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Southern Black Beans and Rice

This Southern Black Beans and Rice with ham recipe is a delicious twist on a classic. It combines black beans and rice with flavorful ham and vegetables for a delicious, comforting dinner for your whole family to enjoy.

A serving of black beans and rice with ham on a dinner plate.

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You can never go wrong with a one-dish dinner, and this Southern Black Beans and Rice with ham is one of my all-time favorites! It’s a comforting savory combination of rice, beans, ham, and vegetables that will warm you from the inside out on a cold winter night.

This is a very simple recipe packed with delicious flavors. It starts with chopping and cooking a few veggies to make up the flavorful base of the recipe. When those are tender, the seasonings, tomatoes, and ham go into the pan. In the meantime, the rice cooks in another pot so that it’s ready to go. Easy as 1-2-3.

There are so many recipes from all around the world that utilize the simple combination of beans and rice. Of course, there’s the famous New Orleans red beans and rice along with dozens of Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes and many originating from the Caribbean. Most of those recipes do not include meat and you could, in fact, prepare this recipe without the ham if you’d like a vegetarian option.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  • The flavors from the vegetables combine with the flavor from the ham and tomato to make this a delicious dinner!
  • The combination of ham, beans, and rice is work great as a standalone dinner. To make it even more substantial, you might add warm bread and a very simple salad.
  • It is a flavorful variation of a classic combination.
  • Easily converted to a vegetarian option.

🍳 Tools You’ll Use


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My Favorite Kitchen Knives


I’ve used Wusthof knives for a very long time in my kitchen. They’re easy to maintain and fit my hands well!

🛒 About the Ingredients


  • Onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celeryThese are classic aromatic vegetables that create a substantial flavor base for the recipe. The garlic should be finely minced and the vegetables diced in similar sizes so they cook evenly.
  • Fresh thymeFresh is always best in my opinion, but if it’s not available remember the rule that dried herbs substitute at one-third the amount of fresh. To make the math easy, the substitution for this recipe would be approximately 2/3 teaspoon dried thyme for the four sprigs of fresh. You’re welcome 😊.
  • Canned black beansI typically use canned beans for convenience sake. Yes, they’re a little more expensive than cooking beans from their dried state but worth the time savings for me. However, if you prefer, you may certainly cook a pot of dried black beans and use them in this recipe!
  • Tabasco sauceThis is completely optional based on your feelings about heat and spiciness. In my opinion, this small amount of Tabasco doesn’t really add anything to the spiciness of the recipe but does lend its unique flavor to the finished dish. Then again, I put Tabasco on lots of things, so use your own judgment.
  • Rice Use your favorite. It can be white rice, brown rice, or whatever you like. My personal favorite is basmati.
  • GarnishesGarnish the finished dish in whatever way makes you happy! I like to add a splash of red wine vinegar, some finely chopped fresh tomato, and chives. Others prefer a little salsa, some fresh cilantro, and sour cream on their serving.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Southern Black Beans and Rice


Vegetables cooking in a skillet.
  • In a large, deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Add the thyme, tomatoes, beans, ham, salt, black pepper, oregano, and Tabasco. Stir well.

👉 Pro Tip: I often purchase the small packages of cubed ham from my local grocery store to have on hand for recipes like this. I often use it in soups and stews or casseroles, and it’s also great for omelets! It’s one convenience product that I can highly recommend.

Adding Tabasco sauce to the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook 30-40 minutes or until the beans are tender.
  • While the beans are cooking, prepare the rice.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water, salt, and butter to a boil. Add the rice, stir and bring back to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender – about 20 minutes.
  • Serve the bean mixture over hot, fluffy rice. Be sure to remove the thyme stems before serving.
  • Garnish with a drizzle of red wine vinegar and your choice of fresh chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh chives, salsa, and/or sour cream.
A serving of black beans and rice with ham on a dinner plate.

🍚 Storing Leftovers


You can store leftovers in a sealed, air-tight container in the fridge for up to two days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or larger portions on the stovetop.

🍽️ Serving Suggestions


This versatile bean and rice recipe serves six as an entree and eight or more as a side.

As an entree, I like to pair this recipe with simple side dishes like bread and a tossed green salad, quick pickled cucumbers, Mexican street corn salad, and a few pickled jalapenos alongside.

As a side dish, it goes with so many different things! Try pairing it with my southwest pulled pork sliders, carne asada tacos, machaca burritos, or shredded beef tacos.

❓ Questions About Southern Black Beans and Rice


How can I add a little more spice to this recipe?

