Black Beans and Brown Rice

November 17, 2009

We have a couple friends who spent some time in Kenya, and when they came back to the States they resolved to eat rice and beans once a week in an effort to simplify their lives and diets. This recipe is based on the delicious recipe those friends served to us on occasion. The bacon is optional – it adds great flavor, but you could replace it with a couple tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil. You could also use a can of rinsed, drained black beans instead of the fresh beans – just stir them in with the green bell pepper 15 minutes before the end of cooking.

  • 1 C dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 C brown rice
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 ½ C chicken broth (gluten-free)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 large tomato or 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • handful of chopped cilantro or flat parsley

Cook the soaked black beans in enough water to cover by a couple of inches for about two hours. Drain beans in a colander.

In a large pot cook 4 strips of bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Crumble the bacon when it has cooled. Add the diced onion, garlic, cumin and celery to the remaining bacon grease and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the brown rice and cook for another minute. Add the cooked beans, salt, bay leaf and chicken broth. Cover and bring the beans and rice a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 45 minutes, then stir in the diced green bell pepper. Cover and cook for 15 minutes more. Turn the heat off and let it steam for another 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover, squeeze on the lime juice and mix in the diced tomato, crumbled bacon and the chopped cilantro or parsley.


We love one pot meals! Here is one of our favorite standbys with lentils, which are sometimes referred to as the “fast food” of legumes because they require no soaking. Just give them a thorough rinse in a colander. You could cut down the prep time by pulsing your veggies in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped. Also, if you have a pressure cooker, this cooks in about 15 minutes under high pressure.

  • 2 T coconut oil (or your oil of choice)
  • 2 small to medium carrots or 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • dash of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 14.5z can of diced tomatoes with green chilies (or plain tomatoes and a small can of chopped green chilies)
  • ¾ C plain brown rice
  • ¾ C lentils (rinsed)
  • 3 C gluten-free chicken broth (or 3 C water and 1 T of gluten-free bouillon)
  • handful of unsalted cashew pieces (optional but very good – Trader Joes sells cashew pieces for reasonable prices)
  • handful of chopped cilantro, shredded cheese and sour cream

Sauté diced onion, carrot, celery and garlic in 2 T of coconut oil over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and salt and fry another minute. Stir in bell pepper and tomatoes with their juices and cook for a minute. Add rice and lentils, cashews and broth. Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender, about 1 hour. If lentils or rice are not tender enough when liquid is absorbed at the end of cooking, add about another 1/4 C water and cook a little longer.

Stir in cilantro and serve with grated cheese and sour cream if you like.

Smashed black bean dip

October 13, 2009

Sometimes we need a quick, satisfying meal, and this dip does the trick in our house. It tastes great served with corn tortilla chips covered in melted cheese, or in a corn tortilla quesadilla.

  • 1 15z can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • good handful of chopped cilantro
  • good drizzle of olive oil
  • salt to taste (maybe ¼ to ½ tsp)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Either give the whole mixture a few pulses with an immersion blender, or pulse half of the mixture in a food processor/blender and then add back into bowl with unblended portion. The texture should be “smashed,” but not completely pureed.

If you like your food spicy, you could easily add a jalapeno with some of the seeds or a dash of cayenne pepper.