My Favorite Weeknight Dinner Starts with a Bag of Microwavable Rice

It's so full of flavor and ready in a flash.

Texas Caviar Rice and Beans
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Let's talk about grocery store convenience items. Right up there with rotisserie chicken and pre-chopped onions is the hero of the grain aisle, the MVP of starches, the Hercules of a pulled-together plate. I'm talking about heat-and-eat rice, rice, baby, and the best way to use it is in our Texas Caviar Rice and Beans.

I've been making this recipe since it hit our July 2013 issue. In that time, I've made it for countless weeknight dinners and even a few guests who, of course, request the recipe with a mouthful. The only cooking required is microwaving the rice and, separately, the bean mixture. You can opt to cook your rice the old-fashioned way (or the new-fashioned way, in your Instant Pot), but we won't tell Mama if you, like me, just grab a bag of microwave heat-and-eat.

My favorite convenience item aside, the best part of this recipe is the flavor possibilities. You can mix up the toppings to suit whatever your tastebuds are craving, whether it's pickled jalapeños, pepper Jack cheese, avocado, or hearty toppings like smoked pork, rotisserie chicken, or grilled steak. Because of the beans and rice, the dish is already filling—perfect for a light dinner or satisfying lunch—but it becomes a company-worthy dish once your protein of choice is thrown on top.

Our Texas Caviar Rice and Beans is quick, easy, full of flavor, and absolutely will not disappoint. Before you get started, there are a few things to note: Firstly, the celery gives it a unique flavor and element of crunch, but I've found I prefer it more without. Just in case you want to go that route, know you have my support. Secondly, let the rice and beans cool just a bit before you throw in the tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, and green onions so they don't get too soft or mushy. And, finally, double the dressing. I've found this to be a good rule of thumb for just about everything I cook, just always double the dressing.

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