This past summer, my friends Mel and Woody hosted a couples weekend at their cottage. There were 10 of us in total, and it was a really great time full of swimming, games (including Poker, and my fave Pictionary), relaxing, drinks, and of course EATING.
Woody made some pretty serious ribs for everyone on night number one, which got rave reviews from the boys:
But it was Mel’s beans and rice on night two that really stole the show for me. Most of the time at cottages all I eat is meat: burgers, hotdogs, ribs, steak…and maybe some bagged salad on the side if I’m lucky. When Mel’s beans and rice entered the picture, it was so refreshing to eat something substantial and healthy, sans meat! I gobbled it up and went back for more.
That spicy beans and rice dish really stuck with me. I have been fantasizing about eating it again ever since that cottage weekend, and kept meaning to ask Mel for her recipe.
Well, I finally got it, so tonight I tried it out!
The greatest thing about the rice and beans, in my opinion, is that it has a story behind it! Mel told me she was originally inspired to make it after visiting Costa Rica. There they eat it for both breakfast and lunch every day (and call it ‘casado’), which was perfect for Mel, since she is a vegetarian, and therefore didn’t have to struggle to eat while traveling there.
Mel let me know that she improvises with her recipe, and made me feel free to improvise with it as well. I wanted to stay true to her recipe, at least the first time, so the only change I made was using brown rice instead of white.
- 1 and a half cups rice
- 1 can dark red kidney beans
- 1 can black beans
- 1 (small) can peaches and cream corn
- 1 cup salsa (Mel and I both used half a small jar of Tostitos medium)
- A few dashes of cumin, chili powder and garlic powder
- A couple pinches of paprika
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste (I omitted the salt)
Cook the rice as normal (I am a terrible rice cooker apparently, and I think I slightly overcooked mine). Add beans and corn and let them warm up on medium-low heat with the rice for about 5-10 mins. Stir in salsa, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese.
This was even a hit with my serious meat-loving lovah, who said he didn’t even miss the meat! We both cleaned our plates.
I would not change anything about this recipe (except I’d be more careful with my rice). I thought it was absolutely perfect as is. It made a LOT, so I set aside some for us for lunch tomorrow, and then froze the rest. Easy, healthy, delicious. My top three fave qualities in a recipe.
This recipe is also gluten-free in addition to being vegetarian.
EDIT: I made this again and it looked like this:
Pretty big difference! I clearly sucked at the rice cooking the first time.