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.
•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 email@example.com.
Beans and rice
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
4 cups vegetable broth
3 large green peppers, seeded, cut into 1-inch squares
1 can (28 ounces) Italian whole tomatoes, in juice, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
½ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of water to cover. Drain, rinse and place in a large saucepan with 4 cups fresh water; heat to a simmer. Cook over low heat, covered, until almost tender, about 15 minutes; stir in the soy sauce. Simmer until the beans are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the rice develops a nutty aroma, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cumin, paprika and red pepper flakes.
3. Combine the bean-cooking liquid with enough water to make 2 cups; add with the broth to the rice. Heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; cook, covered, without stirring, until tender, about 50 minutes.
4. Stir in the beans, green peppers, tomatoes with juice, salt and oregano; cook until the peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in cilantro. Taste and add more salt or soy sauce, if needed.
Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 47 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 1,207 mg sodium, 12 g fiber