I love rice and beans. I wasn’t a big bean eater growing up, but as an adult I’ve learned to appreciate the health benefits, as well as the taste, of all kinds of beans.
There are so many ways to prepare rice and beans that I wouldn’t even know how to define this dish in a traditional sense. I suppose many people think of New Orleans and their famous version. You can even buy mixes to make quick work of it, with the spices added and everything, but I never liked them much.
One simple and tasty way is to simmer the beans (I use black beans for this version) in a pan with chopped onion, garlic, and even a little finely diced green pepper if you want. Add a little salt and get a good flavor going, Mix with the rice of your choice and top with some chopped tomato. This is very good.
On Monday night I made a different version that came from a cookbook that had been collecting dust on my shelf for years. Why I’d been neglecting this cookbook I’ll never know. It’s called the Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter’s Cookbook. Don’t let the name fool you. The recipes are full of flavor and easy on the fat and calories.
This particular beans and rice recipe called for shredded carrot, chopped green onion, canned navy or pinto beans, cottage cheese, and shredded cheddar. Can you say comfort food?
Rice and Beans with Cheese
1 1/3 cup water
1 cup shredded carrot
2/3 cup long grain rice (I used brown rice)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 tsp instant chicken or vegetable bouillon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Dash bottled hor pepper sauce
One 15-oz. can pinto or navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
One 8-oz. carton plain low-fat yogurt
1 tbsp snipped fresh parsely
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1. In large saucepan combine water, shredded carrot, rice, green onions, bouillon, coriander, and hot sauce. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.
2. Stir in the beans, cottage cheese, yogurt, and parsley. Spoon into a 2 qt. baking dish. Bake, covered, in a 350* oven for 20 to 25 minuyes or until heated through. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar and bake, uncovered, 3 to 5 minutes more until cheese melts.
** I did not have coriander or yogurt and the dish came out fine. I also used single sized casserole crocks instead of one large baking dish. Bake time was reduced to about 10 minutes. I served this with fresh salad and little cheese toasts I made from slicing up a few whole wheat dinner rolls.
At 276 calories a serving, this was an incredibly filling and yummy meal. You can see how easy it is to make healthy beans and rice from (nearly) scratch, without using those mixes that are full of preservatives and other additives.
Nutrition facts per serving: 276 calories, 4 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 704 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 18 g protein.
Exchanges: 2 Starch, 1 Lean Meat, 1 Vegetable, 1/2 Milk
Cost per serving: $.95
2/3 cup rice $1.17
1 cup shredded carrot $.46
1/2 cup green onion $.79
1 15-oz can pinto beans $.89
1 cup cottage cheese $.83
1/2 cup shredded cheddar $.63
Total Cost for meal $4.77