“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.” ~Erma Bombeck
Before I joined Weight Watchers in October of 2006, boxed rice and pasta mixes were regularly tossed into my shopping cart as an easy side to a meal. Yet, quickly I learned that making my own brown rice had a lot of healthy benefits (not to mention being easier on my budget since I could buy brown rice in bulk which afforded me more fresh produce). While some people can stomach plain brown rice, I tend to favor more flavorful combinations, so quickly I learned to enhance rice side dishes with vegetables and herb and spice combinations.
When I switched to plant-based meal plans a couple of years ago I discovered that my go-to meals would often take inspiration from Mexican dishes. Beans are a huge staple in our house and my favorite way to eat them is to combine them with spicy brown rice, homemade salsa, and guacamole.
Brown rice is very versatile and I like to make the Spicy Brown Rice in bulk. It is wonderful warm, or even cold, as an accompaniment to a salad. Sometimes while it is still warm I fold in chopped spinach or kale, vegetable stock, black beans, and garnish the bowl with a squeeze of lemon and chopped cilantro ~ Voila…a one pot meal that is filling and healthy.
SPICY BROWN RICE
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 1 cup tomato sauce (I used chunky Muir Glen. Sometimes I add the entire can if I want extra tomato flavor. You can also add a few fresh chopped tomatoes)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 yellow bell pepper (or color of your choice)
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 4 oz can of fire roasted chilis
- 2 Tablespoons of Homemade Taco Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or cooking oil of choice)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Saute onion, garlic, celery in coconut oil until soft
- Add water, rice, and other ingredients
Simmer for approximately 60 minutes until rice is done. Stir often and add extra water if needed. Rendered six cups of rice. Will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
- 3 large chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- Cilantro chopped (to taste. I added 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 lime (juice and zest)
- 1/2 finely chopped jalapeno (To taste. Sometimes I add extra if I want my salsa to have a kick)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients.
- The salsa gets more flavorful as the ingredients mingle so it is a good idea to make a few hours in advance.
- You can drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving.
When I make salsa, I normally do not measure and simply toss in the ingredients. Sometimes I add chopped parsley, avocado, mango, and I have even added pineapple for a sweet and savory taste. The salsa gets very juicy and this week when we finished off the salsa I reserved the juice and added extra ingredients for another batch. I cannot get enough of this salsa.
In addition to the Spicy Brown Rice and Snappy Salsa, I am addicted to guacamole. In a previous blog post, Layered Refried Bean and Guacamole Dip, I shared a simple recipe for guacamole. This week I left out the Vegan sour cream and taco seasoning and add extra lime and a dash of cumin instead. While my favorite way to eat guacamole is with tortilla chips, I often use fresh chopped vegetables as dippers for a healthier option.
Eating healthy does not have to translate to bland food if you get creative with ingredients. I will continue to share my different flavor combinations for brown rice and other side dishes. Here is a link to my Pinterest board if you are interested in pinning any of my recipes: Produce with Amy.
With summer in full swing I hope you are enjoying the abundance of produce at the grocery store and at your community farmers markets. Thank you for reading my blog and stay tuned for more fruit and vegetable rich recipes. Together we will reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. ❤