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One Pot Turmeric Rice, Beans & Greens

One Pot Turmeric Rice, Beans & Greens | The Full Helping

Is anyone else ready for a simple pot of rice and beans? I know I am, not just as a counterpart to more festive and celebratory holiday fare, but also because this is the food I crave when I’m busy, stressed, distracted, whatever. (Come to think of it, I crave this food all the time, but especially when I need grounding.) I make a lot of rice and bean dinners, but lately I thought to use my turmeric rice recipe as the base. This one pot turmeric rice, beans & greens dinner is the happy result. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s quick, nutritious, and good, and that’s more than enough for me.

Turmeric rice has become a bit of a staple around here, a dish I make for bowls, burritos, and a lot more. As it turns out, the rice works as nicely in a cohesive dish as it does as a side or a component of a meal. I increased some of the spices in order to flavor the beans and greens as well as the rice.

One Pot Turmeric Rice, Beans & Greens | The Full Helping

Once the rice is cooked, the rest of this meal is as easy as stirring in some cooked beans, wilting in spinach with an extra splash of water, and then seasoning to taste. If you use white basmati or long-grain white rice, the whole thing is ready in about 30 minutes. If you use brown basmati (or long-grain brown rice), it’ll take closer to 40, which isn’t bad for a complete meal. Serve the rice with yum sauce for a serious treat (and double the golden color), or top it with toasted nuts or seeds for some crunch.

One Pot Turmeric Rice, Beans & Greens | The Full Helping

5 from 1 vote

One Pot Turmeric Rice, Beans & Greens

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil such as grapeseed or refined avocado or coconut oil*
  • 1 large or two small yellow or white onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup white or brown basmati rice or long-grain white or brown rice, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, rinsed, and drained before adding
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt plus extra to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 1/4 cups + 1/2 cup water divided, plus extra as needed
  • 5 ounces baby spinach or chopped fresh spinach (about 5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans or 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Yum sauce optional, for drizzling on top


  • Heat the oil in a medium pot or a deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes, or until they're soft and just browning. Add splashes of water as needed to prevent sticking. When the onions are ready, stir in the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant, stirring constantly.
  • Add the rice, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, bay leaf, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 12-15 minutes (for white rice) or for 30-35 minutes (brown rice), or until the rice is tender.
  • Pour in the extra 1/2 cup water, then add the spinach to the pot, piling it over the rice. Cover the pot again to allow the spinach to steam and wilt down for 2 minutes. Then, stir the spinach into the rice, so that it wilts down completely. (If you need to add a few splashes of additional water as you do this, go for it.) Finally, stir in the kidney beans, lemon and lime juice, and black pepper to your liking. Taste the rice, adjust seasonings as needed, then stir in the cilantro, if using.


*You can water sauté the onion instead of sautéing with oil if you prefer.
Leftover rice will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

One Pot Turmeric Rice, Beans & Greens | The Full Helping

In place of kidney beans, feel free to use black beans, pinto beans, black eyed peas, or chickpeas, and you can also play around with the greens. I like using spinach for one pot meals because it cooks so quickly, but chopped kale, chard and collards would all be great in the dish, too.

“I’d be more than happy with rice and beans.” This is something I’ve smilingly said to friends who are fretting about what to cook for a vegan when I come over or stay with them. I’m trying to assure them that I love simple food and that veganism isn’t complicated, but it’s a genuine statement about my tastes, too, because I love rice and beans in pretty much any form. This flavorful, colorful mixture will definitely be a new go-to for me.

Hope you enjoy it, too, and I’ll also be back later in the week to share a hearty, wintery, Mediterranean-inspired soup. Till then, be well.


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  1. What are your thoughts on substituting the red kidney beans for lentils instead?

  2. 5 stars
    This was so good. I used homemade Garam Masala in place of the spices. Would like to try some with Labneh on top.

  3. 5 stars
    So we made the change a couple of weeks ago and it has been somewhat challenging (more so around dinnertime) because neither of us can really cook.

    Not only did this recipe turn out well, but it completely revitalized our commitment. I’m a lot more confident that we can make REAL meals on our own. Thanks!

  4. Be SURE to soak the rice first! I missed seeing that plus I used brown rice and the cooking time pretty much doubled, plus I had to keep adding water.

    Sprinkled a few pine nuts on top for crunch/glavor. This reminds me of mujadarra, a Lebanese lentils/rice/caramlized onions recipe.

    Every recipe I ever read that says to caramelize onions in 12-15 minutes underestiates the amount of time it takes to truly caramelize. I know that so Iadjust, but it’s not fast frying–it’s slow and delicious.

  5. 5 stars
    SUBLIME. I loved this so much. I swapped garbanzos for kidneys and topped it with salted and limed coconut yogurt. My new go-to rice and beans, absolutely divine.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this recipe last night. It was delicious and so easy! I used brown rice, though, and prep and cooking took longer than 40 minutes from start to finish. I assume the 40 minutes listed at the top of the recipe is for white rice, so other people planning to make this with brown rice just be aware that you will need more like an hour.

    Also, I used a mix of spinach and arugula since I didn’t have enough spinach, and I can confirm that arugula works well too.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    Danielle | solongusa.blogspot.com

  7. 5 stars
    This was delicious and easy to make – thank you for posting! A nice twist on rice and beans, comforting and nutritious. The tip about sriracha was spot on as well.

  8. 5 stars
    Made this last night, subbing black beans for kidney beans and broccoli for the spinach. So delicious and flavorful and now I have lunches for the rest of the week. I also just preordered your new book! I love one pot meals.

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      Hey Michael,

      10 minutes is fine. Just updated the recipe—thanks for asking!


  9. I tried this for dinner tonight and loved it! Goes great with sriracha on top too.