If you have leftover cooked brown rice or other grains, and some beans, Mexican Beans and Rice is such an easy meal to throw together. Once you have the Mexican Blend spice mixture prepared, there is a lot of flexibility with this recipe. You can add peppers, zucchini, kale or other vegetables. Use up whatever odds and ends are hanging out in your fridge. Black beans can be replaced with another kind of beans. Brown rice can be replaced with cooked quinoa or other grains.
When we were in Mexico for vacation at an all-inclusive resort, I was in heaven with the food selection. There were at least three different kinds of beans to choose from at lunch and dinner. My lunch and dinner meals usually consisted of leafy greens, lots of colorful veggies, beans, quinoa, pico de gallo and guacamole. The choices for beans included black beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas, pinto beans and lima beans. I would always take a pass on lima beans, but I like all the others, so I changed it up a little at each meal.
Beans are fiber rich prebiotics. They increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut to improve overall gut health. They are rich in iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorous and folate. The iron in beans is not easily absorbed but eating beans with vitamin C rich foods boosts absorption. Tomatoes in this recipe provide the necessary vitamin C to boost iron absorption. Beans are not considered a complete protein, but by combining beans with rice you get all of the essential amino acids required for complete protein.
Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to balance blood sugar and reduce blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber helps to regulate bowel function.
A lot of people worry about the gassiness created by beans. The gas-causing compounds in beans are oligosaccharides, which are sugar molecules that are combined in a way that the body cannot absorb them, so they make their way to the large intestine without being digested and absorbed, creating intestinal upset, gas and bloating. The good bacteria in the large intestine eat the sugars and produce gas. Think of the air bubbles in bread dough created by yeast. The bacteria in your gut create those same “gas bubbles” that have to be released. The amount of oligosaccharides can be reduced significantly by soaking, sprouting and cooking properly. Begin consuming beans in small amounts, and gradually increase the serving size so your body will adapt.
Brown rice is also rich in fiber and iron, as well as B vitamins, to regulate serotonin levels in the gut and brain, boost mood and fight fatigue.
Mexican Beans and Rice
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 28 oz can tomatoes or 2 lb. fresh roma tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked black beans or 1 19 oz can
- 1 5 oz can tomato paste
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup frozen or canned corn kernels
- ¼-½ tsp sea salt to taste
Mexican Spice Blend
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp raw cacao
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Heat avocado oil in large pot. Prepare Mexican Spice Blend.
- Add chopped onions, celery and garlic and cook about 5 minutes, until onions become translucent.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked rice, cooked black beans, corn, and spices. Stir.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, until heated through.
- Serve as a main dish, topped with cheese, in a tortilla or as a side with salad.