Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Great Vegetarian Main Dish

Back when we were vegetarian, Cuban Black Beans and Rice was a staple meal in our house. I still make it but not nearly as often as I once did. I made up the recipe from a suggestion in "Laurel's Kitchen," first edition. The meal tasted so good tonight that it was really hard for me not to take a second helping.

I usually serve the black beans and rice with a garnish of stewed tomatoes and chopped green onions. Since there haven't been any green onions available from the garden in a few months now, I used chopped red onions instead.


1 cup uncooked black beans
4 cups water
1 sweet green pepper, chopped into 1" chunks
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

Bring the black beans and 4 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook over a medium heat until beans are tender, about one hour. (Check water now and then, adding more water so the beans don't scorch.)

When beans are tender, add the green pepper, onion, garlic and bay leaf and approximately 1 cup more water and cook another 30 minutes using a lower heat. The consistency should be about like that of a thick chili. Before serving, stir in the oil and vinegar and remove the bay leaf.

For each serving, ladle black beans over a bed of hot rice. On top, add about 1/4 cup stewed chopped tomatoes and garnish with chopped green (or red) onion. I prefer the tomatoes at room temp but you could heat them if you wish.

I like to serve this menu:

Cuban Black Beans and Rice
Hard Rolls
Creamy Cucumber Salad
Lemon Pound Cake

Doesn't that sound good? We were super spartans tonight in that all we had was the main dish. No hard rolls (sigh) because of staying away from bread, no cuc salad because I don't buy cucs when I can't get them from the garden, and no Lemon Pound Cake. Such deprivation! I have to immodestly say I make the BEST Lemon Pound Cake, but you know there ain't no desserts in this here house right now. (Double sigh. The Cuban Black Beans and Rice sure were good though!) I put all leftovers (bean mixture, rice, tomatoes, onion garnish) all together and eat for lunch the next day.


Jenyfer Matthews said...

I love black beans and LAUREL'S KITCHEN - sadly, my copy of that cookbook is back in Cairo with the rest of my things... and my husband.

Dessert...does a glass of wine count?

Lisa said...

Hi Mama Pea!
We had Black Beans and Rice for last night too! Do great minds think alike?! My recipe differs a little from yours, but I shall definitely try yours next time. I garnish mine with cilantro...love cilantro! Sometimes it's "where's the beans/rice" with all the cilantro in my bowl! I even purchased seeds to try growing our own black beans this year.

Have a good day today!

Leigh said...

Yum. This absolutely sounds like my kind of meal. Fortunately, black beans grow well in my garden!

odiie said...

Black beans and rice have become one of my favorite meals. I just canned up a dozen jars of black beans given to me by a friend. We'll be having black beans and rice whenever we want. :)

Mama Pea said...

Jen - There was a period, I think back in the late 70s and 80s, when most everything I cooked was from "Laurel's Kitchen."

I've had one glass of wine in the 7 weeks we've been trying to lose weight. It was W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L.

Lisa - Yep, black beans are a fave in this household, too. You should be able to grow them in your area. Lucky you! We can only manage fresh cilantro for a short time in the summer months, but I've grown it for the past few years and really enjoy it also.

Leigh - I can get them to grow. Having a long enough season to get them to maturity is another matter!

odiie - Having the beans pre-cooked will sure make them easier to use. I never buy canned beans (even organic ones) because there is SO much more flavor in ones cooked at home.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I love me the black beans. We go through 50 pounds in 6 months. I tend to put them in everything. In fact I make a black bean bread. Opps, sorry the B word.

fiona@fionacampbell.ca said...

This looks delicious! I'm the only strict vegetarian in our house, but as I do most of the cooking, the rest of the crew eats a lot of veg meals. I'm always looking for new things to do with beans & rice (both family favs) so I think I'll add this to my 'to try' list. Thanks!

Alla said...

That really does sound good. Black beans and rice are a favorite for me. I think I just might try this for supper tonight. Thanks for the recipe.

Erin said...

VEGETARIAN! (she runs screaming for the nearest pastured side of beef...) Seriously, though, I LOVE black beans with fresh salsa, mmmmm, and this looks delicious!

Mama Pea said...

Jane - Bread? Bread?? Did you say something about having some bread? Now I sure would be eager to see your bread recipe that has black beans in it!

Fiona - I think you'll like this one. We had leftovers for lunch today and it was yummy!

Alla - You're surely welcome!

Erin - Oh, you are SUCH a pain in the butt! (But you make me laugh a lot.)

fall soft on a thought said...

thanks for sharing this! we've got loads and loads of black beans from our last season that we're struggling to use up. i was going to try a black bean pumpkin soup, but this looks more appealing.
i grew up farming in maine, i imagine your season is shorter still. i'm curious, what other dry beans to you grow?

Mama Pea said...

Rae - Welcome and thanks for taking the time to comment. That's our problem. Except for the very exceptional year, we can't grow dry beans. We've experimented growing them but always have to pull the plants up by the roots and hang somewhere under cover (the garage has worked best) for the beans to fully dry. You can imagine it's pretty hard to do this with only one variety let alone a couple/few different kinds of beans!