Habichuelas Guisadas (Puerto Rican Stewed Beans) are an essential Puerto Rican side dish whenever you’ve having rice. They’re perfectly creamy, tender, simple to make, and bursting with Latin flavors!
Habichuelas guisadas is a recipe that definitely qualifies as an essential Puerto Rican side dish. If there is white or yellow rice on your plate, there better be some habichuelas! Otherwise, there’s a problem. Seriously, don’t even try it. This is one of those dishes that each cook puts their signature on, kind of like Italian gravy. You know who made the beans just by eating them. My Mami’s beans don’t taste like anyone else’s and neither do my Abuela’s.
I learned this the hard way when I went off to college and kept feeling like my beans were missing something whenever I made them in my dorm kitchen. There’s a certain amount of love that flavors this dish when it’s made by Mami & Abuela, and you just can’t replicate that. It never fails, making habichuelas always remind me of home.
I hate to admit it, but I hated beans when I was a small child. I would literally pick them off my rice and push them to the side of my plate. I’m not sure how my mom didn’t just give me away to the neighbors for such blasphemous behavior! These days, I can literally eat rice and beans as a whole meal and be completely satisfied. These are a great Meatless Monday option, as long as you omit the ham.
This recipe is simple to put together as long as you have some Puerto Rican staples in your pantry. The beans are stewed in a tomato based broth that’s flavored with country ham, sofrito, sazon & adobo, plus classic Mediterranean ingredients like bay leaves, oregano and olives. The result is a complex, earthy dish that goes great with rice, or even as a standalone meal. I would definitely suggest that you make more habichuelas than you think you need! This dish freezes beautifully, and leftovers reheat perfectly in the microwave or on a stove top.
Habichuelas Guisadas (Puerto Rican Stewed Beans)
These beans are a Puerto Rican staple, and an essential side dish for rice.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced country ham or bacon omit if vegetarian
- 1/4 cup Puerto Rican sofrito
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1½ tsp sazón con achiote y culantro
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 2 cans pink beans (habichuelas rosadas), undrained 15 oz. cans
- 1/3 cup diced potato, pumpkin and/or baby carrots
- 8 pimento stuffed olives
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
- Adobo seasoning or salt, to taste
In a medium sized sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped ham and saute for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to caramelize.
Add the tomato sauce, oregano, bay leaves, and cumin. Saute for 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock, beans (with their liquid), chopped potato, pumpkin or carrot, olives, and chopped cilantro. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow the flavors to meld, the beans to become really tender, and the pumpkin/carrots to cook. The mixture should be very creamy and not soupy.
Check for seasoning, and add Adobo or salt if needed.
Serve over white or yellow rice, with an extra sprinkle of cilantro, if desired.
You can replace the adobo seasoning with salt and pepper. Adobo has a fair amount of salt, so it's often used as a salt replacement, and flavor enhancer.
Freeze leftover beans in freezer storage bags and keep frozen for up to 3 months.