Cajun · Gluten-Free · Main Dishes

Cajun Black Beans and Brown Rice

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Why is it that I’m “all or nothing” when it comes to fitness? I’m either running five days a week with additional strength training and yoga classes or I’m letting weeks go by where being a pedestrian in New York City is my only form of exercise. I’m determined to change this and to master moderation when it comes to my working out life. I’m thinking three runs this week to get myself back into it and then I’ll add more next week.

So yesterday, I went for a 30-minute run after work. Despite the sore legs from the lunges I did after (go me!), I feel great. It’s only Wednesday and I am 33.33% done for the week. After my exhilarating run through Prospect Park, I went straight to the market for ingredients to make something healthy. For a few weeks now, I’ve been meaning to come up with a beans and rice recipe so it wasn’t hard to decide what to make.

The recipe I came up with is delish and also super healthy. Firstly, I used organic brown rice which is naturally gluten-free and contains more fiber than white rice. The problem with rice is that it’s rather caloric, but I easily solved this problem by cooking up some diced mushrooms to mix with the rice. This allows me to feel like I’m getting to eat more rice than I actually am. Secondly, I made a flavorful mixture of organic canned black beans, onions, garlic, red bell pepper, and my own Cajun seasoning to go on top of the rice. Now I could’ve topped it all off with shredded cheese and been a happy camper, but I decided to go vegan for a meal. Instead of cheese, I used diced avocado and sliced pepperoncini as the topping and honestly, it was just as satisfying as cheese. So to recap, it was super yummy, filling, vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, and meat-eater approved (Matt got the leftovers for lunch today). I’ll be making this one again very, very soon.

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Cajun Black Beans and Rice

Serves: 2-3   Start to Finish: 45 min (including cooking time for rice)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry Brown Rice
Kosher Salt, fine grain
2 tsp Oil
5 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 small White Onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 can organic Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 TBS Cajun Seasoning (for my home made mix see 3rd bullet point)
Diced Avocado and Sliced Pepperoncini, for serving

To Make:
- Cook the rice according to package instructions. I used 1/2 cup rice, 
1 -1/4 cups water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Combine in a small sauce pan. Bring 
to a boil, stir once. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about 40 minutes.
- While rice cooks, prep and cut all veggies.
- I made my own Cajun seasoning blend by mixing 1/2 tsp of each... 
garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, thyme, coriander, crushed 
red pepper flakes, and salt.
- With about 25 minutes left for rice to cook, start the Cajun bean mixture.
-Add 1 tsp oil and minced garlic to a medium size skillet. Turn heat to 
medium. When garlic begins to sizzle, cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add 
onions, peppers, and 1 TBS Cajun seasoning. Stir occasionally.
- After 5 minutes, add the beans and 1/4 cup water. Salt to taste (I used 1/4 tsp).
Continue stirring and adding water when needed until flavors are combined,
about 8-10 minutes.
-While beans cook, make the mushrooms.
- Heat 1 tsp oil to a medium small/medium skillet over medium-high heat.
Add mushrooms to oil and 1/4 tsp salt, toss to coat. Stir occasionally. Cook for 
5-7 minutes, until mushrooms have darkened and their size has reduced 
by half.
- When all components are finished cooking, mix rice and mushrooms. Top 
rice mixture with bean mixture and garnish with diced avocado and sliced 
peppers.

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