Morisqueta is a popular dish in the Mexican state of Michoacán. In this plant-based version, tender rice, creamy beans, and red salsa mix together to deliver simple, yet bold and delicious flavors.
📖 What is morisqueta?
Morisqueta michoacana is a type of rice dish. It’s made from layers of rice, pinto beans, red salsa, cheese, and sometimes meat (but not in this case).
It’s quite easy to prepare, utilizes healthy ingredients, and can be customized to suit your preferences.
Depending on the variation, morisqueta may be garnished with things like queso fresco, crema, cabbage, green chiles, or cilantro. It’s all about fresh, vibrant flavors!
Morisqueta michoacana is not very well known outside of Michoacán and the surrounding states, but we think it should be! It’s an affordable yet tasty dish.
Morisqueta found its roots in the city of Apatzingán, which is in the state of Michoacán. You may also find morisqueta prepared in other coastal states like Colima and Jalisco.
It goes by the name zambaripao too, which is Filipino in origin. Some food historians believe this is because a similar dish made its way over to Mexico via trade routes between the Philippines and Mexico during the colonial era.
The name “morisqueta” also resembles “Moros y Cristianos,” which is a Cuban beans and rice dish. Some people believe it stemmed from this version.
Whatever the case, this simple dish has evolved over time. But, at its core is able to be made with very minimal ingredients.
Note: Morisqueta tostada is the name that belongs to a Filipino-Chinese dish, and it is not equivalent to morisqueta michoacana.
🌱 Is morisqueta vegan?
Although mainly plant-based, many variations of morisqueta include meat and dairy ingredients. Here are a few items to stay clear of:
- Meat: Beef and pork are common additions, but they can be replaced with more beans or tofu.
- Queso: Swap out dairy-based queso for almond cotija or cashew queso fresco.
- Crema: We use plant-based crema made from cashews instead of dairy-based Mexican crema.
- Lard: Most beans have lard added to them and can be inconspicuous on the back of a can or bag. To avoid this, make your own beans from scratch.
If you’d like to know more about Mexican cheeses, we have detailed guides on both queso fresco and queso cotija.
🍲 Ingredients & substitutions
Pinto beans — Pinto beans are most commonly used, but you can use Bayo beans, black beans, or chickpeas if that’s all you have on hand.
Rice — The best rice for morisqueta is long-grain white rice. Mexican white rice should be your first choice, but you can use basmati, jasmine, or even brown rice for a healthier option.
Tomatoes — Used to make the salsa, and we recommend Roma tomatoes for this recipe.
Chiles — We use a combination of guajillo and arbol chiles, but you can try pasilla, morita, or piquin chiles as well.
Onion, garlic — To infuse savory flavors into the dish. These can be adjusted based on preference.
Toppings — Our favorite toppings include cashew crema, vegan queso fresco, white onion, cilantro, and cabbage.
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Step 1 — Rinse the beans and add them to a pressure cooker with water, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook over high heat until pressurized, then turn the heat down to low for 30-35 minutes.
See our post on how to cook beans for more information.
Step 2 — Rinse your rice until the water runs clear, then add it to a pot of boiling water, garlic, onion, and a pinch of salt. Bring it to a simmer, then cover your pot and turn the heat down to low for 18-25 minutes.
See our post on how to cook rice for more details.
Step 3 — Heat a cast-iron skillet up to medium, then toast the chiles for 30-60 seconds per side (keep a close eye so they don’t burn). Rehydrate the chiles in a pot of hot water.
Step 4 — Pan roast the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves (skins on) until blackened on each side and tender. Peel the garlic and blend the cooked veggies along with the de-stemmed chiles.
Step 5 — In a saucepan, heat some olive oil. Strain the salsa into your pan and cook for about 10 minutes (straining is totally optional).
Step 6 — In the meantime, add about 2 cups of cooked pinto beans and 1 cup of their cooking water to your blender. Blend on high until smooth, then transfer to the simmering salsa. Taste and season the sauce with salt.
Step 7 — To serve, add a scoop of rice to each plate, then a scoop of beans with some of their cooking water, and the salsa roja mixture on top. Serve with Mexican crema, queso fresco, shredded cabbage, etc. Happy eating!
If you have questions about this morisqueta michoacana recipe, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!
🥗 What to serve with morisqueta
Morisqueta is often served with side dishes like these:
🌡️ Storage & reheating
Morisqueta michoacana makes an excellent choice for meal prep because of its cost-effectiveness, customizability, and hands-off cooking approach. Follow these steps to keep yours fresh.
Fridge — Your beans and rice will last about 3-4 days in the fridge in airtight containers or jars.
Freezer — Store your salsa roja in the fridge for up to 1 week. We like keeping ours in mason jars as we think it preserves the flavors best, but use what you have on hand! Cooked white rice will last in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Reheat — Thaw the beans, rice, and salsa in your fridge overnight. Reheat everything in a pan over medium with a little oil or water until warm.
