While rice and beans was the unfortunate catalyst for an epic fallout with my normally beloved bro, I’m still a fan (of the dish…and my bro). The dish is perfectly nutritious, jaw-droppingly cheap, and as flexible as Gabby Douglas. I mean, you can do anything you want to it, and it will just be damn good.
And a bag of dried beans costs like $2, tops, and a bag of long-grain brown rice (which lasts me the temporal equivalent of two bags of beans) also costs about $2.
In the spirit of paying it forward, I am sharing a couple of my favorite recipes and variations with you all:
1. Easiest rice and beans ever: one can of black beans, one jar of salsa, three cups leftover rice. I don’t love using canned beans because I have no control over the salt and other additives, but I totally appreciate how awesome it is to have dinner ready about four minutes after you get home.
2. Basic, authentic Cuban black beans and rice. This is the first rice and beans recipe I tried. It’s extremely easy to make, has very few ingredients, and tastes amazing with a little salsa and some cilantro. If you want to make the adult transition from eating chips and salsa for dinner to having a meal, this recipe is for you.
3. Thirteen-bean salad…with rice: I was inspired to try this because we’ve had a bag of this Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix haunting our cupboards since the winter. I figured if red beans and blacks beans could be so delicious, how much more delicious would a combination of 13 kinds of beans be? And if people love three-bean salad, how much more would they love 13-bean salad? Pour a nice red wine vinaigrette over the top, and you’ve got a meal that can go for days. Don’t forget to serve it with some brown rice on the side!
4. Moroccan rice and bean salad: This recipe combines black beans cumin, which is a winning combination. Not only that, this is served as a salad, which means we can enjoy it on summer nights when the weather is warm, and also I can have it for lunch in the office without waiting in line for the microwave. And Charlotte at Mennonite Girls Can Cook recommends it as a crowd-pleaser for those big potlucks everyone loves to have when the weather is so nice!
5. Indian rice and beans: I got this inspiration from a similar list at No Meat Athlete, but basically I just cooked the chickpeas in the slowcooker, fried up the onions, garlic and ginger with some curry powder, garam masala, and salt, and then mixed in the strained, cooked chickpeas. I mixed all that in with some cooked brown rice, and boom, Indian food for a week. Next time, I’ll add some greens like spinach or kale. I also prefer to add fresh tomatoes instead of canned. If you use mung beans instead of chickpeas, you’ve just made dahl. Aren’t you amazing?
6. Chinese rice and beans: Chinese people have already perfected fried rice, so making Chinese-style rice and beans was no big deal: just use cooked beans instead of, or along with, the bag of frozen mixed veggies you always use (don’t lie). I got my inspiration from Tangstein’s Blog: Healthy Chinese Home Cooking, but I prefer to use black beans instead of red (because black beans already show up in a lot of Chinese dishes). However, don’t trying telling Chinese people that this is Chinese food: you’ll only get nervous laughs and quizzical faces. Stick with tofu and rice if your goal is authenticity.
Even easier? Eat some pre-cooked beans with some leftover fried rice. Rice and beans. You’re welcome.
While trying to keep track of all the awesome ideas I was finding online, I made a Pinterest board for awesome-looking rice and beans recipes. Go check it out!