Vegan Lunch: Kale, Brown Rice, and Beans Salad

Cook’s notes: I was inspired to make this dish after reading an article about having a “can o’ beans lunch” (link). This was quick to make and easy to pack for lunch at work. I used the Trader Joe’s brand frozen organic brown rice, which cooks in just 3 minutes in the microwave.

For seasoning, I used Trader Joe’s South African Smoke seasoning blend (smoked paprika, sea salt, garlic, and basil). It is packaged in a grinder. It is much more interesting than just salt and pepper, and it goes great with sauteed greens. This meal was very filling.

BONUS: More bean lunch ideas are at the bottom of this post.

Eat more kale

Serves one
Vegan, gluten free

2 cups (85 g) mixed baby kales — weigh it on a gram scale
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small avocado, diced
5 pitted kalamata olives

Microwave the rice according to package directions. While the rice cooks, lightly coat a skillet with cooking spray. Saute the kale on medium-high heat until tender and wilted, about two minutes. Season to taste (see notes).

Combine the kale with the rice, beans, avocado, and olives. Serve warm with fruit for dessert.

Estimated nutritional values:
10 g fiber; dietary exchanges of 1.7 carbs, 2 vegetables, and 0.9 oz protein.

Nutritional Analysis – from
Good points: High in dietary fiber and magnesium; Low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar; No cholesterol; Very high in manganese, vitamin A, and vitamin C

Other bean lunch combos:
Some of these suggestions were adapted from comments on the original article. Start with a 15-ounce can beans (rinsed and drained). Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  • Beans, grilled vegetables, and quinoa
  • Black beans, 1 Tbsp lime juice, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder. Serve with cooked quinoa, tomato salsa (or corn salsa), and shredded cheese.
  • Black beans, corn, pesto, cheese, and brown rice
  • Black beans, scrambled egg, onion, tomato, and avocado in a burrito
  • 10-Minute Mediterranean Chickpea Salad (link)
  • Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad (link)
  • Chickpeas, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (link); serve with a roll and a mixed green salad
  • Chickpeas, corn, avocado, diced tomato, red bell pepper, chopped black olives, and Italian or Greek herbs
  • White beans, brown rice, sauteed zucchini, grated Parmesan
  • White beans: Heat jarred spaghetti sauce and add white beans. Smash some of the beans; serve on toasted French bread with an extra drizzle of olive oil