Every other week or so I will cook a big pot of beans or lentils, and a big pot of rice, and eat that in various forms for several days in a row. This is one variation I make quite often, and don’t seem to get tired of: black beans, steamed brown rice, steamed kabocha pumpkin and kale, topped with cojita or feta cheese, and a good salsa. It’s like the inside of a veggie burrito.

There are myriad variations and extra additions, including: minced cilantro, espazote or onion, chopped or sliced tomatoes, avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, roasted tempeh or tofu, sauteed or roasted mushrooms….

Cooking dried beans from scratch is easy, so cheap, and also allows you to control the amount of salt (and to eliminate other preservatives often found in canned beans). Pick through dried beans to make sure there are no small rocks mixed in. Soak over night if you wish, then cook in plenty of water, with a bit of salt, a bay leaf, and a chunk of onion if you like. Set on high until boiling, then turn down to the lowest setting, cover, and allow to cook for an hour or until tender. Then add any seasonings you like ( I like to add some cumin and a couple hot dried peppers). The only tip is to not add anything acidic (such as tomatoes or lime) until after the beans are cooked, as the acid will prevent them from cooking properly.

I usually just steam the rice, but sometimes I will sautée the rice first with a bit of garlic and chile powder in olive oil before steaming.

Enjoy, and let me know if you come up with any of your own variations!