Spicy Red Beans & Rice
I could live off of beans and rice. Like, easily. Beans and rice also happens to be a good meal for vegetarians because it forms a complete protein. Let’s go back to science class for a second…protein is comprised of 20 amino acids, 11 of which are produced by the human body—meaning, of course, that we have to get the other nine amino acids from the foods we eat. When a protein contains all nine of the amino acids, it’s referred to as a “complete protein.” Nuts/seeds, whole grains and beans (choose two) can all be combined to create a complete protein. Bam, science!
Though I usually opt for Mexican beans and rice (check out this recipe if you’re interested), sometimes I crave the smokiness and spiciness found in a Cajun-style red beans and rice. This is a one-pot meal, too, which makes it even better. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce gives the dish a nice bit of heat; though it is vegan, I think it’s made even better with a sprinkling of shredded sharp cheddar.
1 lb. red beans, soaked in water overnight
1 1/2 T. peanut oil (if you’re allergic to peanuts, use another high-heat oil like avocado, palm or sesame oil)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, cleaned and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (add more or less depending upon your heat preference)
1 T. smoked paprika
2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 T. soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 c. cooked brown rice
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, to garnish
1) Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the veggies are soft, or about 5-6 minutes.
2) Add 8 cups of water and stir well. Add the kale, chipotle peppers, paprika, oregano, chili flakes, brown sugar and bay leaves. Drain the beans and add to the pot as well. Season well with cracked black pepper, and add a bit of salt if desired.
3) Bring to a boil and allow to cook for five minutes. Reduce heat to a medium-low temperature and allow to simmer, uncovered, until the beans are soft and the liquid has been reduced (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours).
4) After the bean mixture has been cooking for about 45 minutes, cook the rice according to package directions.
5) When the bean mixture is done cooking, remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce. Season with additional salt & pepper, if desired.
6) Serve by ladling the rice into a bowl and topping with a couple ladles of the bean mixture. Garnish with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, if desired.
Original recipe by Vegetarian Ventures