Laptop Lunches #248

Homemade Cuban black beans with rice, cantaloupe chunks, and grapes.

When this blog was hiatus due to a broken camera, there was a season of poverty for me. You might have sensed this given my lack of funding to buy a camera, but ... I was really the starving grad student there for a while. For a time, I basically ate whatever happened to be on clearance at Target, alongside some very, very cheap things. I found this recipe on the back of a bag of store brand rice, and tried it mostly because it seemed extremely cheap. It was also easy, and seemed reasonably nutritious. It just so happens that it is also vegan, and astoundingly comforting. I didn't keep much in terms of poverty ration-type food, but I did keep this. As recipes go, it covers a lot of ground: cheap, fast, easy, good-tasting and good-for-you, gluten free, vegan. I've modified the recipe slightly, so I'll share it with you here, as Starving Student Cuban Black Beans & Rice.

Starving Student Cuban Black Beans & Rice

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium bell pepper, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 bay leaves
2 15-oz. cans black beans (not drained)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
long grain rice (amount depends on preferences--see below)

1. Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in cumin and bay leaves; cook 1 minute. Stir in beans and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, cook rice.
4. Remove bay leaves from beans. Stir in olive oil and vinegar.

To serve:

Lay down a bed of cooked long grain rice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with desired amount of beans, and a bit more salt and pepper. I personally would most often eat this with a glass of milk, but that of course makes it not vegan. My preferred ratio of beans and rice was about equal parts rice and beans, but the base recipe suggested much more beans than rice. When I was feeling especially poor, I ate it with about 2/3 rice to 1/3 beans. Feel free to experiment.

The leftovers of this dish are as good or better than the first bite. For lunch, I just dumped the rice on top of the beans and stirred.

This post is shared on:

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
The Diary of a Real Housewife


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