Monday, March 17, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Black Beans and Rice

My family is not picky about food, for the most part, so I enjoy trying new recipes out on them.  However, like all families, we have our tried-and-true, go-to meals.  This recipe is one I come back to over and over, sometimes adding beef, chicken, or ground turkey on the side as an option for my seriously carnivorous family.

While I consider myself an omnivore (a.k.a. I'll try just about anything once), I do have vegetarian, as well as vegan recipes in my rotation.  I focus more on healthy and balanced than any one dietary approach.  Sometimes I feel like meat, sometimes I don't.  I trust my instincts, for the most part, and eat what I'm hungry for.  But I must caution you: I have spent the last ten years re-training my body and tongue to WANT healthier options.  If I would have tried this approach before then, I would have reached for Good's Potato chips and Hippie ring bologna every time. ;-)

We like to make "burrito bowls" with this dish, adding toppings like fresh salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream, and so on.  I'm sure you have your favorites you could add to that list.  But I'll warn you, my Black Beans and Rice recipe is so flavorful you won't need to add the toppings.  I actually have to watch myself when there are leftovers of this dish in the fridge--I can scarf it down without thinking, it's that good.

This dish is vegan, for those of you with special dietary considerations.  Enjoy!

My Black Beans and Rice

Ingredients:

3 cans black beans
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, diced
5 scallions
1/4 large, sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves (or more if you're into garlic)
1-2 drops Lime essential oil (doTerra brand)
2 cups fresh chopped cilantro
Tiger Sauce to taste
2 tbs. cumin
2 tsp thyme
1-2 tbs. olive oil
Rice, your choice

Note: I do not salt while I cook, for the most part.  Salt is best added after the cooking process when less will be more flavorful.  However, there are certain recipes where the chemistry of the cooking process requires salt in order for the recipe to turn out as intended.  This is not one of those recipes.

Instructions:

Start the rice.  I'm assuming you can read the directions on the rice packaging and can handle this part on your own. ;-)  I make brown rice in the rice steamer, but I also cook up some white rice on the stove top because my family members differ on their rice preferences.  I like having leftovers to toss in with stir-fry and other dishes during the week, so there's no such thing as too much rice at my house.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-hi heat.  Add garlic, scallions, bell pepper, and onions and saute until tender. Add beans, cumin, thyme, tomatoes, and Tiger sauce, stirring occasionally until heated through.  It's important to achieve your preferred tenderness in the veggies before adding the tomatoes.  The acid in the tomatoes will prevent the vegetables from softening much more.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is achieved.  I like to reduce the liquid at least a third, creating a thicker consistency.  This usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes.  For the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the chopped cilantro.

Note:  I also prepare a side dish of ground beef, turkey, or chicken "taco style" for my meat-loving peeps.

Serve beans and rice with your favorite toppings, make-your-own-bowl style, or if your family prefers, you can serve it with tortillas.  Either way, its absolutely delicious and sure to please.

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it turned out. Anything you changed? Please post a comment and share!  I love hearing from y'all.  :-)  Check out other recipes on my Pinterest boards.  I have them categorized by Breakfast, Dinner, Side Dishes, Fun Foods, and my Perfectly Balanced Meals, for those looking for well-balanced nutrition in a quick meal.

Love and light to you and yours.

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