A few years back I visited Cuba for two weeks, one of the most fantastic adventures. The trip was an eye-opening experience into a completely different culture, so far from the western world, I’m so used to. My diet those 14 days consisted of two things, and two things only: Rice and Beans! At first, it wasn’t too bad, but after 4 days I was completely fed up and swore rice and beans would never pass my lips again. Of course, this was a ridiculous notion as whilst rice and beans can be very boring, simplistic and flavourless that doesn’t have to be the case. The first thing miraculous about these two things is the variety they come in; Red rice, wild rice, black rice, brown rice, basmati rice.. and black beans, white beans, chickpeas, edamame beans and pinto beans. I could seriously go on, and on! If only I’d had these options in Cuba!
`This leads me on to the recipe I’m sharing with you today, the primary ingredients being Wild rice and White Beans. If you’re not the biggest wild rice fan (it’s very crunchy rice) you can do 1/2 wild rice and 1/2 brown rice.
This meal is balanced in every way you’ve got your dense Low GI carbohydrate paired with your high protein bean, tomatoes and courgette fill your veggie quota and we mix it all in with lots of immune-boosting garlic and alkalising lemon.
The wild rice takes a little while to make, but you can keep that boiling whilst you take a shower after a long day or catch up on emails. The other ingredients only take 10 minutes to prepare and make, so it really is a great weeknight dinner. You can make a big batch and keep it in Tupperware for weekly lunches, and add a dollop of hummus for a little more flavour.
1/2 cup wild rice
2 cups water, vegetable stock, or a mixture
2 courgettes (zuchinni)
1 can of white beans
a dozen cherry tomatoes
two handfuls of rocket/arugula (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
Juice 1 lemon
1 tablespoon tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt to taste
Start by putting the rice in a fine-mesh strainer, rinse well and put into a saucepan with the water or veggie stock (if you use water add a generous pinch of salt). Bring to the boil and reduce to a steady simmer, cover the pan. Simmer for around 45-55 minutes. It is a naturally chewy grain, but I like to overcook it slightly to make sure it’s not excessively so!
10-15 minutes before the rice is done, drizzle a generous amount of olive or coconut oil into a pan, add the minced garlic and sliced onion, sauté until the onions have browned. Now add in the halved tomatoes and white beans sauté for around 5 minutes, add in the zucchini for a further 3 minutes. When the rice is done squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and a tablespoon of tamari. Spoon into bowls and top with your garlicky veggie mix. Season to taste!