This month I am participating in Vegan MoFo, which means Vegan Month of Food. If you are not vegan, that’s ok, you can just think of it as ‘Month of Food’. In fact, I think the label scares people away sometimes, which is too bad. I love to eat, and I eat really delicious foods, so there is no reason to think that vegan food is bland or boring. In fact, the variety of foods I eat now has increased dramatically since ‘giving up’ meat and dairy. I’ll be posting about some of my favorite foods and products this month, and I hope you enjoy what I’ll be posting about. And now……… on to rice and beans. So simple & so delicious.
Rice & beans are easy to make, and when you have them cooked and ready in your fridge, you can easily throw them together with some veggies and/or more protein and you have a meal! It makes ‘what’s for dinner tonight’ a little easier, because now you have a base on which to build. I should add that my husband is from Costa Rica, so rice and beans are his staple foods, and he got me hooked on them as well.
I like to make about 3 cups of rice at a time and 3 & 1/2 cups of beans at a time. You probably want to cut the serving in half, unless you plan to eat rice & beans every day, or if you are going to freeze some.
Black Beans: We prepare our beans in a pressure cooker. It’s a fast and efficient way to cook many different foods, especially beans. Before cooking the beans, I soak them overnight so they get softer. This allows them to cook for less time in the pressure cooker. My husband bought our pressure cooker more than ten years ago, and the brand we have is Chef’s Design. If you do not have a pressure cooker, and aren’t interested in getting one, you can still soak the beans overnight and then boil them, but it will take a couple hours for them to cook vs. 18 minutes. (You can also buy cooked canned beans and saute them with the onions and garlic if you don’t want to deal with dried beans.)
Here is what you need for the beans (12-15 servings):
3 cups black beans
1-2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 onion (diced or chopped)
3 tbsp minced garlic (we use the kind in a jar, that is already minced)
1 tbsp salt
1. Rinse the beans well until the water runs clear. (Do not skip this step!)
2. Put the beans in a pitcher (or another container) and fill with water. Make sure there’s enough water for the beans to grow to three times their size. Let them sit over night. If you don’t have time for that, at least let them sit for three hours. (If you only let them soak for a few hours, you will have to increase the time in the pressure cooker by about 10 minutes.)
3. Heat oil in the pressure cooker (with the lid off) and saute onions & garlic until they are soft.
4. Add in the beans and water, the salt, and put the top on the pressure cooker and seal. Turn your oven burner on high. Wait for the cooker to start releasing pressure, turn the burner to low, and set the timer for 18 minutes.
5. Once the timer goes off, turn off the burner, and remove the cooker from the heat. The pressure cooker will take a while to release all it’s pressure, and you will hear a click when it does. This usually takes about a half hour, but if you need to eat your beans right away, then put the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over it. This helps it cool down, and you can open the top in a few minutes.
Rice: I have been working toward eating only brown rice since white rice is stripped of nutrients, but my husband strongly prefers white. If you choose brown over white, the main difference I’ve found is that you need to use more water, because brown absorbs more, and brown rice takes longer to cook. Cooking times for either type of rice may vary, so you need to keep checking and stirring your rice as you go.
Here is what you need for the rice (12-15 servings):
3 cups white rice (or brown)
4 & 1/2 cups water (you will need 6 cups if using brown rice)
1-2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 onion (diced or chopped)
1 carrot (chopped)
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 tbsp salt
1. Saute oil in pot and saute onions and carrots until soft.
2. Add in water and rice, flax seed and salt. Stir together and turn burner on high until boiling. Once boiling, turn burner to low and put lid on the pot.
3. Continue to check and stir rice every few minutes until the water is absorbed (about 20-40 minutes). Remove from heat.
And that’s it - side dishes for a week! On the next blog post, I will be making one of my favorite dishes from the rice and beans – gallo pinto!