Spanish White Beans and Rice Recipe (Empedrado de Arroz)

spanish white beans and rice

Getty Images / tarikkaanmuslu 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 85 mins
Soaking: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
522 Calories
8g Fat
95g Carbs
19g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 522
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 60mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 95g 34%
Dietary Fiber 15g 53%
Protein 19g
Calcium 155mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The name empedrado comes from the verb empedrar, which means to cover or fill with rocks or piedras in Spanish. This dish is empedrado de arroz, which is made with almost equal parts white beans and soupy rice, mixed with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers. It is a wonderful main dish for autumn and winter dinners.

Empedrado is also a bean salad typical of Cataluna and the eastern coast of Spain, down through Valencia and Murcia, especially in the summer.


  • 1 lb (500 gr) dry white beans
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large potato or 2 small potatoes
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 long Italian green pepper
  • 3 to 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 to 10 oz (236-295 ml) canned crushed tomatoes
  • 14 oz (400 gr) medium grain rice
  • 1 tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 3 to 4 threads saffron
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Remove any dirt or debris from beans. Rinse under cool water. Place beans into a large pot or bowl, and cover with water to soak. Use plenty of water, making sure that there is at least one inch of water over the top of the beans. Beans should be soaked at least 8 hours. Make sure that as beans absorb the water, the beans on top do not dry out.

  2. Drain and rinse beans. Place in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender. Cooking time will vary, depending on type and age of beans.  After cooking, drain beans and allow to cool.

  3. Prepare the vegetables. Peel and slice potatoes. Cut the tomato into 8 pieces. Peel and coarsely chop the onion. Remove stem, seeds and veins from pepper and cut into pieces about 1/4-inch in size.

  4. Prepare the sofrito. Pour olive oil into a large frying pan and heat. Fry the potatoes briefly. Add onions and green pepper and saute until onions are translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

  5. Combine the sofrito and beans together into a large pot. Stir in rice and approximately 3 cups of water. Heat on high. Add paprika and saffron.  Simmer about 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked, adding water as needed to maintain plenty of thick broth.

  6. Remove from heat and allow it to "rest" for 5 minutes. Serve hot in traditional clay bowls.

Cooking Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Place beans in pressure cooker and pour in enough water to cover. Lock on top and raise heat to high. When pressure has built up, and it is "hissing," reduce the heat. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes at a steady pressure. Remove from heat and allow pressure to be released. Open and check beans for doneness.

Safety Note: Be sure to follow the cooker's instruction manual. Many pressure cookers now allow cooks to place the cooker in the sink and run cold water over the top to rapidly release the pressure.