I have been trying out a number of vegetarian recipes from a number of sources. My favorite sources so far are the Whole Foods Market recipes (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/) and Vegan YumYum (http://veganyumyum.com/).
I am trying to avoid a heavy reliance on salads because that just leaves everyone feeling hungry.
I am also modifying the recipes to suit our specific needs and tastes. We are a family of 4 (6 when Grandma and Grandpa are with us). We have a wide variety of nutritional needs and limitation. Some the requirements I have been balancing for many years include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gout, lactose intolerance, food allergies to raw fruits and vegetables, no seeds or nuts, borderline diabetic. It is an interesting set of often conflicting requirements. And I try to prepare a meal that everyone shares rather than acting as a short order cook and making something different for everyone.
The first recipe I want to share is one that I am still tweaking. It is from Vegan YumYum and it is delicious.
Italian Rice and Beans
I have modified this one a bit. The first thing you should notice is that the original recipe serves 1. I am cooking for my whole family so I need something that serves 4 – 6. What follows is the recipe with my modifications.
1 cup of brown rice
2 cans of Great Northern beans (drained and rinsed)
3 or so Tbs olive oil
½ cup of sun dried tomatoes (in thin slices) – this is one I am still working with. I have tried the dry sun-dried tomatoes and they are a little too chewy. The other alternative is sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.
½ cup pine nuts
2 or so really large handfuls of baby spinach
2-3 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt (or less based on tastes)
2 -3 tsp Italian herbs (I have a bottle of “Italian seasonings” but you can use any of your favorites)
Begin by cooking the rice. Brown rice takes longer to cook that white rice, so keep that in mind. This is the longest step in the process. The rice I have been using takes about an hour to cook.
While the rice is cooking you can slice up the sun-dried tomatoes (unless you are using some that are already sliced).
You want to wait until the rice is almost (or completely) done before starting the rest of the process.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. As the oil gets hot, add the pine nuts and herbs and cook, stirring frequently until the pine nuts begin to toast. One the pine nuts begin to toast add the sun-dried tomato strips and cook until the pine nuts are completely toasted. Be careful not to over cook the sun-dried tomatoes.
One the pine nuts are toasted, add the beans, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Stir to combine but be gentle so you don’t break the beans. Turn down the heat a bit. Add the spinach to the top of this mixture in a layer. Added the completely cooked rice to the top in a layer over the spinach and let the spinach wilt. Once the spinach is wilted gently stir everything together.
I served this with homemade beer bread and a nice Pinot grigio.