Beans, Greens, and Rice on the fly

I have other beans and green dishes on my blog, I know, so this is not necessarily anything new and innovative.  It is, however, a great example of a simple and delicious meal made from fresh, seasonal ingredients on the fly.  I usually have a good variety of  staples – washed greens, cooked beans and grains, etc. – on hand for schoolday breakfasts, lunches, and even dinners.  However, I (thankfully) went on a yoga retreat this weekend and really wasn’t up for cleaning all the yummy greens I got in my CSA share this week, or making a trip to the grocery store, when I got home.  So, at 9pm when I realized Monday was going to come , like it or not, and the kids were going to want both breakfast AND lunch (dinner too, by the way, and snacks!), I had to make a plan.  I had some leftover washed spinach and fresh tomatoes from last week’s Farmers’ Market, plus some cooked brown rice, so I knew I was in pretty good shape.  Since I’ve switched from soaking my beans overnight to the quick-soak method, my late start didn’t deter me from soaking some black beans and getting them into the crockpot to be ready by morning.

I whipped this up after waking up a little late this morning and packed it in lunches, then had it for breakfast myself.  Sometime I’ll go more deeply into non-(American) traditional breakfasts, but that is for another day.  Since I was using mostly pre-prepped ingredients, it only took about 5 minutes of my time to pull together, and maybe a few minutes longer to heat through.  For those of you who find yourselves busy during the week (and are any of you not busy during the week?) prepping whatever staples you use during the week in advance is a lifesaver!

I’m estimating amounts, because this is the kind of dish where you can just use whatever looks good, but I’d say about 1/2 cup of beans per person is probably about right, and probably the same for the rice, so this served three. 

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot (or garlic or scallion), minced
  • 2 cups cleaned spinach, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans*
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • salt or Herbamare for seasoning

*I cooked my black beans with a dried chipotle, a strip of kombu, and some onion and garlic powder for flavor; be sure to wait to add salt until the beans are totally soft.  The salt thing is controversial, but critical in my experience. 

Heat a large pan over medium heat and saute the shallots until they start to brown.  Add the chopped spinach and tomato, season lightly, and cover for a few minutes.  The tomatoes will release their juices and help the spinach cook.  Add the beans and rice, cover and cook a few more minutes until the rice is warm and soft.  Season to taste and enjoy!

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