Sunday, May 6, 2012

May Recipe of the Month

Black Beans and Rice with Cilantro Pesto

I love black beans! They are hearty and filling - 1 cup contains over 15 grams of protein and almost 60% of your daily serving of fiber. The problem with canned black beans however is that they contain a lot of sodium. Even if you buy the low sodium version, its more than you would normally get if you cooked them the old-fashioned way. So, I decided to go to my local natural health food store, buy them in bulk, and soak them over night before making them into something. It didn't take too much extra time, I simply placed 2 cups in a bowl (after rinsing and picking them over to make sure there was nothing odd in them) with two cups of water and went to bed. Later the next day, I uncovered them and rinsed them and started making a yummy black bean dish! I got the recipe from the Food Network. You can find the original here.

  • 1 pound of black beans
  • 2 tablespoons of olive or canola oil (for onions)
  • 1 Spanish onion
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves, plus 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup pure olive oil (for pesto)
  • 1/2 cup Manchego (or Parmesan) cheese
Place soaked beans in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low, and simmer until cooked through, about 1.5 hrs, adding more water if needed. Drain beans into a colander set over a bowl and reserve the cooking liquid from the beans.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan on the grates of the grill. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the rice, toss to coat in the oil and onion mixture, and cook for 2 minutes. Add 3 3/4 cups of the bean cooking liquid (if there is not enough liquid, add some water to measure 3 3/4 cups). Season the rice with the pepper (I added cayenne for a little zing), stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, place cover on the pot, and cook until rice is just cooked through, about 14 to 16 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, place cilantro, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the oil and process until smooth. Add the oil very slowly though because you don't want there to be too much. Add the cheese and process until incorporated. Season with pepper (and salt if you must) to taste.

Place rice and beans in a large bowl, fold in the cilantro pesto, and garnish with additional chopped cilantro.

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