Although I love a chip barm as much as the next person, some of my favourite meals are ones that ooze fresh vegetables. These are meals that taste fantastic and help you feel that you are bursting with vitamins! This rice and beans with avocado salsa is one of those dishes. There are many ways to cook rice and beans and I enjoy most of them. Almost twenty years ago I worked with the Caribbean community in Preston and would often visit the weekly lunch club. The fantastic cooks were all horrified that I didn’t eat meat but I was more than happy with a plateful of rice and beans, some vegetables or salad and a couple of the wonderful fried dumplings they made. The avocado salsa makes this a distinctive dish to the one I was served up then. It is colourful and tasty and still takes me back to those noisy and sociable lunches.
Ingredients for the rice and beans for two
- Small can of cooked beans [around 200 g] – you can use black eye beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas or whatever your favourite is
- 2 large fresh tomatoes [or 6-8 small tomatoes], chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 onion, sliced
- Around 125 g of brown rice [in our campervan I would use a pouch of quick cook / pre-cooked brown rice]
- Some cooked green beans [these could be left overs, tinned [handy in the campervan], frozen or cooked just for this]
- Tabasco sauce [optional]
Ingredients for the avocado salsa
- 1 avocado
- Lemon or lime juice
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped or chopped spring onions
- 1 chilli [according to your taste] deseeded and finely chopped
- Fresh coriander, chopped
- Sour cream or thick Greek yoghurt [optional]
You will need a large pan or wok, a chopping board and a sharp knife.
I tend to treat recipes as guidelines, rather than a hard and fast rule so don’t worry if there is something you don’t have in the cupboard or fridge. The dish works fine without fresh coriander for example and you could use another favourite vegetable instead of the green beans.
At home I would start by cooking the brown rice separately or use some leftover brown rice. Using leftover rice is safe so long as you follow these guidelines. At home I would also cook fresh green beans now.
In a wok or large pan, cook the onions until softened, add the tomatoes after five minutes and the crushed garlic and cook for a further five minutes or so.
In our campervan, as brown rice takes a while to cook, I would add one pouch of pre-cooked / quick cook brown rice to the pan after the garlic along with water and cook as the instructions suggest. If the green beans need cooking I would add these now too, making this a one-pot dish.
The rice and beans are now mostly an assembly job. Add the rice [if you haven’t already] the tinned beans and the green beans [if you haven’t already] to the onion and tomato mixture. Stir it well and season with pepper and salt to your taste. I usually stir in some Tabasco sauce at this point, remembering my Caribbean Lunch Club days. If you are not ready to eat this now, make sure you keep it warm.
While this is cooking, make the salsa. This is simple! Peel the avocado and chop it finely and add the finely chopped onion, chilli and fresh coriander. Stir everything together with the juice of 1/2 a lemon or one lime.
Serve the rice and beans with the salsa on the top and I like to add a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt. Enjoy!