Sunday 14 December 2008

Rice and Beans

Last week I wasn’t feeling terribly inspired about cooking new dishes. It was a week of easy meals like pasta and dahl. Bog standard comfort food. But on Tuesday I decided to try some new Asian dishes to celebrate the warmer weather the forecasters had promised. It was not to be. Nipping out at lunchtime, I found the weather was cool and I just wanted stodgy heaviness rather than spicy lightness.

Fellow bloggers often help pull me out of a hole with great inspiration. In this instance, I was rescued by Sophie’s list of links which included a link to an article on Rice and Beans. I have heard people talk about Rice and Beans like it is a traditional dish. When I searched for it on the internet, I found that Wikipedia had an entry on it. But there is a disclaimer about the entry being about the Americas and that there are versions of this dish all over the world (such as dahl and rice). What I had in mind was beans and vegies tossed through the rice.

One of my recent favourite search engines is FoodBlogSearch and it was here that I found Vegan Yum Yum’s three versions of Rice and Beans: Rainbow Rice and Beans, Tahini Lemon Rice and Beans, and Italian Rice on Beans. All packed full of vegies, flavours and great ideas! Using these recipes I looked in my fridge and devised my own version that meant I didn’t even have to stop off at the supermarket on the way home. What I love about these recipes is that they give scope for lots of interesting versions. The tahini lemon dressing is high on my list of must-trys!

I added less flavouring than Vegan Yum Yum and found that the cheese or nutritional yeast flakes were necessary at the end. E loved it but had to add Tabasco Sauce as per usual. The second night when we had a little less leftover, I served it with some vegetarian sausages and chutney. As main meal or side dish, it was a healthy hearty dish that could be put together easily and quickly.

Italian Rice and Beans
(Inspired by Vegan Yum Yum)
Serves 3-4

1 cup brown rice, uncooked
40g pinenuts
1 dessertspoon of oil from semi-dried tomatoes (or olive oil)
½ red onion, chopped
½ red capsicum, chopped
1 green capsicum, chopped
1½ cups cooked black beans (or 400g tin of beans, drained)
400g tin of corn kernels
Pinch of salt
4 semi-dried tomatoes, chopped
8 kalamata olives, chopped
Juice and zest of ½ medium lemon
Handful of parsley
Black pepper, freshly ground
Parmesan cheese to serve (or cheddar cheese or nutritional yeast flakes)

Cook brown rice as you normally do – I boil it in plenty of water for about 30 minutes. Gently toast pinenuts in a dry frypan and stir frequently.

Meanwhile chop vegies and then fry onions in oil for about 3 minutes or till starting to soften. Add capsicums, beans, corn and salt and fry til just warming up. Turn off heat and keep aside til rice is cooked.

When rice is cooked and drained, return it to a large saucepan (or use frypan with onion mixture if large) and add onion mixture, toasted pinenuts, semi-dried tomatoes, olives, juice and zest of lemon, parsley and black pepper. Serve hot with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

On the stereo:
Against the Modern World: Sol Invictus


  1. It's true that when I think of 'rice and beans' I do think of something more Latin and hearty than your interpretation... but I love the look of the Italian version! It looks so fresh and healthy. Yum.

  2. I used to make traditional rice and beans all the time and then somehow forgot about it. This variation sounds great--much more interesting than my brown and beige one!

  3. I love dishes like these, they so tasty and filling, the fact that they are so easy to make is a bonus!

  4. When I think of "rice and..." I think of either rice & dahl (Indian), rice & peas (Jamaican, with gungo peas), or rice & beans as I ate it too many times to count in Cuba (with little black beans). This variation looks delicious & very colourful, just the thing to brighten a winter table! :)

  5. This looks like health on a plate! I love the different colours and I imagine it had a lot of different textures as well. I've read about an Italian dish called 'risi e bisi' (which means rice and peas) - I think it's one of those quick and comforting dishes.

    I hope the weather perks up soon!

  6. Glad to be of help Johanna :-)

    I love it that your version is so easily thrown together from the store cupboard. Rice and beans is such a versatile idea to have in mind when you can't be bothered to go shopping - just so many variations possible.

  7. I can't believe I've lived for so many years without trying rice and beans like this. It looks fantastic, really healthy and hearty :)

  8. Mmmm I love the Italian and Lemon Tahini one from veganyumyum. Yours looks so pretty and yummy too!

  9. thanks Lisa - I think of something a bit more hearty too I think but this dish seemed more summery - and quick!

    thanks Ricki - would be interested to see your traditional brown and beige rice and beans - am sure it would go down well in winter!

    thanks Flower - quick is so good on a work night!

    Thanks Rachel - I like your suggestions for rice and beans from around the world - have never heard of gungo beans but they sound interesting!

    thanks Lysy - I do love a dish with lots of different colours and textures - and yes the sun came out as soon as we decided it was too wet to hang the washing outside :-)

    thanks Sophie - you are right about all the variations - I liked that aspect of the article you linked to!

    Thanks Lorraine - I always think of rice and beans being an American dish rather than something we have in Australia so I am not surprised you haven't had it!

    Thanks Vegetation - yes lots of good ideas from vegan yum yum

  10. Love how colourful this is. Bookmarked. :)

  11. thanks Wendy - yes it does look pretty with all the colours!

  12. I just like beans & rice in all ways and especially when veggies get in on the act. And I really appreciate when left overs can be new with little additions like you did the second night;)

  13. Thanks Tanna - leftovers are great when only a small tweak will change a meal into something new the next night!

  14. I love rice and beans! Or rice, beans and lentils! Versatile and cheap and so nutritious and yummy!


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