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Effortlessly healthy eating
05.06.2014

Beans & Rice: The Delicious Vegan Staple

Gallo Pinto

When transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle the easiest thing to start cooking at home is beans and rice. Master this delicious staple and you will always be just minutes from a nutritious and filling meal. It is endlessly customizable. Add any combo of veggies, jazz it up with some herbs and/or nuts and you have a gourmet one pot meal that never disappoints.

There is one rule: it must always be brown rice. Why? Fiber is why. Fiber does three things: 1) it is bulkier so it helps to fill you up without adding extra calories; 2) it slows the absorption of sugars by your body, helping to maintain a consistent blood sugar level and prevent insulin spikes, and ; 3) it increases your body’s ability to absorb the vitamins and nutrients from the food you’re eating. Fiber is what differentiates complex carbs from simple carbs and that’s why you should avoid all simple carbs. This article on Good Vs. Bad Carbohydrates explains it very nicely.

My go to meal is this version of Gallo Pinto (inspired by a recent trip to Costa Rica) made with black beans and short grain brown rice, topped with fresh avocado and tomato.

1 cup short grain brown rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped (optional)
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced

Rinse the rice well using a fine mesh strainer. Place the rice and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and stir once to make sure there is no more liquid at the bottom of the pan.

Sautéing the onion and bell pepper is optional and takes a bit more time. If you are in a hurry simply leave out this step as the beans, rice, tomato and avocado are delicious on their own. Start by sautéing the onion, over medium heat, in 1/2 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil until they are translucent. Add the bell pepper and sauté an additional 5 minutes.

Mix the onion and bell pepper into the rice and then add the black beans. Serve topped with the tomato and avocado, salt and pepper and your choice of salsa or hot sauce.

Makes 2 servings.

Also try these easy vegetable and brown rice combos:

Simple Red Curry Coconut Squash

Kale and Brown Rice Bowl (leave out the brussel sprouts and broccolini for a quicker option)