Cheap Meals

Puerto Rican Style Red Beans and Rice

12 servings


55 minutes

total time


4 Tbsp cooking oil, divided ($0.16)

1 packet sazón ($0.17)

1/2 cup salt pork, small dice ($1.83)

1 onion, diced ($0.42)

1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 3 cloves) ($0.14)

8 oz tomato sauce ($0.59)

4 Tbsp sofrito ($0.72)

1 tsp Better Than Bouillon, Roasted Chicken Base* ($0.12)

2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar ($0.07)

1 large sweet potato, large dice ($0.74)

1 green bell pepper, diced ($0.79)

2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, drained ($1.68)

2 cups white medium grain rice, rinsed ($0.76)

3 cups boiling water ($0.00)

2 tsp salt, plus more to taste ($0.05)


Add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil to a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Once it has warmed, add the salt pork and sazón. Fry until the fat has rendered and the salt pork is golden, about 4 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

Add the tomato sauce, sofrito, chicken bouillon, and vinegar. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, reducing the sauce and developing the flavors.

Add the green bell pepper and the sweet potato. Cook for five minutes.

Add the beans and enough water to cover them. Stir and taste the broth. Add salt to taste.

Cook uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes until the sweet potato has softened. If halfway through the cook, the liquid in the beans reduces too much, add 1/4 cup of water.

For the rice, set a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil has warmed, add the rice, mix it into the oil and let it toast for a minute. Next, add the boiling water and 2 teaspoons of salt to the rice and stir.

Cook uncovered until the water begins to evaporate and you see little steam holes form over the surface of the rice, about 5 minutes. Stir the rice once, reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot tightly with a heavy lid, so steam does not escape.

Cook the rice without stirring until the grains are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. After you portion out the rice, scrape up the crispy bits on the bottom of the pot to serve on top of your rice.


Serving Size

1 cup


314 kcal

Total Fat

17 g

Saturated Fat


Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat





885 mg

Total Carbohydrate

37 g

Dietary Fiber

2 g

Total Sugars



4 g

12 servings


55 minutes

total time
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