Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Almost Chipotle" Beans and Rice

Chipotle Mexican Grill is one of my favorite places to eat. The food is cheap, fresh, and good, and there are a lot of vegan options - all except for the meat, dairy, pinto beans (there's bacon in there), and honey chipotle vinaigrette for salads is vegan. This meal has a lot of the same ingredients and flavors as a vegan Chipotle burrito bowl - for when a craving hits, but you don't feel like leaving home. Incidentally, this happens to me about every other day.

This special version of beans and rice includes brown rice flavored with lots of lime juice, fresh cilantro (which, on this occasion, was locally grown in Virginia by the amazing Frog Bottom Farm), black beans seasoned with a bay leaf, oregano, lots of chili powder and cumin, and Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce. Those are topped with roasted onions, peppers, zucchini, and squash, and finally, a whole avocado, chopped and tossed with lime.

How to make "Almost Chipotle" Beans and Rice (makes about 4 servings):
What you need:
  • 4 servings hot cooked brown rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cans black beans (1 drained, 1 not drained)
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into half-moons
  • 1 zucchini, cut into half-moons
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
  • 4 avocados
  • salt, to taste
  • extra hot sauce, to serve
How to do it:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the black beans, including the cooking liquid from the undrained can of beans, with the bay leaf, oregano, chili powder, cumin and Tabasco. Stir, and simmer on very low heat until the flavors have combined and the beans are heated through. Add salt to taste.
  3. While the beans are simmering, toss the onion, pepper, zucchini, and squash with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Spread the vegetables evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the oven until the vegetables are cooked and the edges are browned, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Combine the hot cooked brown rice with the juice of one lime and the entire bunch of chopped cilantro (use less if you prefer - but I love the stuff!) Adjust seasoning. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  5. Remove the flesh from the avocados and chop into chunks. Toss the avocado with the juice of the second lime and season lightly with salt.
  6. When all the components are cooked and ready, assemble the meal on a plate with a base of the cilantro-lime brown rice, topped with the black beans (try to remove that bay leaf, if you can find it!), then some of the roasted vegetables, followed by the avocado. The dish is especially good with Valentina hot sauce poured on just before eating. Enjoy!

This meal is truly a complete one, with grains, vegetables, beans, and even fruit. The leftovers reheat nicely, but if you plan to save some for leftovers, cut the avocados for the leftover portions when it's time to eat - they can turn brown overnight, even with liberal amounts of lime juice. Even though eating at Chipotle is really cheap, as far as eating out goes, it is even cheaper to make this meal at home. You also get to control the spice and seasoning level yourself, and swapping brown rice for Chipotle's white rice adds nutritional value to the meal - always a good thing!

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