Black Beans & Brown Rice

An updated version of black beans and rice…my fresh, feel-good and grounding take is perfect for your weeknight dinner. My secret ingredient is the cinnamon stick, as it brings out a wonderful flavor in the beans! Serve this satisfying dish as a main with a salad, or as a side like my husband loves it, with a great piece of roasted chicken.  To each their own! This dish comes together in 20 minutes, as long as you’ve prepped the rice ahead of time. Otherwise, plan for 45 minutes cooking time. You can prep your saute while the rice is cooking. I had an amazing batch of fresh salsa from a local vendor in the fridge and it was the perfect condiment. Omit if you’ve only got the grocery stuff. 

Black Beans & Brown Rice

{Yield: About 2}

extra virgin olive oil

pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp oregano

1 large shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large handful cherry tomatoes, halved

1 can black beans

 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1/4 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into thin strips

juice from 1/2 lemon

sea salt

black pepper

1 cup brown rice, cooked

 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1/2 avocado, pitted, scooped and sliced

fresh basil, thinly sliced

fresh salsa, to top

Heat a couple Tbsp of olive oil in a medium skillet. Infuse the oil with the crushed red pepper flakes and oregano by simmering in the oil on low heat and shifting pan continuously to be sure not to burn. Turn up the heat to medium and add the shallot and garlic, cooking until translucent. Add the tomatoes and saute until slightly browned. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the can of black beans with its liquid, 1/4 cup water,  splash of cider vinegar, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick before serving.

In the meantime, place the kale in a steam basket and steam for the last 5 minutes or so of bean cooking time. Add a squeeze of lemon, sea salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside.

Scoop rice into bowl, top with bean mixture, kale and avocado. Garnish with walnuts, basil and fresh salsa.

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