Monday, January 5, 2009
It's a typical story but true - after gorging on food of all sorts over the holidays, I actually couldn't stand the thought of any more sugar and started craving whole grains and greens. So I devised this healthy version of rice and beans, with spinach, brown rice, and quinoa for added nutrition. For flavor, I tossed in salsa and cheddar cheese, but plenty of other cheeses would work well with this, and you can dial down or up the cheese as much as you want. This recipe is endlessly flexible. Use all brown rice, or all quinoa. Swap in an onion or shallots for the leek depending on what you have on hand. Other greens besides spinach, such as kale, swiss chard, thinly sliced cabbage, or even chopped brussel sprouts will work just as well here.
My boyfriend called it his "favorite thing you've ever made." Of course - this is exactly the kind of one pot dish he loves - a creamy bowl of hearty grains, protein and greens. I only wish I had made more because he ate about 3 straight servings, leaving me without leftovers, so next time I might double the recipe.
Healthy Beans and Rice
1 cup dried black beans (or 2 cans black beans)
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup quinoa
1 bunch spinach
1/4 cup grated cheese
1 cup salsa
crushed hot pepper
Soak dried beans overnight (or bring to a boil and then let soak for one hour). Rinse beans and then return to pot covered with two inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 60-90 minutes.
Combine rice, quinoa, and 2 1/2 cups water in a small pot, and simmer for about 40 minutes until rice is tender.
After about 30 minutes, rinse and chop the leek into half moons. In a large pan, sautee leeks over low heat. Then rinse the spinach, chop into small pieces, and sautee until wilted. Add salsa to pan to warm.
When rice and beans are done, combine in pan with spinach, grated cheese, salsa, and spices. Makes about 4 servings.