Beans and Rice Go on Spring Break (& It's About to Get Craaazzzzy)

May  5, 2017

Ever since April turned to May (and, more specifically, since Gabrielle Hamilton published her recipe for avgolemono rice in the New York Times Magazine), the only thing I've wanted to eat is rice.

But let me clarify: I'm not talking about hearty red beans and rice, or ultra-creamy, cheesed-up risotto. I'm talking about an herby, lemony heap that falls through the fork tines, each grain living freely. I'm talking about rice and beans with their hair down, fresh and sun-kissed, living large on spring break somewhere warm and verdant. I'm talking about the sky not the earth. I'm getting a little carried away.

This recipe is a child of two greats—Pierre Franey's baked rice, which Merrill wrote about in A New Way to Dinner, and Martha Rose Shulman's green rice—which means it's got a good gene pool, and plenty of smart tricks coming out its metaphorical ears:

  • First, instead of boiling the rice on the stove, you add the liquid, cover the pot, and then send it into a 400° F oven for precisely 17 minutes.
  • And, that liquid is not simply water, but a blend of water (or vegetable broth) with spinach and cilantro.

To take it from side dish to self-contained meal, pour in a can of drained white beans and a handful of frozen peas before the rice goes into the oven—both will absorb the flavorful cooking liquid. To the fluffed rice, wilt in some more spinach along with lemon zest, chopped mint, and goat cheese. You'll get a creamy, tangy mess of greens-entangled rice.

B.C.E. = Before the common egg. Photo by James Ransom

While the pot's in the oven, you'll have ample time to wash any dishes, set the table, make another component to complete the meal—steamed or broiled fish, sautéed tempeh, a poached or fried or soft-boiled egg—and down a glass of wine (or, since it's spring break, a shot of Fireball).

Shop the Story

It's a hands-free, one-pot, sure-fire route to a lively dinner that'll make you feel like you're on a wild and crazy "vacay," too.

Rice + Beans + Greens

What do you start to crave once the season shrugs off its chill and the sun starts to shine? Tell us in the comments.

Order now

A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Alek Meyer
    Alek Meyer
  • Trisha
  • Heidihelm
  • Hannah Nickerson
    Hannah Nickerson
  • FS
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Alek M. October 29, 2018
The link to the full recipe is down whenever I try to click on it -- just a heads up! Hope that gets sorted out soon, I've been meaning to make this for a while.
Trisha October 29, 2017
Can you make this recipe with brown rice? How would you adjust?
Heidihelm October 29, 2017
This sounds delicious. How would you adjust for brown jasmine rice? Longer in the oven?
Hannah N. May 14, 2017
Love every word you write, Sarah Jampel.
Sarah J. May 14, 2017
Thank you for reading Hannah!!!
FS May 8, 2017
Can I replace the cilantro with another green herb? Say, dill or parsley?
Sarah J. May 8, 2017
Yes! Dill would be lovely. Let me know how it goes and what you try.
Miachel P. May 5, 2017
B.C.E. = Before the common egg
BerryBaby May 5, 2017
This is very similar to the recipe I created except on it's made on the stove. I use the frozen peas but my favorite is using pencil thin cut up asparagus. It's not always available 97062 ... I keep peas in the freezer. Guess great minds think alike, or real similar. Yours sounds delicious as well!
Sarah J. May 8, 2017
I'll have to give yours a go!!