Food Wi$e


| Share

Try These Budget-stretching All-stars: Rice and Beans!

Have you ever had beans and rice at a Mexican restaurant? Rice and beans often are paired together on menus because they form a “complete protein” with all the amino acids (protein building blocks) your body needs for good nutrition.
Try These Budget-stretching All-stars: Rice and Beans!

Photo used under license from

Save Some Money

Beans and rice are a nutritious “team” that can help you stretch your budget. Add beans to soup, chili or side dishes. You  can save even more money by starting with dry beans and soaking them. For example, a 1-cup serving of rice and beans  would cost about 12 cents if you soak the beans.

1/2 cup canned pinto beans 19 cents
1/2 cup cooked pinto beans (starting with dry beans)   7 cents
1/2 cup cooked white rice   5 cents

5 Steps to Soaking and Cooking Dry Beans

  1. Inspect the dry beans, removing any broken beans or small stones.
  2. Rinse the beans thoroughly in cold water.
  3. Use the preferred “hot soak” method: Add 10 cups of cold water to a large pot (4 quarts or more) for each pound (2 cups) of beans prepared. Bring the water to a boil and boil for about three minutes. Cover the pot and let stand for about four  hours.
  4. Drain and rinse the soaked beans.
  5. Add fresh, cold water to fully cover the soaked beans, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, if you wish. Adding oil prevents foaming and boiling over. Simmer the beans until they are tender. 2 cups of dry beans = 4 cups of cooked beans

Cut Sodium With This Simple Tip

Canned beans (such as kidney or pinto) are convenient options, but they often contain added salt. Most people have too  much salt (sodium) in their diet, and that puts them at higher risk for heart disease. If you prefer to use canned beans, be  sure to drain the liquid and rinse the beans in a colander. This easy step can rinse away about 40 percent of the sodium. Look for reduced-sodium varieties, too.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise November 2013 (PDF)

Filed under: ,
Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.