Low Glycemic Index Rice & Beans

Rice and beans doesn’t have to be a dish on the “never” list when you’re following a low glycemic index diet, or even if you have trouble digesting beans. In fact, with just a few adjustments to your preparation of rice and beans, you can enjoy them regularly. This recipe focuses on increasing the digestibility of beans while decreasing the glycemic index of rice.


Low Glycemic Index Black Beans & Rice

  • Author: Danielle Moore
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x


For the Beans

For the Rice


For the Rice

  1. Bring water and a pinch of salt (optional) to a boil
  2. Add rice, return to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook 40 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to sit with cover on for 5-10 minutes
  3. Transfer to a shallow container and allow to cool at room temperature 10 minutes then cover and transfer to refrigerator at least 24 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, heat with a little water on the stovetop or simply mix with freshly cooked beans to warm up.

For the Beans

  1. Place beans in a large container and cover with 4 1/2 cups of water. Set in the refrigerator overnight (at least 8 hours) to soak.
  2. After soaking, rinse and drain beans thoroughly.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to saute and add 2 Tbsp water
  4. Add onion and cook 2-3 minutes, adding 1 Tbsp water at a time as needed
  5. Add spices of your choosing and garlic then cook another 30 seconds
  6. Add 2 3/4 cups water and kombu then cover and seal. 
  7. Cook on high for 35 minutes then release steam naturally for 20 minutes
  8. Discard kombu and enjoy beans with rice, garnished with cilantro


  • Serving Size: 1/2 recipe
  • Calories: 526.1
  • Sugar: 3.1
  • Sodium: 389
  • Fat: 2.5
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 104.6
  • Fiber: 23.8
  • Protein: 25.5
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, oil free, soy free, vegan

1. Can I just use canned black beans instead?

Yes, you certainly can use canned black beans. We love Eden Organic beans. It is packed without added salt. Instead, it contains kombu, a sea vegetable that has been shown to help break down beans to make them more digestible. They also soak their beans overnight in purified water with no chemical additives and then thoroughly cook them, giving you a shortcut to more digestible beans (more on that below). 

2. Why choose brown rice over white rice?

It’s important to choose organic brown rice for its high fiber, whole grain status. The fiber, along with its strong antioxidant activity, makes brown rice a heart healthy food. Having said that, if you are having issues with digestion, you may find white rice is easier on your stomach. Brown rice differs from brown rice in that the outer shell of the rice is kept on, which is what gives the grain its brown color. By contrast, white rice has had the shell removed, which does have its benefits. In addition to being easier to digest because of removal of the lectin in rice, it also contains much lower amounts of arsenic, which is an environmental toxin that ends up in rice. For this reason, you may want to choose white rice if you’re pregnant.

3. Does rice have a high glycemic index?

To answer simply — yes and no. Both white and brown right rank high on glycemic index as is. However, there is a way to increase resistant starch, which in turns lowers the glycemic index. And it’s as easy as popping your rice in the refrigerator. Just fully cook the rice then cool it overnight as we do in is recipe. That time in the refrigerator causes starch retrogradation. This means it will increase the resistant starch, therefore lowering the glycemic index (R).

4. How can I make beans more digestible?

For some people, beans are difficult to digest. I’m sure we have all heard of beans linked with gas and bloating (cue the song). But a few simple preparation tips can help reduce the oligosaccharide content, which will make them easier to digest. First, you can try soaking your beans before cooking them. For every cup of beans, add 3 cups of water and let them soak at least 8 hours then drain and rinse (R). Another easy preparation tip is to cook them with kombu. As we mentioned above, kombu is a carminative that can help lessen gas and bloating experienced from digesting legumes (R). Last, you can choose to pressure cook your beans, which is why we chose the instant pot for this recipe. Pressure cooking can help reduce the presence of anti-nutrients which can hinder digestion (R). 

5. What are some good spices for rice and beans?

An obvious choice for rice and beans is something with Mexican inspiration. I love a combination of equal parts cumin, paprika and coriander. Dried oregano is also a popular choice. If you like a little heat, you can add some cayenne or chili powder. Try making your own seasoning rather than buying pre-made, as many of the common mixes can have added sugars.

Recipe compatibility with your diet type

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1–2 times per week
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This recipe has been custom designed for Agrarian, California Coastal, California Keto, Forager, Hunter Gatherer, Lean Machine, Mediterranean, Modified Paleo, Mosaic, Nordic, Okinawan, Paleo Plus, Pegan, Pescetarian, Trainer, Urban Grazer, Vegetarian, Villager, Wayoan and West Angeleno diet types, learn more.

Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore is a professional recipe developer, Nutrition expert, food photographer and lover of veggies. Read her full bio here.

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