Rice and beans or beans and rice is type of dish made from a combination of staple foods in many cultures around the world. The grain and legume provide several important nutrients and many calories, and both foods are widely available. Rice and beans are vegetarian and make up a complete protein. The beans are usually seasoned, while the rice may be plain or seasoned. The two components may be combined or served separately.
The dish usually consists of white or brown rice accompanied by cooked brown, red or black, dry beans (typically Phaseolus vulgaris or Vigna unguiculata) and seasoned in various ways. This dish is also commonly served with sides of stewed chicken, pork, beef, potato salad, boiled potatoes, and many other sides from many different cultures. In many areas, rice and beans are often served side by side rather than combined together. Either way, they may be considered a meal, frequently with a topping of meat or chicken. Meat or other ingredients are sometimes placed atop rice and beans or, less frequently, mixed into it.
Different regions have different preferences. In Brazil, for example, black beans are more popular in Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, while in most other parts of the country these are mostly only used in feijoadas. The New Orleans specialty known as "red beans and rice" is often accompanied by a side of smoked sausage or a fried pork chop.
Genetic analyses of the common bean Phaseolus shows that it originated in MesoAmerica, and subsequently spread southward, along with maize and squash, traditional companion crops. Asian rice was introduced to Mexico and Brazil during the colonial era by the Spanish and the Portuguese. However, it has recently been discovered that the indigenous peoples of the Amazon had already cultivated a distant relative of Asian rice of the same genus Oryza some 4,000 years ago, and were growing it alongside maize and squash, traditional companion crops of beans, which were also by that time present in South America. Some recent scholarship suggests that enslaved Africans may also have played an active role in the establishment of rice in the New World. It is also one of the most common food now in almost all of Spanish speaking countries.
Rice and beans is very nutritious. Rice is rich in starch, an excellent source of energy. Rice also has iron and some protein. Beans also contain a good amount of iron and a greater amount of protein than rice. Together they make up a complete protein, which provides each of the amino acids the body cannot make for itself.
In addition, rice and beans are common and affordable ingredients, often available in difficult economic times.
In Brazil and many other Latin American states and countries, rice and beans are commonly eaten as everyday lunch, along with a different variety of meats and vegetables. It is also common to prepare dinner using the lunch leftovers. Brazil is the world's third largest producer of dry beans and American leader in rice consumption.
Rice and beans is referred to as arroz y habas, arroz con habichuelas, arroz con frijoles, gallo pinto, recalentao or similar in Spanish, arroz e feijão, arroz com feijão or feijão com arroz in Portuguese,risi e bisi in Venetian language, diri ak pwa in Haitian Creole, avas kon arroz or avikas kon arroz in Judaeo-Spanish.
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