Thursday, March 20
Red Beans & Rice
You know how people always say things like, “Well, I’d be vegan, but it’s too expensive.” My answer to that is always, “Beans and rice. Bulk bins.” We’re lucky that we have access to what I think are the best bulk bins in the city just a mile from home. They’re stocked full with almost all organic beans, rice, flours, vital wheat gluten and nuts. Even if you don’t have a store with bins like these near you, you can still eat vegan on the cheap. Dry beans are so much cheaper than canned, especially organic beans, and rice is pretty cheap regardless. This is so much less expensive than say, flesh from an organically raised cow. And nicer too. Seriously. Don’t eat cows. Or pigs. Or any animals. Even organic ones. It’s mean and they don’t like it. Anyway, my point is: it’s cheaper to eat vegan, unless you buy tons of processed foods, like burgers and stuff. We weren’t having beans and rice because it’s an inexpensive dinner that goes a long way, that’s just a bonus. We were having beans and rice because we genuinely love them - especially red beans and rice. Like most vegans, we have about 80 recipes for this dish, but we have a favorite and it’s from Color Me Vegan. It’s so simple and has really just a handful of ingredients, most of which are probably already in your kitchen. You can use a can of beans (if you must), but I like to cook mine a day or two ahead of time and stick them in the fridge (meal-planning, people – do it), so it’s just as easy as opening a can.We had a couple of green peppers in the fridge from the Vegetable Husband basket we’d received last week. Since Seth was travelling for work for a few days, we didn’t get to use them until now. But that’s ok, because they keep well in the fridge and this was the perfect dish for them. The recipe calls for four vegan Italian sausages. We like Field Roast brand, so that’s what we used. I know right? After I just said how it’s not cheaper if you buy processed foods? The thing is, we don’t buy them that often, and if you want to, you can make your own. Also, we use two instead of four, mostly because I think four is too many. That’s just our personal preference, though. Anyway, beans? Check. Peppers & onions? Check. Sausages? Check. Rice? Check. I make one other minor tweak to the recipe, and this is once again just our preference, I add bouillon instead of using plain water. I just like the way brown rice tastes with broth better than without. Once it’s all in the pot, just cover it and leave it alone until the rice is done. Then mix in the parsley (thank you veggie basket for the bunch this week!) and go. I also made a batch of collards for Seth. He was so excited when I told him this week’s basket had a bundle of them in it. I used our super, duper top-secret method for cooking them, but this time I added a tomato kind of near the end of the cook time, and I didn’t have a turnip so it was just a couple of small potatoes and some of the really pretty carrots we’ve been getting in our weekly baskets. We got several servings of both the collards and the beans & rice, so there are plenty of leftovers for lunches. One more way to save money and eat yummy vegan grub – make a lot and pack it for lunch.