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Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 | 0 comments

Quick rice and beans dish with avocado slices and basil leaves.

Quick rice and beans dish with avocado slices and basil leaves.


This dish that does not require lots of preparations. I cook it quite often and I consider it healthy and light. I will also include in this recipe my version of cooking rice.

Products used:

White rice. Any of your favorite ones. I use Basmati rice by Swad. I get one from Apnaa/oriental/ethnic stores or from wholesale stores, like Sam’s club or BJ’s.

Spices. My vegetarian friend opened a world of Indian spices to me. Since then, I regularly attend ethnic stores in my area and shop there as it is much cheaper than in supermarkets and the choice is better.

Fresh basil leaves. I grow basil in my patio and you can get one in any farmer’s market. Among my experiments with other herbs, basil turns out to be the most hardy and can grow for about a year or even more.

Beans. For quicker results I use canned organic beans. It is much tastier to cook beans by yourself, but it requires overnight soaking or some preparation time. Red ones are a bit harder, while black ones have richer taste and they get mashed easily (in case you want to avoid it). Black beans like here are used for this recipe.

Sour cream. I use organic this one (wholesale) or this one. You can also buy it from Nature S’Mart or Wholefoods.

Hass Avocado, ripe. To plate it as shown in the picture, you need to cut avocado in halves, pit it and peel it. Then place one half with the inner side down on the serving plate and slice it carefully without dividing slice peaces. Then use the flat side of your knife blade to press lightly the sliced avocado towards yourself.

Sweet cherry tomato. It is a very appealing decoration and a great way to refresh your palate.

Cooking rice.

Rinse it. Proportion 1 part rice, 2 parts water. Place rice into water, add spices: ground cumin, corriander seeds (ground or whole), green cardamom, clover, asafetida, salt and black ground pepper, some unsalted organic butter. Additionally, you can add whole, unpeeled garlic clove. Set the stopwatch for 15 minutes. Cover and simmer. Do not stir. If the water evaporates earlier, add a little bit more water.

My secret spices: Green Cardamom, Cloves, Coriander Seeds, Asafoetida (powder, in a small yellow jar), Cumin powder/seeds, Allspice. All these spices (not sure about Allspice) can be found in oriental/ethnic/Indian stores. Allspice can be found in regular supermarkets.

This is how your rice will look in a pot before cooking:

While rice is cooking, make a bean dish.

Bean dish.

You will need:

– Red or white onion, chopped. I try using organic, when available.

– Sweet pepper. I noticed that when I use pepper with thinner skin, it tastes more tender. Good examples are poblano peppers.

– Green scallions, organic.

– Cooking oil. Since recent times, I have started using Grapeseed oil, as it has high smoking point, 485F  (does not form carcinogens when reaching higher temperatures).

– Canned beans. See my recommendations above.

– Spices. My star combination of spices: Paprika, Dill Weed, Ground Black Pepper, Allspice (ground), Coriander seeds, Cumin powder, Ground Cayenne Red Pepper, Garlic & Herb (salt free), Sea Salt. All ground spices can be interchangeable with actual seeds/whole versions of these spices, or even better with fresh herbs if available.

Depending on your diet needs, you may either stir-fry the ingredients or simmer them. If stir-fried, it sometimes gives more taste but is not extremely healthy. If cooked on a low heat, it will preserve more nutrients and you can experiment with numerous spices suggested above, to add more taste.

I start with red onions, then add chopped pepper, scallions and spices at the end. I often use a red chili hot pepper, sliced, with seeds to add some kick. I grow such pepper on my patio and it is one of few herbs which are hardy, too:-)

When beans and rice are ready, just slice some avocado and you can sprinkle it with some salt, pepper and some lime juice. (Fresh thyme leaves are depicted in the picture.) Never serve this dish without some sour-cream on a side. (They say, Russians put sour-cream on everything! That’s true:-) At the end you can decorate your plate with some fresh basil leaves and sliced cherry tomatoes.




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