Rice Kernel is my husband’s “mini-me.” They may be 27 years apart, but they look alike (down to the fingers and toes), have the same zany sense of humor, and share similar temperaments. So when Rice Kernel turns 10, I’ll know to sift through the hedges and bushes on our property in search of dozens of empty candy wrappers. If it weren’t for the fact that he came from me, I’d have only two tenuous claims to maternity: the same sprinkling of red and gold hairs on our otherwise brown crowns and a love of beans and vegetables. I did say they were tenuous.
While my little boy has followed in his father’s footsteps and happily abandoned his formerly vegan diet (remember, he didn’t like eggs or milk for the longest time and routinely pushed aside the meat on his plate), he still delights in brown rice and beans – one of his earliest, and most favorite, dishes. It’s a healthy mix of whole grains, vegetables, and beans to provide some protein – perfectly complete and hearty as a side or main dish or, my preference, a post-run or post-gym snack.
Brown Rice and Beans
- 1 cup onion (yellow or red), chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth (low-sodium or homemade)
- 2¼ cups water
- 1½ cups brown rice (long or medium-grain)
- 1-2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (if you use 2 cans, it will be more beans than rice)
- ¾ cup corn kernels (fresh from cob, or frozen)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (and/or scallions or chives)
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, adjust to taste)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- Add chicken broth and water to a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the rice and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook over low heat until liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in beans and corn and warm through.
- When rice is done, fluff with a fork, stir in the vegetable and bean mixture. Mix in the cilantro or chives and adjust seasonings.
Serving options: We served with a chili-rubbed, pan-seared chicken breast and side salad. Top with salsa, fresh lime, guacamole and/or cheese for some added flavor.