Sunday, March 11, 2012

Red Beans and Rice

So I am about a week into my Pantry Challenge and I have lots of ideas for meals for the coming week. This past week I made some red beans and rice, some Chinese-style stir-fried bok choy, some black bean sweet potato soup,  and for this weekend (to take to work) some gluten-free falafel. The black bean soup was a failure, but it has some real potential. In fact, the main reason it came out terrible was because my black beans are apparently really old. I cook dry beans from scratch all the time, but there was just no saving these. They were actually give to me, so who knows how long they've been hanging out in someone else's pantry! I'm going to try to cook the rest of them (I've got two cups left), just in case I did something wrong, so we'll see... Pantry items used in the failure soup: dried beans, spices.

The Chinese-style bok choy was good, but it can be better. I originally made it with some leftover tofu, but as I was eating it, I decided that it would be WAY better if I left out the tofu (or at least just served it on the side, not with it), and stir-fried it with some shiitake mushrooms. Then, I should put a few toasted walnuts on it and serve it over quinoa. Now that would be perfection, and I'm going to make it this weekend and post the recipe sometime soon. Pantry items used: rice noodles (that's what I originally ate it with). Haha. This is supposed to be a pantry challenge, but all I want to eat are stir-fries!

I also made some falafel. I used the recipe that I have on here, but I used a cup of fresh parsley instead of dried (I'm really digging that Italian parsley!) and I made it gluten-free by using homemade gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of regular ones. I think I might just update that particular post and put those variations on there instead of writing a new one. Pantry items used: spices, canned beans.

And last but not least, my red beans and rice. Lately I've been hungering for those two humble vegan staples, so that was one of the first dishes I decided to make. Going off what I know about Cajun food (which is definitely not a lot), I sautéed together some bell peppers, onions, and celery with some thyme, added some flavorful rice, red beans, and hot sauce and voilà! A very basic red beans and rice recipe. Pantry items used: canned beans, spices, brown rice (the last of what was in the pantry), oil.

Note: I used small red beans, not kidney beans. There are some canned varieties simply labeled "red beans" or they are sold in bulk as "small red beans" and those would be best here. However, I'm sure you could use kidney beans, if you wanted.

Red Beans n' Rice:
1/2 Tb. olive oil
1 green pepper, diced
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. thyme (not the powdered kind)
3/4 c. brown rice
1/2 Tb. vegan butter
1 bay leaf
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. hot sauce (although you can add more or less to taste)
Sea salt to taste

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown rice (rinsed first, and excess water drained off), and sauté the rice in the butter until it's golden and fragrant. Add the bay leaf and about 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, the reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.

2. When the rice is almost done (about 30 minutes in), sauté the green pepper, celery, and onion in olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the thyme and sauté another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.

3. To the pepper-onion mix, add the red beans, liquid smoke, hot sauce, and sea salt. Stir, and cook until heated through, about another 5-7 minutes.

4. Drain the rice once it is done cooking, and serve the beans over the rice. Feel free to add more hot sauce!

This recipe makes four small-ish servings for 252 calories, 2.9 grams of fat, 10.3 grams of fiber (gotta love those beans!), and 8.3 grams of protein. It's is good by itself, but it would be really good served alongside some vegan sausage (like maybe some Field Roast) and some cooked greens!

1 comment:

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