Note: It’s best to store all of the ingredients separately in your fridge or freezer. Reference storage times for rice, beans, and salsa in their own posts.
Plant-based meat — For a heartier meal, serve your morisqueta with tofu, vegan chik’n, soy chorizo, or jackfruit carnitas.
Spicier — If you’re a fan of spice, add more arbol chiles, a few serranos, or habaneros to your salsa.
Different cheese — Try vegan queso fresco, cotija, paneer, mozzarella, parmesan, or Chihuahua cheese.
Not blended — For quicker meal prep and fewer dishes, skip blending the beans and salsa and serve each one separately.
🧑🍳 Top tips
Make a double batch — This is our go-to dish for meal prep. Make a large batch to have meals all week long.
Salt your beans — Seasoning your beans makes a huge difference to the overall taste.
Use a pressure cooker — Make your beans from dry in a pressure cooker to save on time. Plus, they’ll taste much better!
Use a rice cooker — Make perfect rice every time by cooking it in a rice cooker.
Let the rice steam — If you don’t have a rice cooker or Instant Pot, don’t remove the pot lid while you cook your rice. The steam trapped inside helps cook the rice.
If you don’t have dried chiles, don’t sweat it! Try making a salsa roja with fresh chiles instead. Just swap in a jalapeño, serrano, or habanero for some heat.
Morisqueta is only as spicy as the salsa you make. If you prefer spicy foods, add in serranos or more arbol chiles. Just remember, a little goes a long way.
🍴 More recipes like this one
If you enjoyed this morisqueta recipe, check out some of these other dishes for tasty ways to utilize beans and legumes:
- Ejotes con huevo: Mexican tofu scramble featuring fresh green beans and spicy salsa.
- Sopa de lentejas: A protein, fiber, and nutrient-rich soup that’s perfect for meal prep.
- Enfrijoladas: Vegetable-stuffed corn tortillas covered in a homemade black bean sauce.
- Black bean soup: A hearty soup of black beans, vegetables, and delicious garnishes like tortilla strips and avocados.
Best Morisqueta Recipe
- Cast-iron skillet
- Pressure cooker
- 2 cups dry pinto beans ($0.48)
- 6 cups water ($0.01)
- ⅛ small white onion ($0.03)
- 1 clove garlic ($0.04)
- ½ tablespoon salt ($0.01)
- 2 cups long-grain white rice ($0.27)
- 4 cups water ($0.01)
- 1 clove garlic ($0.04)
- ⅛ small white onion ($0.03)
- A pinch of salt ($0.01)
- 3 guajillo chiles ($0.12)
- 6 arbol chiles ($0.11)
- ½ small white onion ($0.12)
- 3 cloves garlic ($0.12)
- 4 Roma tomatoes ($0.64)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil ($0.11)
- Salt to taste ($0.01)
- Queso fresco
- Mexican crema
- Corn tortillas
- Rinse the beans, and add them to a pressure cooker with water, onion, garlic, and salt. Cook over high heat until pressurized, then turn the heat down to low for 30-35 minutes (depending on your specific pressure cooker).
- Rinse the rice 2-3 times, or until the water runs clear. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a pot, then add in the rice, garlic, onion, and a pinch of salt.
- Bring to a simmer again, then cover and turn the heat down to low for 18-25 minutes (check at the 18-minute mark). Remove from heat and keep covered.
- De-stem and seed the chiles. Heat a cast-iron skillet up to medium, then toast the chiles for 30-60 seconds per side. Make sure to keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat off, add the chiles in, and set aside for 10-15 minutes to rehydrate.
- In the same cast-iron skillet over medium, pan roast the whole tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves (skins on) until blackened on each side and tender, about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from heat, peel the garlic cloves, and transfer the veggies to a blender. Drain the chiles and add them to the blender as well. Mix on high until smooth.
- In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Strain the salsa into your pan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- In the meantime, add about 2 cups of cooked pinto beans and 1 cup of their cooking water to your blender. Blend on high until smooth, then transfer to the simmering salsa. Taste and season the sauce with salt to your liking.
- To serve, add a scoop of rice to each plate, then a scoop of beans (with some of their cooking water), and the salsa roja mixture on top.
- Garnish with Mexican crema, queso fresco, shredded cabbage, cilantro, etc. Serve with a side of corn tortillas or tortilla chips. Happy eating!
- Make a double batch — This is our go-to dish for meal prep. Make a large batch to have meals all week long.
- Salt your beans — Seasoning your beans makes a huge difference to the overall taste.
- Use a pressure cooker — Make your beans from dry in a pressure cooker to save on time. Plus, they’ll taste much better!
- Use a rice cooker — Make perfect rice every time by cooking it in a rice cooker.
- Let the rice steam — If you don’t have a rice cooker or Instant Pot, don’t remove the pot lid while you cook your rice. The steam trapped inside helps cook the rice.
- The cook time will be increased if you don’t use a pressure cooker for your beans.
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe to recipe. All prices are in USD.
Note: We’ve updated this post to include new information and helpful tips about the recipe.