When you’re new to the idea of vegetarianism or meatless meals, making dinner can feel a bit uneasy. Your mind cycles through questions with a doubtful edge. Will I know how to cook it? Will it taste good? Will I feel full? Luckily, there’s a simple stand-by that veg-heads have been relying on for decades to calm these fears: rice and beans.
Early in our marriage, when I was trying my very first vegetarian recipes in our very first house, one of our stand-by dinners was a Cooking Light recipe called Rice and Beans with Pesto. I’ve revised it a bit as our way of cooking has evolved, but it’s still a go-to meal nearly 18 years later.
Once the rice is cooked, this is a one-pot meal. Saute some onions, dump everything else in, and stir. The recipe card estimates 20 minutes total but the last time I made this I was done in 17 minutes flat. And leftover rice in the fridge will help get dinner to the table at lightning speed. I opted for short-grain brown rice because I’m partial to the chewy texture. The recipe would work just fine with long-grain brown rice or even instant brown rice too. And the beans are pretty interchangeable. Pinto, garbanzo, or kidney could fill in here nicely for the black beans.
The key to the flavor and color of this recipe is the pesto sauce. I often use ready-made pesto from my local food co-op’s deli, but if you want to know the top choice at the grocery store check out this review.
The next time you’re fretting about what a meal without meat might look like, give this foolproof recipe a try. It’s a breeze to cook, it tastes delicious, and the hearty mix of protein and fiber will keep you full and satisfied. Disaster averted.
What’s your go-to recipe for rice and beans?