Spanish White Beans and Rice Recipe (Empedrado de Arroz)

Spanish White Beans and Rice Recipe (Empedrado de Arroz)

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 85 mins
Soaking: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
278 Calories
7g Fat
45g Carbs
10g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 278
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 114mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 22mg 111%
Calcium 94mg 7%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 806mg 17%
*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 pound (500 grams) dry white beans

  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, with the top 1/2 inch cut off to expose cloves

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 large potato, or 2 small potatoes

  • 1 large tomato

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 1 Cubanelle pepper, sweet Italian long green pepper

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 8 to 10 ounces (240 to 300 milliliters) canned crushed tomatoes

  • 14 ounces (400 grams) medium-grain rice

  • 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika

  • 3 to 4 saffron threads

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spanish White Beans and Rice Recipe (Empedrado de Arroz) ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. Remove any dirt or debris from beans. Rinse under cool water.

    white beans in a colander

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  3. 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.

    beans and water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Drain and rinse beans.

    Drain and rinse beans in a colander

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Place soaked beans in a large pot. Cover with water, add the garlic and bay leaf, 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. 

    beans, water, garlic and bay leaf in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. After cooking, drain beans, remove and discard the garlic and bay leaf. Allow beans to cool.

    beans in a colander, garlic and bay leaf removed

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Peel and slice potatoes. Cut the fresh tomato into 8 pieces.

    potatoes on a cutting board and tomatoes in a bowl

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Peel and coarsely chop the onion. Remove stem, seeds and veins from pepper and cut into pieces about 1/4-inch in size.

    onions and peppers on a cutting board

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  9. 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.

    potatoes, onions and peppers in a skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. Add chopped tomatoes and crushed tomatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

    tomatoes added to the potato mixture in the skillet

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  11. Combine the sofrito and beans together into a large pot. Stir in rice and approximately 3 cups of water. Heat on high.

    bean and potato mixture cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  12. Add paprika and saffron. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked, adding water as needed to maintain plenty of thick broth.

    spices added to the mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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

    Spanish White Beans and Rice Recipe (Empedrado de Arroz) in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Pressure Cooker Variation

Place soaked 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.