There’s already a small amount of spice from the Tabasco, but if you want more, try adding a dash of crushed red pepper or a bit of cayenne. Or better yet, offer those options at the table so your guests can adjust the spice to suit their own preferences.

Can I use red beans instead of black beans?

Well, yes, you could but then you’d be making red beans and rice which is a whole different recipe! Seriously though, red beans would be perfectly fine.

Be sure to come back and tell me how your Southern Black Beans and Rice with Ham recipe turned out!

🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like


Lana Stuart.

More Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

A serving of black beans and rice with ham on a dinner plate.

Southern Black Beans and Rice

This Southern Black Beans and Rice skillet dinner recipe makes a delicious entree or side dish that is absolutely packed with flavor!
5 from 5 votes
Print It Rate It Save Text It
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 1172kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

For the beans:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 4 stalks fresh thyme
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 30 ounces canned black beans drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces diced cooked ham
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 10 dashes Tabasco sauce

For the rice:

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup rice

For garnish:

  • Red wine vinegar
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Chopped chives
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream

Instructions

  • In a large, deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.
  • Add the thyme, tomatoes, beans, ham, salt, black pepper, oregano, and Tabasco. Stir well. Reduce the heat to low and cook 30-40 minutes or until the beans are tender.
  • While the beans are cooking, prepare the rice.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water, salt, and butter to a boil. Add the rice, stir and bring back to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender – about 20 minutes.
  • Serve the bean mixture over rice. Remove the thyme stems before serving.
  • Garnish with a drizzle of red wine vinegar and your choice fresh chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh chives, salsa, and/or sour cream.

Notes

  • Serves 6 as a main dish; 8 or more as a side.
  • Store leftovers in a sealed, air-tight container in the fridge for up to two days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or larger portions on the stovetop.
  • For a vegetarian option, omit the cubed ham.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 1172kcal | Carbohydrates 193g | Protein 38g | Fat 30g | Saturated Fat 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat 12g | Cholesterol 114mg | Sodium 1949mg | Fiber 9g | Sugar 166g

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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12 Comments

  1. Looks great! Do you think it would freeze OK? Its just the two of us. Thanks!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I haven’t frozen it myself, but I would think you could. There’s really nothing in it that doesn’t freeze well.

  2. Christina S says:

    I came across this recipe last night (searched black beans and ham, food items I needed to use up) and happened to have everything on hand. I’ve never had beans and rice and my kids are picky about peppers and celery. So, I was unsure if it would be a flop. I made the recipe exactly as stated except I added on extra can of black beans, used half a red pepper and half a yellow and doubled the ham to make sure it would feed 7, which it did with a little leftover. Surprisingly, everyone but my pickiest of picky kids loved it! We served with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped tomatoes and cilantro. SO GOOD! I’ll be making this again. Thank you very much for a great recipe!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I’m so pleased that your family liked the recipe, Christina! I haven’t made this one in a while and your comment was a good reminder to me of how much we enjoy this dish.

  3. Rainah Ness says:

    My mom wouldn’t serve beans, but now that I’ve grown up and finally learned to prepare them various ways, I love ’em (and now with the economy and all, that ‘dirt cheap’ aspect of beans is callin’ to my husband’s pocket books more than he’d like to have to admit). — In the past, black beans in our home included ginger and such, and were topped with mango or banana salsa, yellow rice, toasted coconut and chopped green onions, as a side of rice and beans, -or- were brazenly slipped into a black bean and corn tortilla casserole. But I’ve never served them with a load of refreshing tomatoes so beautifully presented like yours…, not *yet* anyway. I can hardly wait! While men have dug into beans in my home and then looked at their wives with it clearly written on their faces, “Now, why have our beans never tasted like these ones?” somehow, I never made them look quite so lovely as yours, Lana! Not nearly so! I guess I’ve got a lot of grace to learn from lovely ladies like yourself! Thanks so much for sharin’! Yum!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Rainah! We enjoy beans in all kinds of recipes here and this is one of our favorites. I hope your family likes it, too.

  4. We did not grow up with this…. yet, I make it, and nearly the same. At our house, it’s a veggie meal, and often topped with sour cream, cheese and salsa.

    Thanks!

    Miss P

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I very often make it without the ham as well. I like it so much because it’s hearty without being heavy. Plus it’s dirt cheap :-)

  5. This sounds wonderful Lana! A great weeknight meal too, thanks!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Yep, Amanda…great for a weeknight. Quick and easy!

  6. Melissa @ My Recent Favorite books says:

    I’ve been looking for a Beans and Rice recipe! Yours sounds delicious! =)
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      So glad you found a recipe, Melissa. Hope you enjoy it!