Rice and beans go together like… well, rice and beans. It’s a popular food combo in many cultures around the world, and for very good reason. It’s affordable, it’s low in fat, and it has tons of good-for-you nutrients that will keep you full and energized long after you finish chowing down. Plus, it’s an easy meal to throw together with some vegetables and spices for a quick weeknight dinner or lunch.
I became well acquainted with this dynamic duo while I was on the elimination diet since it was delicious and easy on the stomach. Here’s the scoop.
When you eat a serving of brown rice and beans, here’s what your getting in one powerhouse package:
- Complex carbohydrates. These carbs are not your enemy. They’re the primary source of fuel for your body and brain. They take longer to digest, meaning energy is released more slowly over longer periods of time, which keeps your energy levels stable.
- Complete protein. As opposed to incomplete protein. Rice and beans provide you with all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Note that you need both beans and rice to make up a complete protein; one without the other doesn’t pack quite the same health benefits.
- Fiber. Fiber aids with the digestion process by keeping things, er, moving along your digestive track at a good pace. Fiber can also help to lower cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels.
- Folate. Also known as vitamin B9, folate works to prevent heart disorders, stroke, cancer, and birth defects during pregnancy. It also aids in cell repair and muscle growth and helps to control cholesterol levels.
- Iron. The main purpose of iron is to help carry oxygen from your lungs to your muscles and other organs. It’s great for your brain and your muscles. It works to keep your immune system strong. It can also help cut down on chronic or unexplained* fatigue.
- *Note: Emphasis on unexplained. Meaning if you’re prone to Facebook stalking that nerd-turned-babe from your freshman year homeroom for hours on end or binge watching Netflix until the wee hours of morning, don’t blame your increased iron consumption for not curing you of your exhaustion.
- Magnesium. Magical magnesium helps improve your sleep quality, brings balance and control to stress hormones, relaxes the nervous system, prevents and relieves constipation, aids in muscle growth and improved flexibility, and helps to fix calcium properly (read: stronger bones!).
So to recap what we’ve covered…
Rice and beans? Cheap. Elimination diet-friendly. Crazy nutritious. Incredibly delicious.
Here’s how to whip some up for yourself.
Grab all of your ingredients. (Spices not pictured here.)
Place your broth in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. While that’s heating up…
Oooh, look at the brown rice!
And when you’re done admiring the rice, rinse it really well. Then pour the rice into the boiling broth. Once everything is boiling again, reduce to a low heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until all the broth has been absorbed.
Fluff with a fork, then remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, and then mix the beans, cumin and salt in.
While the rice is cooking, prep your toppings. Slice up some avocados.
Chop up a bunch of green onions.
Throw it all together in a dish…
..and eat it! Enjoy!
Kidney Beans and Rice with Avocado and Green Onions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4-6 servings
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed well
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 15oz. can kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 tsp cumin, plus more to sprinkle on top
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 avocados, sliced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Bring 2 cups of chicken broth to a boil.
- Add 1 cup rice. Return to boil, then lower heat and cover. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
- Stir to fluff. Remove from heat and allow to stand for five minutes.
- While the rice is still warm, mix in the kidney beans, salt and cumin.
- Place some of the avocado slices and chopped green onions on top, and sprinkle with an additional dash of cumin.