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Nov 30, 2020

This easy, inexpensive dish is high in flavor with a spicy kick.

Rice and beans is a Latin American staple, but the Haitian red-beans-and-rice version, riz colle aux pois, is unique—bold and spicy with African and French influences. It’s also called Riz National and is considered to be the national dish of Haiti. The dish is made with white rice and either pinto or kidney beans, and a kick from Scotch bonnet peppers—a seriously hot pepper with a fruity taste.

Although it’s easy to geographically group Haitian food in with other Caribbean cuisines, Haitian food differs as it has been influenced by colonization, waves of migration, and the introduction of enslaved Africans who were brought in by the Spaniards after the widespread deaths of indigenous Taino people who were wiped out by disease introduced from Europe.

The resulting cuisine is a gorgeous blend of tropical flavors, African ingredients, Arabic and Spanish spices, and French influences.

Red rice and beans can be eaten solo as an energy- and protein-packed dish or is commonly served with red snapper, tomatoes, and onions.

What makes it a steal? The protein power comes from dried beans, a very affordable panty staple. 

How to Make:

This riz colle aux pois recipe from haitiancooking.com is a simple and delicious way to serve up a hearty and affordable dish packed with rich flavor. With a yield of 9 cups (8-10 servings) it can easily feed a hungry family, leftovers included!

Cooking tip: Be sure to soak your beans for at least 4 hours (overnight is better). It will reduce your cooking time by half.

Shopping List

  • white rice
  • dry beans (pinto or kidney beans)
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • large onion
  • cloves
  • chicken bouillon cubes
  • scotch bonnet pepper
  • garlic
  • fresh thyme
  • coconut milk