Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Honey Balsamic Beans and Rice

Beans and rice are a natural combination. From spicy, stew-like Cajun/Creole one dish meals to salad toppers to vegetarian burgers, beans and rice are a powerful duo that bring lots of nutrition, texture and taste to any dish. Here I decided to combine them into a cold salad. I've had many cold rice salads and many cold bean salads - so why not both? The honey balsamic dressing is one that I've made before to put on traditional lettuce salads. I've had sweet rice puddings and desserts before, but something told me the beans would like to be sweet.

Chinese long beans are available at my local farmer's market in the spring and summer. They look like two foot long green beans... or they can be red, purple, yellow, green or a combination! The ones I've used in this recipe are simply green, and are soft enough to eat when raw. Other varieties may need to be parboiled longer to be softened. If you don't have Chinese long beans available, use fresh green beans, and parboil them 4-5 minutes.

The brown rice is essential in making this salad wholesome and filling. Also, do not use canned beans. Even organic canned beans may have weird stuff added to them. Always use from dried. It takes extra time but it is worth it. See my "Tips and Tricks" page for how I deal with and prepare dried beans.

This honestly works as a breakfast, a lunch, or a dinner. To fix it up a bit more, add in some chopped lettuce or spinach or garnish with fresh herbs. This will keep in your refrigerator for about a week.

Honey Balsamic Beans and Rice
  • 1 ½ cups cooked, cold brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked, cold black beans
  • 1 cup cooked, cold pinto beans
  • ¾ cup cooked, cold northern beans
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 1 cup Chinese long beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced diagonally in 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup toasted, unsalted almonds, roughly chopped 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • For the dressing
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice (squeezed from a lemon)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Bring four or five cups of water to a rolling boil in a medium pot. Add the salt and the cut long beans. Blanch for three minutes, then transfer the long beans to a bowl of iced water. After they have rested for a few minutes, drain and let dry.

To make the dressing, add the olive oil, honey, vinegar, lemon juice and tarragon to a small container with a tight-fitting lid. Place the lid on tight and vigorously shake until well blended.

In a large bowl, add the rice, beans, jalapeno, almonds and onions. Give the dressing another shake and pour all over the top. Toss everything together well, being careful not to smash too many beans.

Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before eating.

An array of colors, protein and wholesome sweetness

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