This Moro Rice Recipe (Moros y Cristianos) is made with rice, onion, bell pepper, garlic, adobo, black beans, orange juice and simmered to perfection.
This dish is probably one of my favorite side dishes to make and to eat. It is so simple, hearty and you can whip it up in less than 30 minutes. You can actually use canned beans or just soak dry black beans overnight and they will cook in with the rice. I like using any long grain rice for this recipe, like basmati or jasmine rice.
What is Moro Rice?
Moro rice, also known as Moros y Cristianos, is a traditional rice dish commonly found in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines, particularly in Cuba. The name "Moros y Cristianos" translates to "Moors and Christians," referring to the historical conflict between the Muslim Moors and the Christian Spaniards during the Middle Ages.
Moro rice is a flavorful and hearty dish that combines rice with black beans, resulting in a visually striking and deliciously satisfying meal. The dish is prepared by cooking the rice and beans together, allowing them to absorb each other's flavors and creating a harmonious blend of tastes and textures.
Why you will love this recipe
Full of flavor: The adobo and orange juice gives this rice so much flavor. The rice cooks with all the ingredients together, packing so much flavor.
Hearty: Rice and beans will always be comfort food to me. This dish is so hearty and easy to make.
Kid Friendly: I grew up eating rice and beans my entire life and I absolutely loved it.
Great for any weather: I would always eat rice and beans growing up in Mexico. I love eating this in the summer or winter months.
Serves a crowd: It is so easy to double this recipe and make a lot of it. Make this for your next dinner party.
Moro Rice Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Bell pepper
- Black beans
- Orange juice
- Bay leaves
- Long grain rice
See recipe card for Moro Rice (Moros y Cristianos) quantities.
How to make Moro Rice
Open the can of beans and pour the liquid into a big cup. Add the orange juice into the same cup and whatever amount of water to measure a total of 2 cups of liquid.
Bring a large saucepan on medium high heat and heat up the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and peppers and cook until they’re soft, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle the adobo and oregano, tossing until it stick to the veggies, and then pour in the 2 cups of cooking liquid, juice of a quarter lime, and the bay leaf into the saucepan. Sprinkle salt, as desired. Bring the liquid to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low and stir in the rice, beans, and cover. Cook still covered for about 15-25 minutes. You should reference your rice packet for cooking time.
When the rice is done, fluff, and stir in the rest of the lime juice.
What to serve with Moro Rice
- Grilled or Roasted Meats: Moro rice complements grilled or roasted meats beautifully. Serve it alongside grilled chicken, steak, pork chops, or roasted lamb for a satisfying and flavorful meal. Check out my Dominican Chicken Recipe.
- Seafood: Moro rice also pairs well with seafood dishes. Consider serving it with grilled or pan-seared fish fillets, shrimp skewers, or a seafood stew for a delightful combination of flavors.
- Plantains: Sweet or savory plantains are a fantastic addition to Moro rice. You can fry ripe plantains until golden and caramelized for a sweet contrast, or make tostones (fried green plantains) for a savory element. Check out my Tostones Recipe.
Onion: I used a yellow onion for this, but feel free to use white or red onion.
Bell pepper: You can use any color bell pepper you want.
Adobo: Adobo is a mix of onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, and black pepper. I love buying the Goya brand and using it in most of my recipes.
Orange juice: This can be store bought orange juice, but for best tase, buy the orange and squeeze it yourself.
Moro Rice Recipe Variations
Here are a few variations of Moro Rice that you can try to add some unique flavors to the traditional recipe:
- Sofrito Moro Rice: Sofrito is a flavorful base used in many Latin American dishes. For a sofrito variation of Moro Rice, add a few tablespoons of sofrito sauce to the sautéed onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Sofrito typically includes ingredients like tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs, which will infuse the rice with an aromatic and savory taste.
- Smoky Moro Rice: To add a smoky flavor to the dish, consider adding some diced smoky bacon or smoked paprika. Cook the bacon until crispy before adding the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Alternatively, sprinkle some smoked paprika into the sautéed vegetables for a smoky and slightly spicy twist.
- Spicy Moro Rice: If you enjoy some heat, spice up your Moro Rice with chili peppers or hot sauce. Add some diced jalapeños, serrano peppers, or red pepper flakes to the sautéed vegetables to give the dish a kick. Alternatively, you can drizzle hot sauce or sprinkle cayenne pepper on top before serving.
Check out this Shrimp Poblano recipe.
To make Moro Rice, you will need the following equipment:
- Large lidded pan or Saucepan: A large deep pan or saucepan is essential for cooking the rice and beans together. Make sure it has enough capacity to accommodate the ingredients and allow for proper stirring.
- Cutting Board and Knife: You'll need a cutting board and a sharp knife to chop the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and any other vegetables or ingredients you'll be using in your Moro Rice recipe.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is useful for stirring the rice and beans mixture while it cooks. It helps ensure even distribution of heat and prevents the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Measuring Utensils: Use measuring cups and spoons to accurately measure the rice, beans, broth, and spices needed for the recipe.
- Stovetop or Range: Moro Rice is typically cooked on the stovetop, so you'll need a working stovetop or range to heat the pot and cook the rice and beans.
How to store Moro Rice
To store Moro Rice properly, follow these steps:
- Allow the Moro Rice to cool: After cooking, let the Moro Rice cool down to room temperature before storing it. This helps prevent condensation and ensures that the rice cools uniformly.
- Transfer to an airtight container: Place the Moro Rice in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the container is clean and dry to maintain the quality of the rice.
- Refrigerate promptly: Place the sealed container of Moro Rice in the refrigerator as soon as possible after it has cooled. The rice should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking to minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
- Use within 3-4 days: Moro Rice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. After that, its quality may start to deteriorate, and it's best to discard any leftovers.
- Reheating: To reheat the stored Moro Rice, you can use a microwave, stovetop, or oven. Add a splash of water or broth to the rice to prevent it from drying out during reheating. Heat it until it reaches the desired temperature, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.
Moro Rice Recipe Top tips
- Rinse the rice: Before cooking, rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming sticky or clumpy.
- Sauté the vegetables: Sautéing the onions, garlic, and bell peppers before adding the rice and beans adds depth of flavor to the dish. Cook the vegetables until they are softened and slightly caramelized for a richer taste.
- Use the right rice-to-liquid ratio: For Moro Rice, the general rule of thumb is to use a 1:2 ratio of rice to liquid (broth or water). Adjust the amount of liquid based on the specific rice you are using and the desired consistency of the final dish.
- Cook on low heat: Once you've added the rice, beans, and liquid to the pot, lower the heat to a simmer. This gentle cooking method helps ensure that the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the flavors of the beans and seasonings.
- Avoid excessive stirring: While it's important to stir the rice occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot, avoid excessive stirring, as it can cause the rice to become mushy. Stir gently and only when necessary.
- Let it rest: After cooking, allow the Moro Rice to rest for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork. This resting time allows the flavors to meld and the rice to settle, resulting in a better texture.
- Customize the seasonings: Moro Rice is a versatile dish, so feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Add more spices like cumin, paprika, or chili powder if you prefer a bolder flavor, or add a splash of citrus juice for a tangy twist.
- Garnish with fresh herbs: Before serving, sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro or parsley on top of the Moro Rice. The herbs add a pop of freshness and a vibrant touch to the dish.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove