Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Not Red Beans & Rice, But It's Good

I asked the husband last night what he wanted for our meatless dinner of the week (yeah, we completely missed Monday this week and Tuesday, for that matter), and he surprised me with "red beans and rice." He continued to tell me how he went out to lunch with co-workers last week and one of them apparently had red beans and rice. It looked good, he told me. Well, red beans and rice is typically made with ham and sausage, isn't it? Aside from the fact that I don't do sausage - ever - this meal simply wasn't going to work because I wasn't planning to serve meat. But the husband had shown some interest in helping me plan dinner, so I couldn't completely disregard his request.

After racking my brain for hours, I finally turned to my Whole Foods app and found something that I thought he'd like - and it called for beans and rice. (By the way, I totally recommend this app. It's filled with healthy recipes and includes the nutritional information for each. You don't even have to have wireless to use it. Bottom line: If you like to cook or just plain have to cook and you care about what you eat, you need this app. You can thank me later.)

I was really happy with the way this recipe turned out - and so was the husband. (Yes, we ended up adding some baked tilapia to up the protein, but I'm still going to count this as a successful meatless Wednesday.) The rice was the fluffiest brown rice I've ever cooked. I really think rinsing and dry roasting it helped. The husband's take on it? "This is probably the best brown rice I've ever had. Do I think it's as good as white rice? No. But it's not bad." And I fed him rice and beans. Overall, I was a winner tonight, and I have a feeling this pesce-vegetarian dish will become a regular in this house. Now go download the app and lemme know what you think.

Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice
From Whole Foods Market

Brown Rice:

2 cups uncooked brown rice
4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

Black Beans:

1 TBSP olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pepper, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste

Place rice in a strainer and rinse with cool water. Heat a saucepan over low heat and add rice. Dry roast the rice for 3 minutes, stirring, until the rice is dry and fragrant. (This really took exactly 3 minutes for me.)

Add the water and salt; cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour or until rice has absorbed the water and is cooked.

When you think the rice has just about 20 minutes left to cook, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Saute the onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the pepper, garlic and chili powder. Continue to saute for another 2 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes (undrained). Simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 15 minutes. (It was at this point that the husband told me it looked really good; he thought it was so colorful. Unfortunately, he added that he thought it looked better before I added the beans.) Add the beans and simmer for 5 minutes or until heated.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Serves 4-6
Amount Per Serving, According to Whole Foods (without fish): 430 calories, 6 g fat, 84 g carbs, 14 g protein

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