cuban-style black beans + rice with coconut cream

cuban-style black beans + rice with coconut cream | The Clever Carrot

This morning, I woke up wanting to be a vegetarian…

I’m not all that shocked really, as I tend to go through these phases every now and then. Sometimes it’s boycotting meat, maybe sugar, and then I go back to being normal again (whatever that is). I’ve learned to just give in to these cravings and I feel much better when I do. It’s my body’s way of balancing.

Currently, I’m into rice and beans.

cuban-style black beans + rice with coconut cream | The Clever Carrot

Last week we spoke about budget meals, and this recipe is a continuation of that theme. Whether you make a big pot yourself or use canned as I’ve done here, incorporating beans into your diet is an excellent source of (inexpensive) plant-based protein. The best way to describe this dish is ‘black beans meets the islands.’ It was inspired by the lovely vegetarian creations over at Fare Isle.

To make this, I sauté red onion and bell pepper with a hint of cumin. I add the beans, and gently simmer with stock. It’s served on a bed of basmati rice and topped with juicy grape tomatoes and avocado. For extra flavor, I quickly marinate the tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and herbs while preparing the rest of the ingredients. The tomatoes create this incredible juice that adds just the right amount of acidity to this dish.

I finish with a drizzle of thick coconut cream for a little island flare. Pure heaven.

cuban-style black beans + rice with coconut cream | The Clever Carrot

You know what else would make this nice and island-y? One of these… I can never say no to a margarita. This whole vegetarian thing is going to suit me quite well. It falls right in line with my current cravings and the topic of budget meals. Plus, if margaritas are vegetarian friendly I might need a few after all of this packing- oh the joys of moving!

And while we’re at it, happy Cinco de Mayo, friends!

Tips:

  • What’s the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream? Coconut milk is thin in consistency and is the base for most Asian-style curries. Coconut cream is a lot thicker and often used in desserts. Both versions are unsweetened. There is also ‘cream of coconut’ which is a sweetened version of coconut cream. I’m using regular coconut cream for this recipe for it’s thick, rich texture. 

cuban-style black beans + rice with coconut cream
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Beans
  • 2x 14 oz. cans black beans, rinsed + drained
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
Marinated tomatoes
  • 1 pint mini grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro or parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
Rice
  • 2 c. basmati rice
Coconut
  • 1 can of coconut cream*
Garnish
  • Avocado, fresh cilantro and lime wedges
*What's the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream? Coconut milk is thin in consistency and is the base for most Asian-style curries. Coconut cream is a lot thicker and often used in desserts. Both versions are unsweetened. There is also 'cream of coconut' which is a sweetened version of coconut cream. I'm using coconut cream for this recipe for it's thick, rich texture.
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Gently warm the coconut cream until it becomes liquid. Transfer to a bowl; it will slightly thicken again as it sits.
  3. Add the sliced tomatoes and herbs to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Allow the tomatoes to marinate while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  4. In a large skillet, warm a splash of olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onion, peppers and cumin. Saute until soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add the beans.
  7. Add the stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper as desired.
  8. To serve, portion the rice onto plates. Add the beans, and top with marinated tomatoes and any of their juices. Garnish with chunks of avocado, cilantro, and drizzle with coconut cream. Serve with fresh lime wedges.

cuban-style black beans + rice with coconut cream | The Clever Carrot

honey balsamic 3 bean salad

honey balsamic 3 bean salad | The Clever Carrot

Is it me or do salads like this seem to multiply in the fridge?

It’s probably me, I know. But I’m telling you, I’ve been eating this stuff for the past 3 days and it doesn’t even look like I made a dent! Every time I open the fridge it’s like, oh you’re still here… and I consider myself to be a good eater. I shouldn’t complain though, because this dish is fit to feed the masses; that’s why I made it in the first place.

I offered to bring my 3 bean salad to my cousin’s BBQ last weekend. I was playing around with different recipes during the week (hence the leftovers) and settled on this one. We have a big family and this type of dish goes a long way. It’s great because you can make it in advance and it travels well. The longer it sits, the better it tastes. The 3 bean combo includes chickpeas, black beans, and haricots verts (French style green beans). I tend to use haricots verts over the regular ones as they are thinner and have a nicer flavor. The salad is tossed together with plenty of fresh herbs and a lip smacking honey balsamic vinaigrette.

honey balsamic 3 bean salad | The Clever Carrot

For me, it’s hard to imagine any BBQ or picnic without some sort of bean salad on the table. I’ve made this several different ways and it screams for personal interpretation (make it your own!) It’s the quintessential summer dish.

Tips:

  • When using canned beans, make sure that they are drained thoroughly and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel if necessary. You don’t want any extra water in your salad!
  • To keep your haricots verts bright green, shock them in an ice bath or rinse in a colander under cold water after cooking (if you skip this step, they will turn a dullish yellow/green color). Pat dry to remove any extra moisture. Your green beans can be blanched 1 day ahead of time.
honey balsamic 3 bean salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • ¼ balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ½ c. olive oil
Salad
  • 2x 14 oz. cans of chickpeas, rinsed & drained*
  • 1x 14 oz. can of black beans, rinsed & drained*
  • ¾ lb. haricots verts (French style green beans)
  • 1 c. roasted red peppers
  • ¼-1/3 c. thinly sliced red onions
  • 1 heaping tbsp. fresh chives
  • ¼ c. fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
*When using canned beans, make sure that they are drained thoroughly and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel if necessary. You don't want any extra water in your salad!
Instructions
  1. To make the vinaigrette, add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and Dijon mustard to a bowl. Whisk well to combine. Slowly add the olive oil, and continue whisking until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  2. For the salad, begin by preparing the haricots verts. Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the green beans and blanch until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath or run under cold water in a colander to retain their bright green color.*See note below. Pat dry with to remove excess moisture. Trim away the ends and dice into ½ inch pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, add the green beans, chickpeas, and black beans.
  4. Remove red peppers from the jar and pat dry. Roughly chop into pieces.
  5. Using a mandolin, shave the red onion into paper thin slices. You want to use between ¼-1/3 cup depending on taste.
  6. Finely chop the chives.
  7. Roughly chop the basil.
  8. Add the roasted red peppers, red onion, chives and basil to the bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
*To keep your haricots verts bright green, shock them in an ice bath or rinse in a colander under cold water after cooking (if you skip this step, they will turn a dullish yellow/green color). Pat dry to remove any extra moisture. Your green beans can be blanched 1 day ahead of time.