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Rice & Beans So Many Ways… A Classic Accessorized

rice and beans

This is another of my favorite meals.  I’ve loved rice and beans for awhile.  I think it began after a trip to Puerto Rico.  Habichuelas rosadas con arroz (Pink beans with rice) was what got me hooked.  There are tons of varieties of rice & bean dishes using different types of beans, seasonings, etc.  Rice and beans combines the benefits of low cost (especially if you cook using dried beans), easy preparation and full flavor with lots of room for personalization.

I learned how to up the nutritional content of this dish from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.  If you have any concern about heart disease, I highly recommend this book.  Dr. Esselstyn’s son also has written a book, Engine 2, also great.  Both books include recipes.  Engine 2 has a website and they include their version of the recipe there.  Click “read more” below to see what I do.

Such a staple.  Inexpensive.  Nutritious.  Filling.  And Endless ways to prepare them.  Endless.

Here’s what I do:

1.  Cook rice – I typically use brown rice. Although lately I have been changing it up with black rice or mahogany rice.  Sometimes even white rice though it has less nutritive value. I usually cook my rice on the stovetop. And I make extra.  You can store it in the fridge or freezer.  This becomes a no prep (or minimal prep) “fast food” meal later and you’ll be sooo glad!!  (You know those days that go totally NOT according to plan then you are tired and hungry with no idea what you can have for lunch or dinner.  That’s when “freezer food” can be so very nice. 🙂 )

2.  Prepare beans  – You can simply use canned or “boxed” beans (to avoid BPA in cans). Heat them as is or drain and rinse, then heat (add a little water or broth). Remember my pointer on cooking beans using dried beans in my veggie burger post?  So sometimes I’ve just made a fresh pot of beans or I have some in the fridge or freezer already.  I typically use black beans but this would work with any kind.  Start with your favorite.
One other comment – you can prepare your beans with all kinds of seasonings and they will taste great.  I used to do that and still enjoy doing it at times but for this recipe, we are focusing on quick and easy.  Most of the time I prepare and use them without seasoning.  I use the “add ons” for flavoring (and added nutrition).

3.  Prepare “add ons” (accessories) – Chop a few veggies –  Chop some tomatoes (any kind will work), some avocado is great, some onion (again, any kind).  If you have some spinach, lettuce or chard you can even snip that to use.  Red or green pepper diced works well.  Corn kernels are good.  (I usually have frozen corn in the freezer so I can get defrost just the amount I need).  Fresh cilantro is something I love with this but if you don’t have fresh, you can used dried or none at all.  Truly you can build this however you like.  Use only one or two “add ons” or all I’ve listed or more.

4.  To serve, layer rice in bowl, then beans on top, next some salsa, then the various chopped veggies.  Eat and enjoy.  

I love how easy, flavorful and nutritious this dish is.  Also very filling and inexpensive.  You can easily change the flavor of the dish with your choice of “add ons/accessories”.  For me, it usually just depends upon what I have on hand at the time.  Any type of bean will work.  

rice & beans, no tomato, IfW
Usually you think of rice and beans with traditional toppings like tomatoes and salsa. Try it without. I season with lots of onion and garlic powder (or use fresh) and fresh cilantro. Lately this is my favorite – no salsa, sometimes diced fresh tomato.
rice & bean salad, IfW
Another yummy variation. I call this a Rice & Bean salad. Obviously added lettuce. Also a little tahini dressing. Yum!

Now get cook or buy some beans and rice and Get Creative!  I’m sure you’ll find some variations you’ll love.  ❤️


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