Fail-safe rice and beans

Rice and beans is a meal that can easily become your staple food, if it isn’t already. It’s a dish that’s incredibly hard to go wrong. If you can boil water, you can cook up a pot of beans and a bunch of rice. Together, the 20 essential amino acids in rice and beans provide all the protein you need. This plant-based high protein meal can be great for you vegans and vegetarians when you use vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth. For a high fiber meal, it’s not even green, for all you picky eaters! What’s not to love about it? If you don’t have rice, try eating beans with pasta or a quesadilla.

This is a foolproof recipe using whatever spices and condiments in your cabinet. The most important thing in this highly variable recipe is to taste, taste, taste! Make sure it’s to your liking. You’ll be eating it for days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Mix and match if you have them:

Beans: 1 lb of your choice. Feel free to use a combination such as kidney, black and pinto beans.

Vegetables: approximately 1–2 cups of chopped onion, garlic, celery, tomatoes and any sturdy vegetables like carrots. Onion is a must if you have any!

Seasonings: oregano, cumin, bay leaf, cilantro, parsley, hot sauce, ketchup, chicken/vegetable broth, paprika, chili

Toppings: avocado, guacamole, cheese, more hot sauce, squeeze of lime

Directions:

1. Soak your beans overnight. Make sure the water more than covers the beans. If you’re only using thin-skinned beans such as black beans, then you don’t have to soak them. But the cooking time will be longer.

2. The rice can be made ahead of time or simultaneously in another pot. Wash and drain the rice. For every 1 cup of long grain rice, add 1 1/2 cups of water. If you’d like, season with a small pinch of salt.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower it to a gentle simmer. Let it cook for about 40 minutes or until the water is gone. Add more water and let it simmer some more if it’s not cooked through. It’s very important to not lift the lid or stir while the rice is cooking!

3. This is can be a fat free recipe (and still taste delicious!) if you choose not to use oil. Sweat your choice of vegetables with 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened.  If you’re not using oil, feel free to put it in the pot with the beans. And if you aren’t using any vegetables, skip to step 4.

4. Drain the beans and add into the pot. Make sure to add enough water! It should cover the beans completely and then some (about 1 inch) to prevent anything sticking to the bottom of the pot.

5.  Add your choice of seasonings and salt. Approximately 1/8 teaspoon each for dried spices. It is highly recommended, however, that you not measure but rather check by test or eyeball to tailor it to your taste buds. Also, it’s best to add a little less than more in the beginning. You can’t tell the full effects of the herbs until they have cooked a little and the flavors have mingled. If you’re really low on ingredients, there’s ketchup beans. Simply add salt, onion, a little bit of mustard and ketchup.

6. Put on a lid or you’ll have to add water later. Bring to a boil then let it simmer for at least two hours. If you have time, stir occasionally and adjust for seasoning before serving. Add your choice of toppings after scooping the beans into a bowl.

Contact Stephanie Wang at [email protected].