Deliciously Boring Food: Beans and Rice

It’s funny how sometimes I forget that most people don’t eat the way I do. Usually when people hear about all my crazy food sensitivities and avoidance of processed food, the first thing they ask is: “Well, what do you eat, then?!” My answer is something like: “Mostly fruits and vegetables or beans and rice”, and then they look at me as if I’ve been served a death sentence. No pizza? No burgers? No Flaming Hot Cheetos? No Oreo cookies? Though we occasionally indulge in some make-shift, gluten-free/vegan versions of these treats, for the most part I have found that the longer I eat organic, “clean” food, the less appetizing these “healthy” versions of junk food are to me. And as fun as it is to spend hours on an elaborate BabyCakes creation, sometimes it’s even more fun when you realize that often the less work you put into a clean-food meal, the better it is for you!

So, basically, the vegetables that I used to douse in seasoning, butter, cheese and sprinkle over ground turkey in a shepherd’s pie, I now enjoy simply eating raw, chopped up, and mixed together with a bit of oil and vinegar. Five years ago I would have tasted that and thought it was the most bland, boring, and unsatisfying meal ever. But after years of slowly ridding my body from all those artificial flavors, refined sugars, food dyes and preservatives that have dulled my senses in the past, I can now fully appreciate the beautiful natural flavor that God put into the food that grows all around us. It is definitely a process to go from eating “normal” food to not even craving it anymore, but if you take it one step at a time (and do lots of cleansing) you’ll find that eventually you will hardly miss it.

So, if you happen to be on the journey to cleaner eating, but don’t feel like exploring all those exotic vegetables you’ve never heard of before (though they can be quite tasty and nutritious!), I thought I’d share some of the quick and easy meals that I use most often. But first, let me give you a tour of the easy-peasy ingredients that I like to use. The most common staples in our kitchen are:

Clean Food and Clean Start by Terry Walters
If you really want to have fun with a variety of seasonal clean recipes, I definitely recommend Clean Food and Clean Start by Terry Walters. Some of our favorites are the carrot ginger soup and the corn chowder. Lots of great comfort foods using nothing but what nature provides. Also, a revised edition of Clean Food is going to be released in October, so definitely pre-order on Amazon for a great guide to clean-eating!
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • peppers
  • leeks (you can use onion instead, but leeks are so mildly sweet and delicious!)
  • avocado
  • carrots
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • purple cabbage
  • radishes
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • garlic
  • tahini (sesame seed butter)
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
  • Bragg’s nutritional yeast

We also have a variety of fruits and nuts, but that’s Karl’s department (I’m more of a veggie girl). So as you can see, for the most part all the ingredients I use are common, easily attained and easily recognized foods.

Beans and Rice with Leftovers

Beans and rice are great because you can pretty much doctor them up with whatever you have left over in the fridge. I’ve used countless combinations with some turning out great, and others requiring a lot of Gringo Bandito to give some flavor. Here’s my latest endeavor that I believe to be my best beans/rice/veggie combination yet. The secret ingredient? Leeks! I usually buy leeks to put in my salads, and this is the first time I have ever cooked them. They give off such a wonderfully sweet aroma and add lots of flavor to the ensemble. Again, I am no chef, it just so happens that what was left in the fridge I thought to be mighty tasty. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole grain brown rice
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil (high smoke point = happier tummy!)
  • 1 leek chopped (the white part only)
  • Approx. 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can salt-free black beans, drained (you can also be healthier and make your own from scratch, but we’re lazy and like to use Eden Foods because they have BPA free lining in their canned products!)
  • 1 medium or Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced

Directions:

Gringo Bandito
This is by far my favorite hot sauce. It’s spicy, but doesn’t burn your tongue off. And it actually has flavor! So delicious! I discovered it at a Wahoo’s restaurant and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Cook rice in vegetable broth according to package directions (Ours says combine liquid and rice in a sauce pan, bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cover for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Don’t take off the lid!)

When the rice has a few minutes left of cooking time, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the leeks and zucchini. Saute until zucchini is tender (about 5 minutes). Add beans and tomatoes and simmer for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally until heated through.

When bean mixture and rice are both done, combine in one pot or serving bowl and toss in avocado. Add a little Gringo Bandito if you want some spice. 🙂

Variations:

If I’m really lazy, I’ll just simmer the beans with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of salsa and I’m good to go! Not nearly as fresh and nutritious, but no chopping required.

If you want to up the nutrient content of this dish, only cook the rice and beans. Combine both in a large pot removed from heat, stir in veggies, and cover for a few minutes. The heat of the beans and rice will soften the veggies slightly while leaving intact much of the helpful enzymes and nutrients found in raw food.

Also, don’t forget the spice drawer! I’m so lazy, I never remember to experiment with herbs and spices, but a lot of them can add flavor as well as some body-boosting health benefits!

So there is my first quick and easy meal. The rest of them are much more raw and nutritious, but this one has the least amount of active prep time (always nice after a long commute home!). If this is way to crazy boring for you right now, remember to just take it one step at a time! Very slowly adding more organic veggies to your meals and taking away more processed foods is a great way to travel the path towards eventually craving veggies over that double double animal style (mmm… double double!). 🙂

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