Sunday, June 08, 2014

Slow Cooker Spicy Brown Rice and Black Bean Cheesy Bowl (Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)

Use the CrockPot to cook this Spicy Brown Rice and Black Bean Cheesy Bowl and keep the kitchen cool.

Slow Cooker Spicy Brown Rice and Black Bean Cheesy Bowl found on

When you live where it's hot in the summer, using the slow cooker to cook amazing food without heating up the house is one of the best tricks I know.  In fact, on my slow cooker site I feature Slow Cooker Summer Dinners each year, and this Slow Cooker Spicy Brown Rice and Black Bean Bowl would make a perfect summer dinner cooked in the CrockPot.  It took me a couple of tries to get this recipe just right, and for the final version I had the wild idea of cutting up some cubes of string cheese and stirring them into the rice and beans mixture for the last 30 minutes of cooking time, so this is a spicy brown rice and black bean cheesy bowl.  Everyone likes cheesy don't they?  I tested several versions of this out on my niece Kara and her family, and they gave the thumbs up to the version with cheese, but it's definitely optional if you prefer it without the cheese.

I used two cans of diced green chiles in the brown rice and black bean mixture and it was a bit spicy, so if you're making this for kids you might want to cut that down to one can.  Of course, this is my Meatless Monday recipe for this week, and I love these kinds of Southwestern flavors in a Meatless dish.  (To find more meatless recipes use the label Meatless Monday or take a look at  Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index or my Meatless Monday Pinterest board.  I also share Meatless Monday ideas from other blogs each week for Meatless Monday at

Chop up a small onion and put it into a slow cooker that you've sprayed with non-stick spray, along with the minced garlic.  (I used my Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker, but it could have been slightly smaller.)

Rinse 2 cans black beans and drain well in a colander.  (Or you can use 3 cups cooked black beans.  I love cooking dried beans in the slow cooker and then freezing to use in things like this.)  Add the beans to the slow cooker.

Add two cans diced green chiles with the juice (or maybe just one can if you're cooking for kids.)  These are Anaheim chiles, don't use jalapenos unless you really want it hot!

Add 1 cup uncooked Uncle Ben's Brown Rice, 1 can vegetable broth, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, and 1 packet Goya Sazon (optional, but good.)  

Let it cook on high for 1 hour and 45 minutes, until the rice is mostly done and it looks like this.  (If you have an older model slow cooker or use a different type of brown rice, your cooking time may be longer.)

Then cut up six string cheese sticks into small rounds (or use 6 oz. cheese and cut into small cubes.)  I liked using the string cheese because it was low in fat and easy to cut up.

Stir the string cheese pieces gently into the rice and beans mixture and cook 20-30 minutes more on high.

While that cooks, chop up green onions.  (I used about a cup, because I love green onions.)

Turn off heat, stir in the green onions, and it's done.

Serve hot with toppings such as salsa, sour cream, and avocado.

Slow Cooker Spicy Brown Rice and Black Bean Cheesy Bowl
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe inspired by Slow Cooker Mexican Rice at Six Sisters' Stuff.)

I used my Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker for this recipe.

1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 cans black beans (15 oz. each), rinsed well and drained (or use 3 cups cooked black beans)
1 cup uncooked brown rice (I use Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
1 or 2 cans diced Anaheim green chiles, 4 oz. each (This was just slightly spicy but you might only want one can if you're making for kids)
1 can vegetable broth (14 oz.)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 small packet Goya Sazon (optional, but it adds a lot of flavor)
6 pieces Mozzarella string cheese (or use 6 oz. low-fat cheese and cut into small cubes; cheese is optional)
1 bunch green onions, sliced (about 1 cup, more or less to taste)
For serving:  salsa, diced avocado, low-fat sour cream

Spray the inside of a 3-4 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Chop up the onion.  If using canned beans, rinse in a colander placed in the sink (until no more foam appears) and let the beans drain. 

Put diced onion, minced garlic, black beans, rice, vegetable broth, diced green chiles, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, and Sazon (if using) into the slow cooker.   Cook on high for 1 hour 45 minutes.  (If you have an older model slow cooker or use a different type of brown rice, your cooking time may be longer.)

Cut 6 sticks Mozzarella string cheese into slices (or cut 6 oz. cheese into cubes if not using string cheese.)  Gently stir the cheese into the rice and bean mixture and cook 20-30 minutes more, or until the rice is done and the cheese is melting.  Chop up desired amount of green onions.  Turn off heat, stir in the green onions, and serve hot with salsa, diced avocado, and low-fat sour cream to add at the table.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe would be suitable for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.  (Remember that dried beans are a limited food, so if you're actively trying to lose weight on Phase 2, use portion control.) 

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. 

More Meatless Rice and Beans in the Slow Cooker:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Slow Cooker Vegan Brown Rice Mexican Bowl with Black Beans, Bell Peppers, and Poblano-Avocado Salsa ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Black Bean and Brown Rice Burrito ~ The Perfect Pantry

Slow Cooker White Bean, Mushroom, and Rosemary Spaghetti Squash Bowl ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Black Beans with Rice ~ Andrea Meyers

Slow Cooker Spicy Vegetarian Pinto Bean and Chard Burritos ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

CrockPot Beans and Rice ~ A Year of Slow Cooking

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Lime ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Boston Baked Beans ~ The Lemon Bowl

Spicy Slow Cooker Rice with Green Chiles, Green Onions, and Cheese ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

CrockPot Coconut Rice and Beans ~ 365 Days of Slow Cooking   
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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  1. This is definitely the type of meal I'd serve in the summer, and I love the slow cooker for keeping my kitchen cool.

  2. Those cubes of melty cheese scattered throughout sound so yummy! Definitely a great summer dish!

  3. That looks delicious! Love all of the flavors in there--very cheesey and spicy! :)

  4. Thanks Lydia, Joanne, and June; so glad you like it. Adding the cheese was just a crazy impulse but it worked!

  5. Neat trick using mozzarella cheese sticks Kalyn!

  6. Thanks Jeanette! We loved the little bites of melted cheese in this.

  7. I love the idea of cooking the dish in the slow cooker, and then adding the toppings for color and fresh texture!

  8. Thanks Sue! For me this dish just had to had avocado, and chopped fresh tomatoes would be great if they're in season there.

  9. Ya, glad you enjoyed the recipe. I made this three different times with the Uncle Ben's Brown Rice I recommended and the rice was done perfectly in this amount of time. If yours took longer, it must be due to using a different type of brown rice. Glad it worked out.

  10. My apologies to Ya, just realized the comment that I replied to above was accidentally deleted. Here it is:

    "THE RECIPE WAS WONDERFUL--everyone enjoyed it. Luckily I had additional time to cook the brown rice fully. It take quite a bit more time than indicated."

    I'm going to edit the recipe to share that other types of rice or different slow cookers may take longer to get the rice done.

  11. Oh my gosh... this looks SO good! I love using my slow cooker during the summer, and this is a great one to pull it out for :)

  12. Thanks Bec, so glad you like the idea. I wish I had some for dinner tonight!

  13. I didn't have uncle Ben's brown rice and mine, too, took (is taking) significantly longer to cook. We are up to 3 hours now. I still have it cooking, but my husband and I got tired of waiting and just ate leftovers. Maybe we can eat it tomorrow...

  14. Adrienne, hope you enjoy it tomorrow. I do think slow cookers are not all the same temperture at the different levels, so that might be partly the difference. I have always had good luck with Uncle Ben's rice, no matter for a slow cooker or stovetop, so that's why I almost always use it.


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