Most of the time, I just want black beans and rice. It’s comforting, easy to fix up a bunch of different ways, and it’s a naturally complete protein for all of the plant babes.
It’s also the brownest of brown food to ever brown food. Most of my very favourite foods (ie the ones that I weirdly don’t make here) are undeniably beige/brown and less glamorous like this one. But they’re so important! Plant-based doesn’t have to be a neon rainbow smoothie bowl with a jillion superfoods tucked in (even though those can be cool). Variations on this recipe and the root vegetable dal in my cookbook (casual plug lol) are the first things I crave when we get cool temperatures in the evenings again. Those more down-to-earth, naturally rustic vegan things are 120% my scene.
So this recipe is part of an ongoing effort to communicate that amazing plant-based food can be pretty chill and easy on the ingredient/cooking method front, but also so special if you put some love into it. Sometimes I just do my black beans and rice up with a quick sauté of onion, pinches of spices, the beans, rice, water, and then we wait. This one takes advantage of all the deep summer produce that we’re swimming in right now.
I roast a tray of poblanos, a hot chili, some sweet little tomatoes, white onion, and full cloves of garlic with freshly toasted cumin and coriander. This mix gets all golden and soft in the oven, and is then puréed into a “flavor paste” of sorts that we just scrape right into the pot with everything else from the very beginning of the beans and rice cooking process. I think you could make the paste ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for 5 days or so.
If you can’t find poblanos (I have a bunch in my garden right now that I can barely keep up with), I would use a bell pepper and maybe add an extra hot chili to the roasting tray. I typically eat my black beans and rice with some fresh greens and a little pile of cooked vegetables on top for that crucial balance.
BLACK BEANS AND RICE WITH ROASTED POBLANOS & GARLIC
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: I bet you could make a delicious version of cauliflower rice with this. Just roast and purée the poblano, garlic etc., and then stir it into some cauliflower rice as you sauté it all in a large skillet. Add a couple splashes of water if the skillet seems dry. Voila!
-If you don’t have a spice grinder, simply use 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander instead, and skip the toasting step.
-I’m out of bay leaves, but if I had one, I would have added it to the pot at the very beginning along with everything else.
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 poblano peppers
½ medium white onion, sliced
1 cup grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon avocado oil
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 15.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon coconut aminos or tamari soy sauce
2 1/4 cups filtered water
juice of 1 lime
handful of chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small-medium soup pot or medium braiser-style pot, dry toast the cumin and coriander over medium heat until fragrant. Transfer the toasted spices to a spice grinder and grind until spices are powdered. Set aside.
Remove the stems and seeds from the poblanos and chili. Cut the peppers into rustic, 2-inch-ish pieces and place them on the baking sheet.
Place the sliced onions, tomatoes, and garlic cloves on the baking sheet as well. Toss the vegetables with the ground cumin and coriander, avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Slide the vegetables into the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and uniformly soft.
Let the vegetables cool slightly before transferring to a blender or food processor. Pulse the mixture a few times until you have a chunky paste. You’re just trying to avoid large pieces of garlic and chili. Scrape this mixture into the soup pot from earlier.
Add the rice, beans, tomato paste, coconut aminos, and water to the pot. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook the rice and beans for 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Check the pot and stir every 10-15 minutes or so. Add more water if necessary.
Take the pot off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes with the lid on. Then, remove the lid and stir in the lime juice, cilantro, and a good pinch of salt. Serve the black beans and rice hot.