Sunday, July 25, 2010

Red beans and rice did miss her!

    When I told Tim we were having 'beans and rice' for dinner, he busted out with some Baby Got Back lyrics, so I couldn't resist using them as my title.  Black beans and rice would be more accurate, however.  This is a recipe adapted from Vegan Yum Yum, which is a fantastic vegan cook book.  Not one recipe has yet to let me down from this book.
   The best part about this dinner is that it has kale--and I still like it.  There seem to be an abundant number of vegan and vegetarian bloggers out there who claim to love kale.  I wish I could say I fell in this camp but then I would just be a poser.  Kale, in my very humble opinion, does not taste good.  At all.  Unless it's in the form of kale chips, I'm never too impressed with this particular leafy green.  That being said, I know I should try to sneak it into my diet every now and then since it has super nutritional properties and those super green veggies are the ones we should be striving to get the most of in our diets.
    And here is where Tahini Lemon Rice and Beans comes in to save me from my kale-hating ways.  Now, I had to adjust this recipe some because in addition to the kale, black beans, and brown rice it calls for, it also includes seitan.  I have only had one seitan experience.  I tried to make it homemade using the recipe from Veganomicon , and the results were not pretty.  I can usually choke down my cooking disasters even when I know it isn't the most delicious thing I've ever tasted, but this--this was completely inedible.  So right off the bat seitan was eliminated from the ingredient list.  I can't say what it would be like with the seitan, but without it, it was delicious.  So good that as I am writing this I wish I had a plate in front of me even though I just had lunch.  The kale blends right in with the dish and I couldn't taste any of its normal bitterness. The sauce is incredibly rich and creamy.  I'm pretty sure I'll be making this dish again very soon as I am salivating just from writing this description.
   Let me warn you before I get to the recipe:  it isn't a pretty meal.  Tim suggested I not photograph this one.  I went ahead and took the picture because I know I like seeing what something is supposed to look like before I make it.  Cook books with color photos are my favorite.  :)

Tahini Lemon Rice and Beans
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum 

1 cup brown rice
Tahini Lemon Sauce (recipe below)
Coconut oil for sauteing
1/2 bunch kale, deveined and chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, or one 15.5 ounce can, rinsed and drained

Tahini Lemon Sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium Tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup tahini
Juice from 1 large lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (I use regular rather than vegan varieties since I'm not a vegan and don't necessarily need my meals to be completely animal-free)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Step 1:  Start cooking the rice according to the package directions or however you normally cook your rice.

Step 2:  Make your sauce.  Simply whisk all the ingredients together (see my lovely ingredients picture above?)  in a bowl and set aside.

Once your rice is getting close to being done, start the next step.

Step 3:  Heat a small amount of oil in a saute pan and add the kale.  Once the kale starts to wilt, add the beans and heat through.

So happy all this kale was part of the meal!!  

Step 4:  Stir in the sauce and turn off the heat.   Cover until the rice is finished.  Once the rice is finished cooking, add it to the pan and toss to coat.  

I told you it wasn't pretty, but remember it is oh so good!

Meghan took one look at this dish and said, "Oooh! Oooh!", which, by the way, is her way of saying, "Noooo!  Noooo!" because she doesn't pronounce her n's yet.  This was frustrating because I know this is one meal she would like if she would just taste it!  She hasn't yet learned the value of not judging a meal by its looks and I don't think she's quite old enough for me to apply the "you must at least taste everything" rule.  She did eat some black beans once they were removed from the other offending ingredients and made to look completely plain.  Secretly, I think Tim and I weren't too upset that she didn't eat any because that meant there was more for us. 

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