16 Jan

Kicked Up Rice(or Quinoa) N’ Beans

Good news readers, I have the inside scoop on how to make these bad boys (perk of dating a Brazilian – his Mama makes some finnne rice n’ beans). Rice and beans are a win-win. They taste great, are healthy and are a inexpensive alternative to animal proteins. Beans are high in fiber and protein. And, if you pair beans with brown rice you get even more fiber and vitamins.

Rice and beans got paired because together they make a complete protein. Basically, we have certain amino acids (building blocks of protein) that we can make and others we must get from food, which are called essential amino acids. Animal proteins tend to have all of the essential amino acids, while plant based proteins tend to have some, but not all of the amino acids. Rice + beans together complete each other’s amino acid profile making them a complete protein, providing your body with all the essential amino acids it needs.

Alternatives to Rice
While I love the power pair, you don’t need to have beans with rice. That’s where you think outside the box:
1. Eat ’em solo, sans rice with a side of salad
2. Serve over quinoa, couscous or any grain you desire
3. Serve over steamed cauliflower or zucchini (though that may be a whole lot of fiber if you you have a sensitive stomach)
4. Put in a whole grain tortilla/wrap (small size) + home-made guacamole and fresh veggies
The Recipe
Making beans is easy and doesn’t involve a lot of ingredients or steps. The only downside is the advance planning needed to soak the beans and the long cooking time of both rice and beans. Though, if you have a pressure cooker it saves even more time and work, but I’ve only tried making them on the stove top. My secret ingredient (my addition the classic Brazilian recipe), is smoked paprika (make sure it’s smoked and not regular paprika); it adds a meaty smoked flavor.
After soaking overnight

1. 1/2  lb dried beans (red, navy or black – black is my favorite)

2. 1 medium yellow onion, chopped into small pieces

3. 4 garlic cloves, minced

4. 1-2 teaspoons salt + pepper

5. 1-2 tablespoons smoked paprika

6. 1 dried bay leaf


1. Place dried beans in large bowl, cover with cold tap water. Soak overnight or for during your workday. Soaking overnight helps rid the beans of some of the phytates, tannins and undigestible sugars that tend to cause gas. 

2.Pour beans in a strainer, discarding the water and rinsing well with fresh water.

3. Place beans, garlic, onion, and spices into large stock pot. Pour in warm water just until covered, cover pan, bring to boil and then let simmer for 45 minutes-1 hr.

4. Mix frequently, slowly adding water as needed to ensure there is water just covering beans.


They will last for up to 5 days in fridge. Trust me you’ll know when they’re spoiled because they will start stinkin up the fridge.