Beans and Rice: A Very Good Cheap Eat
Beans and rice are a good cheap eat, especially when you top them with chips, salsa, and some other goodies. They make a filling meal to help you save money and eat well.
We eat beans and rice at least once a week for dinner. Sometimes they are side dishes, but often they make the bulk of the meal. While I sometimes lean on canned beans, I save money when I cook my own pinto beans to serve alongside “from scratch” Mexican rice. No boxed rice mixes around here!
We’ve found that these homemade varieties taste better than the canned and boxed versions, and generally the homemade version is less expensive as well.
In fact, during very lean times, like when we were paying off a ton of debt, I served beans and rice three or four times a week! Sometimes we might have just beans and rice and perhaps a little cheese. But know that this humble meal can turn into something special when you “dude it up” with toppings.
I make my own salsa because it’s very inexpensive. I buy the other toppings on sale whenever possible.
Check out the price breakdown:
- dried beans – $1 (or canned $2)
- Mexican rice – $1.50
- shredded cheese – $1.50
- shredded lettuce – $0.50
- homemade salsa – $1.25
- tomatoes – $0.25
- tortilla chips – $1
Total cost to feed a crowd: $8
That’s some good cheap eats, my friends! You can vary your toppings so much, it really never has to be the same meal twice. However, my people prefer cheese, salsa, sour cream, and chips at the very minimum. On your beans and rice buffet, you can also lay out small bits of leftover cooked meats. They’ll get used up in a flash. Other toppings you might want to consider: guacamole, avocado, lettuce, chopped onions, fajita vegetables, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and hot sauce.
Beans and Rice make a perfect Bowl Meal!
Here’s our very forgiving recipe for beans and rice:
Originally published June 2009. Updated April 9, 2017.