooking white rice, liquid to grain ratio is 1: 2 meaning, 1 part rice, 2 parts liquid) ** You may also use brown rice, this will require slightly more water.
  • 5-2 cups water (when cooking any grain, excess water may be an issue. That’s fine, just drain remaining liquid. If too dry, add more water.)
  • 1 can El Pato. (spiced tomato sauce, in the Mexican food section)
  • 1 green onion shoot if desired. ( throw in while rice is cooking and pick out before serving.)


Brown rice in oil on medium heat until lightly browned. Do not allow to burn. In a measuring cup, add El Pato and fill remaining volume with water to equal desired portion of liquid to rice ratio. Add liquid to rice (add the liquid slowly as the liquid will start to boil). Bring to boil, toss in green onion if desired. Place on low heat until rice is done or to desired taste/texture. About 15/20 mins. When the rice is done, remove the onion and enjoy with some fresh green onions on top or mix with the beans from the recipe above and make it a light dinner.


If you liked this recipe, be sure to stay tuned for more recipes to come and check out FillYourPlate.org!

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