Cook’s Notes: I recently read a book by Liz Edmunds, the Food Nanny, in which she suggests picking a theme for each night of the week to simplify your meal planning. According to Edmunds, Wednesday is Meatless or Fish dishes.
In that spirit, I created this meatless version of dinner rice salad. It is a balanced vegetarian meal with protein from the beans, but without soy, tofu, or too much cheese. It used both fresh vegetables that we had on hand (spinach and mushrooms) and convenience items, such as frozen rice, pre-chopped onion, prepared pineapple, and canned beans. We get the frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s. For dessert, serve fresh pineapple spears purchased in the produce department. The results were delicious, filling, and colorful.
Combine 2 cups cooked rice and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Combine 1 cup cooked onion, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1.5 cups salsa, 1/2 cup water, and 15 oz (2 cups) canned kidney beans. Cook 1 pound spinach and 2 to 3 cups sliced mushrooms and add to mix. Combine all ingredients.
Microwave 1 bag frozen brown rice (yields 2 cups cooked rice) according to package directions. Pour rice into a large bowl and add 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
Prepare Moosewood Red Beans (see below). Add the cooked bean and tomato mixture to the rice. Stir well to combine.
While the beans cook, prepare the spinach and mushrooms. Wash 1 pound of baby spinach. Melt 1 T butter in a large saucepan. Add 1 T olive oil. When the butter is melted and the oil is warm, add 2 to 3 cups sliced mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms began to get tender. Pack the saucepan with the spinach leaves (you may need to add the spinach in two batches). Stir gently until all the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are tender, a few minutes more. Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
Add the spinach and mushrooms to the bean and rice mixture. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Serves 4.
Suggestion: Serve a bowl of red beans and rice mixture with fresh pineapple spears.
Moosewood Red Beans
1 cup diced onions (buy pre-chopped in the freezer or produce section)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Mild Chili Spice Mix or plain chili powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp allspice
1.5 cups homemade mild salsa
1/2 cup water
15 oz can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
In a saucepan on medium heat, sauté the onions in the vegetable oil for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the chili powder, sprinkle lightly with salt to taste. Add the thyme, allspice, salsa, water, and canned beans. Cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.