How to Made the Best Rice and Beans in a Rice Cooker
I don’t eat enough rice and beans. They are good for you by providing lots of protein, fiber and vitamins, low in fat and filled with complex carbs.
They are relatively cheap and so versatile. Serve them as a side dish, add them to omelettes or burritos or use them as a starter to make complete meals by adding other ingredients.
Rice and beans or some version of them can be found in just about every culture. Some may use a different form of rice or one of many varieties of beans or add a particular protein but they are thought of as rice and beans.
Lo-Cal Rice and Beans
I’ve been counting my calories for the last month so I was looking to create a “healthy” rice and bean version. First thing I did was substitute long grain brown rice for white rice. I knew I was going to make the rice in my rice cooker but then it struck me, “Why not make the entire dish in the rice cooker?”
Normally I would saute the garlic and onion in a pot, add the beans and then transfer the rice from a rice cooker to the pot. By making the entire dish in the rice cooker, I could eliminate the oil needed to saute the onion and garlic.
I used homemade chicken stock instead of water to cook the rice. This added more flavor to the rice and a little bit of fat for better mouthfeel. We usually have homemade chicken stock in the refrigerator or freezer but commercial chicken stock works well too. Try to find a good brand with low sodium and not too many calories from fat.
The saffron threads bring their own flavor to the dish in a way that’s hard to describe. I think of it as an earthy flavor, not sweet but pungent. I’m guessing if you asked 10 different people to describe what saffron tastes like in a dish, you would get 10 different answers.
Create Your Own Version
Even if you are not counting your calories, preparing rice and beans in a rice cooker can still work for you. You can substitute white rice for brown rice, red or white beans for black beans, veggie or beef stock for chicken stock.
Try different herbs and spices to change the flavor around. Some vegetables you may have to blanch or pre-cook before adding. Next time I may try some frozen peas. Don’t you find frozen peas add nice texture and flavor to most dishes?
Be adventurous with your cooking. Try something new and different. And try a rice cooker.