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Rice & Beans

Rice & beans is simple, cheap and delicious. It is a budget-friendly classic, simple to add veg to, and can be batch cooked to save time and money for the future, too! We’ve gathered some expert tips and small steps to help you take a basic “rice & peas” dish from good to great!

Why is rice and beans so great?

Rice & beans (or “rice & peas” as it is known in the Caribbean) is simple, cheap and delicious. It’s focus on simple, readily available and affordable, and mild ingredients suit adult’s budgets and children’s palates very well and it is easy to add veg to without changing the flavour or texture of the dish too much. While you can serve this alongside cooked meat or fish, it is a balanced, protein-rich meal in and of itself, so you can make your money go further all while eating better.

Its adaptability means rice & bean can be as healthy, cheap, easy and quick as you choose to make it, meaning it’s a perfect basic family recipe to have under your belt to make small tweaks to over time.

You can make a big batch of rice & beans and freeze for up to a month to have it on hand for quick dinners, just make sure to cool and freeze quickly and reheat to piping hot to keep temperatures safe and healthy for the rice.

Use the basic recipe, small tweaks and tips below to take your rice & peas from good to better!

How are your rice & beans skills?


I’m just starting out.


I’m ready to take it to the next level.


How can I get my kids involved and interested?

Getting Started

Rice & beans is simple, cheap and delicious.

Its mild, simple flavours go down well with kids, and it is easy to add veg to without changing the flavour or texture of the dish. By adding more veg and less meat, you’ll make your money go further all while eating better.

Here is a simple recipe for rice & beans which you can use as a base and build on over time…

Rice & Beans

Claire Wright


Serves: 4


1 mug basmati (or other) rice

2 mugs water (or 1 mug water and one coconut milk if you prefer more flavour)

1 small red chilli, deseeded and halved lengthways (optional)

1 tin red kidney beans (or black eyed beans)

1 tbsp Jerk seasoning or 1 tsp each dried thyme and ground allspice (optional)

Cooked chicken or veggie alternative, to serve (optional)



  1. Pour 1 mug of rice and 2 mugs water (or 1 each water and coconut milk) into a large saucepan, along with the halved chilli if using, and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy (about 12-15 mins for basmati, longer for long-grain rice), adding more water if it boils away before the rice is cooked.

  2. Remove the chilli if you used one and stir through the drained kidney beans and seasoning (if using). Serve as is, or with some cooked chicken or veggie alternative. Some sliced spring onions are also traditional with this dish!

There is no need to go any further with this recipe until you are confident with it and feel up for the next step.

Feeling ready? Let’s see how you can get your next small victory without battles…

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

You could get kids rinsing the beans in a sieve, measuring out the rice and water in the mug, or scattering any optional extras like fresh herbs over at the end.

Master these skills:

Cleaning vegetables,  Weighing,  Tasting


While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.



Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.



The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.


I Want To Improve My Rice & Beans

If you are feeling confident with your favourite rice & beans recipe, but you’re wondering if there are some small tweaks you could make for the better, this is for you.

We’ve outlined some simple stages for continually improving on a basic rice & peas dish to get you from good to great. Find where you feel your current recipe sits and see if the next step is something you could aim for. You don’t have to go any further, but if you choose to, make sure you are feeling confident with this new stage before you try the next one.

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed.

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed.

engaging kids

Play is essential!

Think of children helping in the kitchen as a role play game with plenty of fun for maximum effect. One of the best ways to develop a love of veg in kids is to get them involved in the prep of the veg. Not only is cooking an essential life skill for kids to learn, but it’s a great, fun way to get them engaging with healthy foods!

DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
Simply Veg Sun & Girl


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