Recipes for Change: Nicaragua rice and black/red beans

Black beans originate from the Americas, with southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica as the main producers. Areas with rainy summers and mild temperatures (about 20°C yearly average), create the ideal climatic conditions for black beans.

Climate change is contributing to increasing temperatures and an unreliable rainy season in Nicaragua, threatening this staple crop. Temperatures over 24°C affect bean formation resulting in decreased crop yields. Black beans are also highly sensitive to changing water levels, especially during their flowering phase. While the plant is young it requires drier soils but as it develops into an adult plant it requires more water. Consequently smallholder farmers are finding judging growing seasons increasingly difficult. 

Why not try your hand at making rice and beans, a staple dish in Nicaragua? This is a mixture of pre-cooked white rice with fried beans, onion and garlic. It is served with tomatoes, salad and fried green bananas (plantain).

Try the recipe at home: Nicaragua rice & black/red beans recipe
Serves 6

Nutritional Facts for 150g serving:
Calories: 274.4. Fat: 1.8g. Carbs: 53.7g. Protein: 10.7g


  • 2 cups cooked black beans, drained (a little liquid reserved)
  • 3 cups white rice (cooked previous day)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves

Cooking instructions

  •  Preheat the casserole pan or skillet
  •  Add oil, chopped onion, garlic and pepper. When onion is soft add beans and fry for a few mins with some of the liquid from the beans. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until heated through.
  •  Add the rice, salt and pepper.
  •  Fry together ensuring that the mixture is smooth, loose and slightly browned.

Serving suggestions
Serve on Chagüite (banana) leaves, with cabbage salad, tomato, salt and lemon, with slightly spicy chilies, and slices of fried green banana (plantain).

Climate threats to rice and black/red beans in Nicaragua:

  •  Increased temperatures.
  •  Changes in growing seasons
  •  Increased incidence of extreme weather events

ASAP solutions

  •  Improved farm management encourages more sustainable practises with yields maintained or even increased
  •  Better crop storage to protect against extreme weather
  •  Improved water storage to overcome changes in growing seasons