Fast, Easy + Flavorful. Can It Be Done?

Tonight I have a meat-free dinner treat for you 🙂

This is actually a variation on one of the first recipes I came up with in the kitchen just a little over 2 years ago…

Spicy Black Beans & Coconut Rice

I can vividly remember making it for the family the first time The Man went on vacation with us.  It was as big a hit then, just as it is now.  For such a fast & easy recipe, it delivers some serious flavor punches!

With a combination of sweet coconut rice and spicy black beans w/ tomatoes, this meal is a perfect blend of tastes for the mouth.  And it’s about as easy as dumping some cans into a pot and cooking some rice.  Love it 🙂

Tonight I made a spin-off of the classic version, a variation based on what I had in the cupboards, because we’ve all been there now haven’t we?!

The foundation:

Beans and rice.

The original uses white rice and black beans.  Tonight I used brown rice and kidney beans.  It’s all about being flexible, right?

To get the bean mixture ready I chopped up some onion and a scotch bonnet pepper (slighty obsessed).

And cooked in olive oil until tender.

Note that the original recipe does not call for this step.  I was just feelin’ a lil’ crazyyyyy tonight 😛

Then in goes the tomatoes and beans.  These were boxed tomatoes leftover from another recipe adventure, which I stashed in a ziploc in the freezer.   Knew I’d find a good use for them later!

I drained and rinsed the beans this time too, but do what ya want, I’ve done it both ways.

Then I added a cup of water (which you would omit if you didn’t drain beans) and some spices – tonight was oregano and cinnamon.  Plus black pepper.

Guess I was feelin’ a lil’ spicyyyyy or something? 😉

While the rice cooked I let this simmer uncovered until it got nice n’ thick.

Speaking of the rice, I love cooking rice with coconut milk, seriously such a sweet treat!  If you’ve never tried it – you should.  Probably, like, tomorrow 😉

I use a water to coconut milk ratio of 1:1.  So if the amount of rice I’m cooking calls for 2 cups liquid, I’ll use 1 cup of each.

P.S.  Remember my heavy whipping cream trick from last night?  Works the same with coconut milk!  This stuff came straight from the freezer.

Once the beans are nice and thick and the rice is done, all you do is pile them up and dinner is served!

Dare I say that this is better than the original?!?!

It’s true.  Wow.  The cinnamon really gave it that extra touch which paired wonderfully with the sweet yet nutty brown rice.

Loved it.  Something about this dish is so warm and comforting.  A mild spicy savory paired with sweet just makes my taste buds happy I guess 😀

Reasons I love this meal:

1.  It is so easy.  Takes 30-40 minutes of pretty unsupervised cooking to make.

2.  It is so versatile.  You can use whatever types of the “foundation” you have on hand.  Plus add whatever spices tickle your fancy.  Same goes for the peppers, I’ve used jalapenos before and they are wonderful too.

3.  It is not only healthy, but also extremely frugal.  Beans and rice, when combined, make a complete protein.  Plus both ingredients are extremely easy on the wallet.

So there you go!  A wonderfully easy recipe that I hope you’ll enjoy 🙂

But maybe not as much as you’ll enjoy this… who knows?

A Fanatic Holiday treat…

Scary lookin’ picture right?  (I was playing with the camera haha :P)

But seriously, this is one of the most wonderful things I learned from my mother over the years.  From about November through February I keep a pot of apple juice and cinnamon sticks on the stove.  Heat to a low simmer and your house will smell heavenly, always.  Trust me.

I catch The Man turning this on all the time… guess I know where his priorities lie 😉

He actually requested that I buy a hot plate so I can put this in the den.  I’m not kidding.

Tonight’s Version of Spicy Beans & Coconut Rice

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet (or any hot pepper), diced
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • boxed or canned diced tomatoes (I used about 12 oz.)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup water
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

1.  Cook onion and pepper in olive oil until tender. 

2.  Add tomatoes, beans, 1 cup water and spices.  Bring to a boil then turn down to med-low and let simmer uncovered until thick, about 30 minutes.

3.  In the meantime, prepare rice according to directions using coconut milk ratios noted above (I used 1/2 cup rice to 1/2 cup coconut milk & 1/2 cup water tonight for 2 servings).

4.  Serve beans atop rice!

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2 responses to “Fast, Easy + Flavorful. Can It Be Done?

  1. YUM. I ‘ve had your original recipe book marked for a while now…guess I need to update my book mark and finally make this. I am a MAJOR bean & rice fan. Delicious. My mother in law always says to put some applesauce with cinnamon in the oven on low to make your house smell good- I haven’t tried it yet. Enjoy the rest of your week

  2. Wonderful recipe girl! Thanks!

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