Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted on Sep 8, 2016 |

Rita’s Recipe: Black Beans and Rice

Rita’s Recipe: Black Beans and Rice

Fresh tomatoes add color and nutrition to this filling, healthful dish. No tomatoes available? Try topping it with a heaping spoonful of salsa!

Fresh tomatoes add color and nutrition to this filling, healthful dish. No tomatoes available? Try topping it with a heaping spoonful of salsa!

Mother Teresa was canonized as St. Teresa of Calcutta this past week.

Born in Macedonia, Mother Teresa was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic. After living in Macedonia for 18 years, she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived most of her life, tending to the poorest and sickest of that country’s people.

When she first started ministering, she said she would only eat what the local people ate: basically rice, which was neither nutritious or healthy.

She realized her diet had to contain balanced foods for the health and energy she needed to do God’s work. Mother Teresa still ate Indian food, and I have to think since it was probably flavored with turmeric and other Indian spices, that it had not only flavor but nutrition.

I asked Matt Swaim, former host of the Son Rise Morning Show, and now Communications Coordinator forThe Coming Home Network, if he had any thoughts about Mother Teresa and the kind of food she ate.  “Why not share a recipe that local food pantries cook for their hungry – most likely it’s nutritious, feeds a crowd and is economical to boot,” he said. Well, I have a recipe that meets those requirements and that honors Saint Mother Teresa as well.

The combo of beans and rice makes for good protein and carbs. Adding tomatoes and onions boosts the nutritional power. This recipe doubles easily. You can substitute any kind of rice.


Nice served with a spoonful of salsa on top! Fresh tomatoes are a yummy garnish, as well.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 15 oz. can black or red beans, undrained
  • 14.5 oz. can stewed or Italian seasoned tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Few shakes of garlic powder or 1 nice clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In large saucepan, heat some vegetable oil on medium heat.  Add onion, cook and stir until tender. Add beans, tomatoes, oregano and garlic powder. Bring to a boil; stir in rice. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Rita Nader Heikenfeld writes a weekly syndicated column and blog for the Community Press, appears every Thursday on the Son Rise Morning Show, and is the author of several cookbooks. An adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, she is Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Modern Herbalist,  the Culinary Professional for Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, and a media personality with a cable show and YouTube videos. In 2014 she was inducted into the Escoffier Hall of Fame. She lives “in the sticks” outside Batavia, Ohio with her family, where they heat with wood, raise chickens for eggs, and grow their own produce and herbs. You’ll find all her previous recipes featured on The Catholic Beat here.

Rita’s Bible Foods segment airs on the Son Rise Morning Show every Thursday morning at 7:22 am (rebroadcast Friday at 6:02 am). Tune in to hear her discuss the history behind each recipe and the scripture verses that inspired it. And of course, for cooking tips!

Click here to go to the home page and see all our current stories.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, please share it. To get local Catholic news, features and photos every day in your inbox, subscribe in the box at the top of every page or send a request to