January 14, 2013

Black Beans and Rice

These days when I'm looking to make something fast and nutritious, I find myself turning more and more frequently to beans.

If you've got the time, dried beans deliver better flavor and texture than canned. But they require soaking and a long simmer to make them tender.

Canned beans are convenient. Give them a quick drain and rinse and they're good to go. In this recipe I combine them with veggies and rice. The dish is substantial enough for dinner. It's a tasty accompaniment to Mexican food. And served at room temperature, it makes a great side dish for barbecues.

Chop bell pepper and onion. Feel free to get creative here. You can use carrots, celery, or any other vegetable that will hold its shape when cooked.

Saute the veggies in a little olive oil.

When the veggies are tender and golden, add the rice. Stir for a minute until it's coated in oil.

Now, for some flavor, add a packet of taco seasoning mix. You could also add a combination of chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and salt. Stir until the rice and vegetables are well coated in the seasoning.

Add water. Vegetable or chicken stock also work well.

Finally, toss in the beans. Again, this recipe is very customizable. Add any kind of beans you like -- kidney, pinto, navy, etc. Bring the mixture to a boil. Then turn down the heat and let the rice simmer, covered, for 17 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for at least five more minutes.

When you remove the lid, the rice should be cooked through. If it's not, sprinkle a little more water on top, cover tightly, and heat on low for a few more minutes.

Serve! If you like, sprinkle a little lime juice on top.

Black Beans and Rice

Recipe by The Garlic Press

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups rice
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tsp salt, or to taste
3 cups water (or any combination of water, chicken stock and vegetable stock)
1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
lime, optional

1.    Heat olive oil in a 4-qt pot. When hot, add onion and green and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and onion is golden and translucent.

2.    Add rice. Stir well until the rice is coated in oil. Add taco seasoning and salt. Stir well until taco seasoning coats rice and vegetables.

3.    Add water and beans.

4.    Bring mixture a boil over high heat. Cover the pot, turn heat to low, and simmer for 17 minutes. Turn off heat and let the pot sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.

5.    Serve, with a squeeze of lime.

Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 to 8 as a side dish.

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