I first encountered Arroz Moro (Cuban Black Beans and Rice) at a Cuban restaurant in West Palm Beach this past winter. It was a side dish option to accompany my grilled skirt steak, and I chose it because I saw it at the table next to ours. It came out in a little dome, dark black and intriguing. I had to try it, and convinced Longe to do the same. As soon as we took a bite, we both fell in love with Arroz Moro.
So of course I needed to re-make it at home. Many recipes call for ingredients like peppers, onions, oregano, and even bacon. But Havana, where we ate, kept it simple. So I did too.
This recipe is a simple combination of garlic, black beans, and rice. That’s it! And for someone who doesn’t love beans, Arroz Moro was a game changer. The tender rice contrasts nicely with the slightly chewy beans, and the faint flavor of garlic permeates the whole pot.
I served the Arroz Moro for a small dinner party of 6. Since I made Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce as the main dish, which is on the pricier side for my dinner parties, I wanted a low-cost side dish. Along with a big salad and fried plantains, Arroz Moro fit the bill perfectly.
My guests gobbled it up! It’s a crowd-pleasing side dish that almost everyone loves. It would also pair well with tacos or fajitas. And since you are combining beans and rice in the same pot, it’s like getting two dishes in one! I frequently make it as a side dish for dinner instead of plain rice.
So what’s the deal with the name? Arroz Moro is also known as Moros & Christianos. Moros refers to Muslims and Christianos to Christians. The groups battled for centuries in Spain until learning to live peaceably together in the 15th century. The mixture of black beans and rice in the same pot refers to this latter period of peace.
To serve with it, I recommend Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, which was also influenced by my meal at Havana in West Palm Beach. If you’re in the area, go there! Everything was delicious and we left stuffed. A big salad will complete the meal nicely!
Arroz Moro (Cuban Black Beans and Rice)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 15 oz can black beans, undrained
- 2 cups white rice I used basmati
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally.
- Add black beans (including the liquid), rice, salt, and 3 cups water.
- Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
- Let sit for 5 minutes off the heat, covered. Fluff with a fork and serve.