Slow Cooker Mexican Bean and Brown Rice Stew is great comfort food. It warms you from the inside, and it smells terrific while it cooks in the crock pot. It’s also fun to let your family garnish each bowl however the want – cheese, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, fresh herbs, avocado, whatever suits your fancy.
We use Better than Bouillon vegetable base (paste) all the time around here. I wrote this stew recipe using it, but if you don’t have any, feel free to substitute your favorite broth or stock for the water and omit the vegetable paste. You can see the Better than Bouillon vegetable base through my Amazon affiliate link here.
For the brown rice in this recipe, you can simply use regular medium grain brown rice, or you can switch it up a little by using a blend of whole grains. Sometimes I like to use a blend of barley, black rice, rye berries, red rice, and brown rice. It all cooks up pretty similarly, so feel free to use those blends. I’ve seen several different mixes at the grocery stores, so keep an eye out for fun new mixes to try.
This Slow Cooker Mexican Bean and Brown Rice Stew makes a big crock pot full for dinner, which means there’s lots of leftovers. The stew thickens as it sits, so it’ll be thicker the next day.
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- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 ½ cups water
- 1 can (15 ounce) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon vegetable base
- 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chiles, undrained
- 1 can (15.25 ounce) white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 can (4.25 ounce) diced black olives
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook until it starts to brown, about 20 minutes. Add chopped red pepper, and cook about 7-10 minutes until softened. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and salt. Cook until fragrant, a couple of minutes.
- While the onion cooks, add the water, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon base, and diced green chiles to the bowl of the crock pot or slow cooker. Once the onion mixture with all the spices has finished cooking, stir it into the wet ingredients in the crock pot.
- Cook in the slow cooker for 3 hours on low (preferred) or 2 hours on high.
- Mix the beans, brown rice, and olives into the crock pot, and continue to cook, turning the crock pot to HIGH setting, for an additional 2 hours.
- Serve, topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, oregano, or toppings of your choice.