Thursday, March 19

Veggie-ful Black Beans and Brown Rice

4 servings
Total Price: NY $ 7.33/ NY $ 16.11
Price per serving: NY $1.83/ NY $4.03

So you probably didn’t need me to tell you that rice and beans are budget-friendly. And you probably have already figured out that subbing brown rice for the traditional white makes the whole works healthier. What makes this rice ‘n’ beans recipe a little different is the quantity of veggies that go into it. The result is a really tasty dish that is chock full of protein, fiber, vitamins and I’m guessing those phytochemical and antioxidant thingies one hears so much about these days. You can also throw in extra odds and ends veggies you happen to have on hand, like red pepper, carrots, even celery or zucchini chopped up kind of fine. The leftovers from this pack great for lunch: just put the rice on the bottom of your Tupperware, layer on the beans and tomatoes in the same container, and pop in the microwave at lunch time. It’s so simple my brother could cook it, and cheap, cheap, cheap! Everyone I’ve ever made this for or recommended it to has loved it. (Hmmm, or at least that’s what they tell me. . .) Here’s hoping you will too.

  • 1 14.5 oz can black beans (NY $1.79)
  • 2 tomatoes (NY $2.70)
  • 1 large green pepper (NY $0.95)
  • 2 medium onions (NY $1.30)
  • 2 cloves garlic (NY $ 0.59 for one head)
  • Balsamic vinegar (staple)
  • White cooking wine (staple, or NY $3.29 for 16 oz.)*
  • Oregano (staple)
  • Salt (staple)
  • Pepper (staple)
  • Olive Oil (staple)
  • Cooked brown rice (staple, or NY $5.49 for 36 oz.)

Chop and saute the onion, green pepper and garlic in 2 tbsps olive oil, until tender. (About ten minutes.) Add the can of beans with their liquid. Add 2 tbsps or so balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsps or so wine, 1.5 tsps oregano, black pepper and a little salt. Add some water if its looking dry or if you like your beans soupy. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Serve over brown rice, topped generously with seeded, chopped raw tomato.

Very loosely adapted from the black beans and white rice recipe that was on the back of the Goya can about 10 years ago

* A note on cooking wine: Yes, this recipe uses it. If you don’t know, cooking wine is an shelf stable product available in the grocery store, made by adding salt to wine as a preservative. Its an inexpensive product that some folks get truly virulent about. There are many who will tell you that if you wouldn’t drink a wine, you shouldn’t cook with it either. Now, there are some dishes for which that is undoubtedly true, but rice ‘n’ beans really isn’t one of them. And its not the most wallet-friendly of philosophies in any event. Unless you were going to cork open a bottle anyway (and, though tempting, something we’re trying to avoid these days, emphasis on trying) its silly to do so just to dump a few glugs into your beans. However, if you’re really stuck on avoiding cooking wine but still want to cook with wine, here are some other ideas. You can save leftovers from a bottle you haven’t quite finished drinking (note: this does not happen frequently in my house), freeze them in an ice cube tray, then transfer to a zip-top baggie and store in the freezer for future cooking. Just toss the cubes into the pot while cooking, or defrost first if the temperature drop would mess up your recipe. Another idea is to pick up minibar size bottles of el cheapo wine at the liquor store, and use those for cooking. For this recipe which only calls for about 2 tbsps, however, you’d end up with extra Sutter Home. And tell me, oh wine snob who didn’t want to condescend to use cooking wine in the first place, do you really want to drink that? Another tip is to substitute dry vermouth, which is shelf-stable even after opening, for the wine in your recipe. All tips and tricks worth trying for different purposes. But really, for rice and beans? Go on, just shell out the $3.29 for the cooking wine. I won’t tell.

Nutrition Facts
Approximate values per serving, assuming ½ cup brown rice
Calories: 334 Protein: 11.8 g Iron: 16.3%
Total Fat: 8.5 g Vitamin A: 13.4 % Magnesium: 30.1%
Cholesterol: 0 Vitamin B-16: 20.9% Niacin: 13.6%
Sodium: 20.7 mg Vitamin C: 52.4% Phosphorus: 24.5%
Potassium: 54.3g Vitamin E: 8.4% Riboflavin: 8.2%
Total Carb: 54.3 g Calcium: 5.2% Selenium: 16.4%
Fiber: 11.4 g Copper: 19.8% Thiamin: 26.5%
Sugars: 1.2 g Folate: 39.7% Zinc: 12.0%


  1. This looks great! Love how adaptable it is. Keep posting the great ideas!

  2. So glad you like it so far! If you try this recipe, or esp. if you play around with it, please post back and let us know how it goes!

  3. What a great idea! I love that you include the cost per serving with each dish- I do the same thing when I'm figuring out what to make for the week. If I have a little left over from my budget, then it goes into my "Chocolate Fund"! ;-)

  4. Thanks but SSSHHH!!! you're giving my husband ideas!

  5. Scene from my house right now, courtesy of Angelia

    Lovely But Unemployed Husband: MMmmm, chocolate fund . ..

    Re(cession)ipes: No.

    LBUH: Or what about a beer fund . .. .

    R: Still no.

    LBUH: I know, a BACON fund!

    R: Good god NO!!

    [Curtain falls]

  6. Tried this last night and the whole family loved it, it's sure to become a family favorite! I think your blog is very clever and love the way you list all your facts and data per serving.
    Keep up the good work!

  7. now i remember this one! it is truly a classic. and always a favorite.

  8. Thanks for the tips on the cooking wine. That's totally helpful.


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