What to Serve With Black Beans and Rice

Are you wondering what to serve with your black beans and rice dish? Black beans and rice or “Arroz Congri” is a native Cuban dish that’s a clever spin on regular beans and rice. The rice and black beans are traditionally mixed, giving it a distinct grey shade. But sometimes, they’re placed side by side on a plate. 

Black beans and rice could be served as either a main or side dish. It contains big Caribbean favorites like fragrant jasmine rice, onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, and oregano. And the dish is typically served for dinner or on special occasions. 

This meal is not only packed with flavor but contains plenty of nutrients. It’s high in fiber and protein, gluten-free, and filled with essential vitamins and minerals. Garnishing this dish with lime and fresh cilantro adds fresh and citrusy elements to the earthy-flavored dish. 

Side Dishes For Black Beans & Rice

Because the dish comprises protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, it’s such a well-balanced meal on its own. But pairing this dish with a delicious side will take it from great to extraordinary. 

The best side dishes should be rich in protein with distinctive umami flavors. These flavors must match the Caribbean delicacy’s spiciness and more aromatic flavors.

1. Cuban Garlicky Pork

This is a traditional Cuban dish made from shredded tender pork. It’s soaked in garlic, citrus, and cumin to be cooked later in an instant pot. You could use a pressure cooker for faster preparation.

Cuban garlicky pork is a perfect savory choice to serve over your black beans and rice. It has fresh, earthy flavors that match the big flavors of black beans and rice. Marinating it in fresh citrus juice does wonders for the flavor, making it sweet and fruity. 

2. Fish

Fish is a great side dish option to pair with black beans and rice. The umami flavors from fish are an excellent match for this flavorful dish. It’s always a delight to see a perfectly seared cut of fish on top of a steaming bowl of delicious black beans and rice.

There are different methods of preparing a gorgeous cut of fish. But grilling it would give the right amount of sear and tenderness while cooking it through. There’s also the option of pan-searing your fish.  

3. Slow-Cooked Roast Pork

This is yet another pork option. But compared to the Cuban garlicky pork, it is cooked using a slow cooker. The marination process often takes place overnight and comprises the use of cumin, citrus, garlic, and oregano.

Cooking it slowly allows the juice to properly roast the meat, making it tender and succulent. The citrus marinade adds brightness and spunk, making it an instant hit with black beans and rice.

4. Roasted Chicken

Black beans and rice is a flavorful dish, but it lacks an animal protein component. Chicken is one of the most complimentary side dishes that pair well with this main. 

While the meal is garnished with lime juice, adding lime juice to your meat marinade will take it to the next level. The texture of the meat is just perfect with the fluffy and creamy black beans and rice dish. And the juicy flavors complement the main beautifully.

5. Sausage

When looking for something simple yet tasty to pair with your black beans and rice, sausage is a great alternative. It’s cheap, easy to find, and quick to prepare. And there are so many types of sausage to choose from. 

Sausage is a popular ingredient in Caribbean food and often adds much-needed spice and fattiness to a meal. The type of sausage you can use is totally up to you. Almost any type of sausage should work well.

6. Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp Tacos are another great side dish to serve with your black beans and rice dish. They’re loaded with delicious ingredients like crisp cabbage, cheese, cilantro, taco sauce, and of course, juicy shrimp. Incorporating seafood into your black beans and rice meal is a brilliant option as the salty umami flavor elevates the dish.

It also contains lime juice seasoning, garlic, and cumin, for more earthy elements. You could also add sour cream over it to add a bit of tanginess to the tacos creating a burst of flavors.

7. Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken enchiladas make for great flavors and a spicy accompaniment for your black beans and rice. This Mexican-style chicken dish includes sautéed chicken, onions, beans, green chili, and cheese. It’s baked to perfection and served hot with melted cheese with plenty of fresh toppings.

The secret ingredient to a perfect chicken enchilada is the red enchilada sauce. This sauce marries all the ingredients beautifully. And it complements the flavors of the black beans and rice making it a great side dish.

8. Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is your best option if you want to take a more rustic approach with your black beans and rice pairing. It’s a prevalent side dish option for rice dishes. The sweetness of the corn blends in perfectly with the earthy and spicy flavors of the main. 

You can melt butter over the corn and top it with shredded cheese for the ultimate explosion of flavors. In terms of seasoning, you could just add salt. Or you could go all out for more aroma with dried Italian herbs.

9. Steamed Vegetables

This is an excellent option if you’re not a meat lover. While many may consider this side dish bland, it’s a delicious and nutritious dish. Instead of boiling the vegetables, we recommend steaming them to retain their crunchiness and fresh, natural flavors. 

The muted earthy flavors of the vegetables marry well with the intense flavors of the black and beans dish. They are also visually appealing side-by-side on the plate delivering a contrast of colors.

10. Steak Fajitas

What could go better on a plate of black beans and rice than well-seasoned steak? Steak fajitas are easy to make and include strips of beef, peppers, and onions. This side dish is filled with big and intense flavors that go head-to-head with the flavors in black beans and rice. 

Steak is an excellent source of proteins while being incredibly delicious. And, if you select a lean cut, it doesn’t contain excessive fat or salt, making it a healthy side dish option. 


Black beans and rice is a Cuban bean and rice dish with a difference. It’s a very flavorful dish with ingredients with stringing fragrant flavors like jasmine rice, garlic, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper together. 

Choosing a suitable side dish to serve along with it is very important. You don’t want a dish that will overwhelm your main or be so bland that it doesn’t show up. Our black beans and rice side dish recommendations above bring big and bright flavors to the table. Your black beans and rice meal will be the talk of the town.