Rice and beans, a good combination for healthful eating that’s inexpensive. This post collects quite a few ideas on variations. Kim Carlson’s introduction (and warning):
Personally, I was late to the R&B party — the rice-and-beans party, that is. I’m not sure when I first discovered the pleasure of this simple combination, but I’ve put away mountains of it in recent years — originally because my children would eat it with no fuss, and now because it’s such a versatile base for whatever else I feel like having.
In fact, there are many reasons to love this dish:
- Usually, it’s fast and easy to prepare (especially if you have that awesome appliance, a rice cooker).
- Often it’s meatless, which helps if you are trying to scale back on the amount of meat you eat.
- It’s inexpensive, which is particularly nice just now.
- It makes great leftovers (see no. 3).
- And it’s simple: Dinner can be served in a single bowl, with a glass of zinfandel and candlelight if you wish.
So what’s not to appreciate? Plenty, it turns out. If you’re not careful, as Culinate columnist Kelly Myers advises, R&B can be downright punitive — or at least an unappetizing bowl of starch. Which is a shame, because with just a little attention, a plate of rice and beans can be as satisfying to eat as just about anything.
I’ve eaten many bowls of basmati rice and black beans tossed with cilantro, salsa, and Monterey Jack; that was, more or less, my gateway blend. Lately though, I’ve turned that combo on its head with white beans and black rice (or, most recently, fresh shell beans with Bhutanese red rice and braised greens).
Looking for further inspiration, I asked a virtual kitchen full of food people how they eat the humble, timeless R&B. …