Italian Rice and Beans

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

We have an endless, insatiable hunger for quick, healthy meals that can be made on nights when we are busy. This is one of our favorites in that category.

The Journey:

There’s really not all that much to say, which is exactly the beauty. You toss it in a pan, cook it quickly, and you serve it. The rice takes awhile, so you do have to remember to get a head start on it, but it’s not “active” cooking time.

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The Verdict:

Wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything quite like it, which is probably why I don’t get sick of it very quickly. The mixture itself is so flavorful, that you can go pretty heavy on the rice ratio, and still have something amazing. This makes it pretty easy to scale up or down as needed. It’s also great as a reheated leftover for lunch the next day.

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The Recipe:

Recipe from Vegan Yum Yum (note, we use a modified version of the one in the cookbook, which is slightly different than the one on the webpage).

  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme (or 2 – 3 teaspoons fresh)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (vacuum packed if you can find them, oil-packed if not), cut into strips
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (you can substitute sunflower seeds)
  • 1 can canellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 ounces of baby spinach
  • zest from 1 lemon
  1. Cook the rice.
  2. When the rice is finished, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the herbs, tomatoes, and pine nuts.
  4. When the pine nuts start to turn golden brown, add the beans. (Be very careful not to burn the pine nuts or sun dried tomatoes!)
  5. Toss gently, trying your best to keep the beans whole.
  6. Add the salt and vinegar and stir gently. Turn the heat to low.
  7. Place spinach in one layer on top of the beans. Cook for ~3 minutes until spinach starts to wilt.
  8. Mix gently and taste. If it doesn’t have that “pop”, add in a little bit more vinegar and salt to taste.
  9. Grate the lemon zest on the top of the rice and beans and serve.
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2 thoughts on “Italian Rice and Beans

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