By the end of high school, I pretty much thought black beans and rice was the definition of vegetarian. I used to eat this meal once a week. Actually, more like twice a week because my mom would always go crazy with the leftovers. We weren’t really a pasta kind of family, but my mom always made sure to make a pot of beans large enough to feed the whole Italian mafia if she so desired. That meant a lot of beans for us.
Now that I’m out on my own, I can see why this was a regular meal on our dining room table. It’s a flavorful dish that comes together easily and can be put on the table within the time it takes to make a pot of brown rice.
I had forgotten about this simple staple in my life, pushing it away for some time after I left home. In fact, these days it’s not just black beans I’ve been neglecting, but rice too. Quinoa has become my new rice. As one of my professors and fellow foodies once said, “Rice is so 2002.” But let’s not get carried away. It will always have its place, and with this dish, quinoa just wouldn’t do.
Anyways, now that some time has passed, I’m bringing this dish back into my life. Black beans and rice is no longer a mundane staple in my life. Now it’s just an easy and cheap meal that’s delicious in an unpretentious way. Add a little salsa and a few slices of avocado, and you might find yourself with a new weekly meal of your own. Just make sure you don’t go too overboard with the leftovers.
- -2 Tbsp. olive oil
- -15.5 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- -1 small onion, diced
- -1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- -3 medium-sized cloves garlic, minced
- -1 cup diced tomatoes
- -1 scant cup frozen corn
- -1 tsp. cumin
- -1/4 tsp. salt
- -1 cayenne pepper, optional
- -Pepper, to taste
- -1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- -1 cup short grain brown rice
- Combine rice with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook another 45-50 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in saute pan over medium-high. Saute onion, garlic, cayenne and pepper, until onion is translucent. Add cumin, salt and pepper. Saute for one minute. Stir in beans, tomatoes and corn. Reduce heat to a medium-low simmer, and cook another 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Add cilantro and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve atop rice. Pair with a side of spicy salsa, if desired.