I often keep a lot of vegetables around so that I can whip up a salad in a pinch. But some nights, all I want is to cozy up on the couch with something warm — not loose lettuce, but something gooey and hearty and, most importantly of all, healthy.
If I didn’t care about the health factor, I’d just order in Thai or Indian. (And even then, I have my tricks to keep it on the runner-conscious side.)
But if I can, I really do prefer to start my Sunday evenings — and kick off my week — in a nutritious manner; the better to reset my mind and body for the week, my dear. Bonus if it’s vegetarian or, like this recipe, vegan.
On Sunday, I grabbed many of the same veggies that I was going to throw over lettuce and, instead, reached into the back of my small NYC-apartment cabinet for a can of beans and a bag of brown rice. Canned food and carbs are always good to keep around.
From this, I created a simple mushroom and pepper concoction to throw over a basic combination of rice and beans. (Really, there are few marriages of flavors that are more blissful. Lamb and tuna fish, anyone?)
Inspired by a Mexican meal, but without all the spice and stuff, it turned out to be a really healthful, filling and satisfying dish — one that I knew would fuel me for my inevitable Monday morning run (even if I wound up curling up in bed before finally getting out for just 3 short and sweet miles).
Here’s how it went down.
What You Need
1 package mushrooms
1 can black beans (less sodium)
1 orange, red or yellow pepper
Fresh parsley (I used flat leaf)
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
White wine (not too sweet)
How To Make It
1. Get the mushrooms going first, since you’ll want these to cook down for a while. I like to start by coating the pan with non-stick spray. Once they really start going, throw in a little balsamic vinegar and white wine to begin infusing the ‘shrooms with flavor.
2. Boil a pot of water and start cooking your brown rice. This takes between 30 and 45 minutes usually, so don’t save this for the last minute.
3. Once your mushrooms cook down a bit, throw in half a chopped pepper. Save the other half (chopped up as well) for later. You’ll want to add this in toward the end so that you retain an element of crunch in the dish.
4. As your mushrooms and peppers cook down to your taste, add in salt and pepper for flavor. Continue to periodically splash the pan with balsamic, extra virgin olive oil and/or white wine if the liquid cooks out. If you think the mixture is flavored enough, you can always switch to water for moisture.
5. You can go ahead and stir in your can of drained beans just as soon as the brown rice is about ready. Add in your extra peppers now too. Remember to turn the flame down to low once the beans go in; you don’t want to burn them. Allow the flavor of the beans and veggies to merge. Stir in chopped parsley now.
6. To serve, create a bed of brown rice, adding a few nice-sized spoonfuls of your veggie and bean mixture. Top off with chopped tomatoes and avocado for a fresh, cool contrast to your warm, gooey meal. And if you’re a spice-lover, you can always add Sriracha on top.
I found this to be a great alternative to the usual Asian-flavored stir fries I create. What other ways do you use up the last of the veggies?