As part of my New Year’s resolution to “be a little more vegetarian” I’ve been playing with some new recipes.   I’m a huge fan of Mexican food and love black beans.  Did you know (I didn’t until I looked it up) a cup of black beans is packed with only 220 calories and 15 grams of protein?  And did you know a one-pound bag of dried beans makes six cups?  I’ve tried both canned and the dried variety and I have to say I like the dried better.  Yes, dried beans require more time because you have to soak the beans overnight and boil them the next day, but just a little bit of planning will give you a product with reduced sodium and a fuller flavor .

Black Beans and Rice

1 onion

8 oz of mushrooms

1-2 T olive oil

2 large tomatoes (you can also use a 16 oz can of diced tomatoes)

1-2 cloves of garlic

1-2 teaspoons cumin

1-2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 pinch of red pepper

16 ounces of black beans (hydrated dry or canned will do)

For the rice: Before you begin make your beans, make a pot of white rice according to package directions.  I buy my rice in bulk so I always cook according to a 1 to 1.5 ratio:  1 cup of white rice to 1.5 cups of water or chicken stock.  For brown rice it’s a 1 to 2 ratio:  1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of liquid.  Place rice in a pan with a little olive oil and let it heat in the pan for a minute.  Add water or stock.  When it reaches a boil, reduce heat and put a lid on the pan.  Don’t open the lid for twenty minutes (50 for brown rice) and then you’ll have perfect rice.

For the beans: Mince the onion, mushrooms and garlic and sauté in olive oil.  Add diced tomatoes and black beans.  When tender, add the cumin, sea salt and red pepper.  By the time the beans have cooked down, the white rice will be done.   Some of my favorite toppings include cheese, sour cream, salsa, and sliced avocado.

This dish cooks in about 20 minutes.

Favorite toppings include sour cream, cheese, avocado and salsa.