Rice and beans

Rice and beans with a Mexican flavor. (Bill Hogan, Chicago Tribune / February 18, 2014)

I'm full of beans! You'll want to be, too, once you taste this zesty dish of pinto beans and brown rice. These super foods are loaded with protein, fiber and B vitamins, are low in fat and are inexpensive, yet together they provide all the amino acids needed for a complete protein.

This herb-and-spice-filled version of rice and beans was created by chef Oscar Gonzalez at the Bread Shop Kitchen, the restaurant I owned in Chicago in the 1980s.

Tips

•In season, substitute 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes for canned.

•If digesting beans gives you trouble, use fresh water instead of the bean liquid. Adding a strip of kombu seaweed when cooking will help too. And eat more beans. The more you eat the more your system builds up the enzymes that help to digest them.

Kay Stepkin is a vegetarian cooking instructor. Email her at foods@tribune.com.

Beans and rice

Soak: Overnight

Prep: 45 minutes

Cook: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

1 ½ cups dried pinto beans, sorted

4 cups water

¼ cup soy sauce, or to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions, quartered, thinly sliced

2 cups uncooked short-grain brown rice

2 tablespoons minced garlic, about 3 cloves

1 tablespoon each: ground cumin, paprika

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes