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Congri Rice: How to Make Vegan Arroz Congri

Congri Rice
Foto: Amy Mason / Utopia

Congri rice, also known as Cuban black beans and rice, is a delicious and healthy vegan meal or side dish. Keep reading for a simple vegan arroz congri recipe that can be ready in under thirty minutes!

This iconic Cuban dish goes by many names, including Moros y Cristianos, Cuban black beans and rice, or Arroz Congri. Rice and beans are cooked together in one pot, as opposed to being prepared separately like for arroz con frijoles. The recipe and name differs from home to home and across South America, but white rice and either black or kidney beans are always present.

Whether you choose to use canned beans, or cook dried beans yourself, the leftover bean water adds both flavor and color to the final dish. The use of the cooking or canned liquid helps make Congri rice a no waste dish

Sometimes served as a side dish, it is also a filling and nutritious main course. Congri rice is almost always vegan, but some recipes will sauté the vegetables in lard or call for the addition of bacon, pork or Spanish chorizo. By using olive oil and vegan meat substitutes, you can very easily enjoy authentic vegan Cuban Congri rice at home!  

Much of the flavor of Cuban cuisine comes from the addition of the ever present green bell pepper, white onion and garlic, all of which are present in the recipe below.

Congri Rice: A Vegan Recipe

Black beans and their liquid and the ever-present green bell pepper, onion and garlic give the vegan congri rice a lot of its distinct Cuban flavor.
Black beans and their liquid and the ever-present green bell pepper, onion and garlic give the vegan congri rice a lot of its distinct Cuban flavor.
(Foto: Amy Mason / Utopia)

Flavorful, simple, healthy and fast, this recipe makes a great mid-week dinner — especially if you use local and organic ingredients. The rice is cooked to fluffy perfection, the beans have just enough bite without being mushy, and the bell peppers add a wonderful flavor and texture.

This recipe makes use of canned black beans, but if you have the time you can also cook dried beans. Use half a cup of dried beans to every cup of rice, and remember to save the cooking liquid!

Serves four as a main course or six as a side dish.


  • optional: 6 slices of vegan tempeh bacon
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil for frying
  • 1 organic green bell pepper
  • ½ organic red bell pepper
  • 1 organic medium white onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup of organic long grain white rice
  • 1 14oz. can organic black beans or red kidney beans
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • small handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, to serve
  • a squeeze of lime (optional, but delicious!)


  1. First wash all the vegetables. Dice the bell peppers and onions and mince the garlic. Wash the fresh herbs, pat dry and chop.
  2. If using tempeh bacon, add some of the oil to a large heavy bottomed pan and cook the slices until they start to brown. Don’t worry if they crumble apart. Remove from the pan and set aside for later.
  3. Add the rest of the olive oil to the same pan and sauté the onions and bell peppers until they become translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
  5. Wash and drain the rice and add to the pan, stirring well to cover each grain in vegetables and oil.
  6. Add the entire can of beans and the liquid. Fill the empty can with cold water and add this to the rice.
  7. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  8. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. 
  9. Bring to a simmer, put a lid on the pan and turn down the heat. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat but leave the lid on for 10 minutes to allow the rice to finish steaming.
  11. If using tempeh bacon, crumble it over the rice and stir through with the chopped fresh herbs, and a squeeze of lime and enjoy!

Perfect as a main dish, with or without the tempeh bacon, the vegan congri rice would also go well alongside the jackfruit in our vegan arepas recipe. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days. When reheating leftover rice, always make sure it’s piping hot before serving.

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