Archive for the ‘Rice’ Category

Indian cooking is great for the Fast because most of it is already vegan or pretty darn close.  The key to flavors is lots of spices and time.

In this recipe, the essential ingredient is the fenugreek leaves.  I could not find them in our grocery store so I had to order them online.

The finished curry should be slightly thick like a good gravy.  It shouldn’t be runny.  You can mash some beans at the end to thicken the sauce.

You can also make this recipe in the Instant-pot.  To do that: soak the beans over night, make the curry, add the beans, and cook on high pressure for 25-30 minutes, let the pressure down naturally, add the fenugreek leaves, simmer gently, serve


1 cup kidney beans soaked overnight with 1 teaspoon salt

1 large onion (1-1/2 cups) chopped

2-3 tomatoes (1 cup) chopped

3 garlic cloves pasted or grated on a microplane

1 inch of ginger pasted or grated on a microplane

1 green chile (optional) pasted or grated on a microplan

1 teaspoon ground coriander (or roasted and ground fresh coriander seed)

1/4 teaspoon red chile powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon crushed kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves)

2 tablespoons oil

1 1/2 cups of reserved bean cooking water or plain water

**Family size should double this recipe

  1.  Lord, bless my work.
  2. Rinse soaked beans and cook 1 hour on the stove top or until tender, or 40-45 minutes under high pressure Instant pot.  Reserve cooking liquid.
  3. Make the curry: Heat oil in the pot and gently saute onions until they are lightly brown or even to caramelization
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, and green chile past and saute on low until fragrant (a very short time)
  5. Add the tomatoes and saute until soft, 2-3 minutes
  6. Add all spices, turmeric, red chile, coriander, garam masala, stirring constantly
  7. Add the beans, stirring
  8. Add 1 1/2 cups of bean cooking liquid (the start helps the sauce thicken) or plain water, stir
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened
  11. Add the fenugreek leaves, stir and simmer briefly
  12. Serve over rice

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Here’s a scandalously easy recipe.

Honestly, it’s tempting to make really elaborate vegan versions of non-fasting foods and spend a ton of time and money on them.  Food is one of my greatest weaknesses so I feel you.  But, for the Fast we should keep it cheap, simple, and healthy.  So, for those nights that you’re out of time and energy -a boxed mix.  You hopefully have some pre-cooked beans in your freezer or a can of beans in the pantry.

Two years ago the kids and I stopped in New Orleans on a road trip.  We were graciously hosted by the priestly family of my favorite Greek friend.  We visited Father and Presvytera’s church, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the oldest Greek church in North and South America.  The parish was beautifully restored after Katrina related flooding.  Presvytera’s parting gift to us was a couple of boxes of Zatarain’s.  I’d never had it before and I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor.

Because the beans and rice in the mix are parboiled they won’t tide your over for days, but I like to add an additional cup of cooked red beans for every box mix.


1 cup salted cooked red beans (small red  beans or kidney beans), or one can of beans

1 box of Zatarains Dirty Rice mix (or the Aldi brand is pretty good)

1 cup of diced red or orange bell peppers

**Note- this serves 2-3 people, for a family double all of the above

  1. Lord, bless my work.
  2. Prepare according to box directions.
  3. 2-3 minutes before the rice is finished stir in diced bell peppers
  4. Serve.


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The beautiful gold color comes from turmeric.

The fast is underway.  How are you feeling?  The Peter and Paul fast is tough because it starts with no buildup.  Hang in there.  You can do it!

Today’s recipe is all about new flavors.  Admittedly, I prefer onion, garlic, and tomato flavors and many recipes are in the same flavor palette (or palate :-).  I hope you enjoy something different.

Garbanzos with Couscous takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and just two pans.  As we are not using our air conditioner I don’t want to heat up the kitchen- this recipe didn’t.

I am experimenting with a gluten free diet so if you want to try this recipe gluten free, use brown rice, or quinoa instead of couscous.  Quinoa is closer to couscous texture wise and cooks quickly, but, brown rice on the dry side of done wouldn’t be too bad.

1/2 cup of cooked quinoa has 7 grams of protein

1 cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein

1/3 cup dry whole wheat couscous (about 2/3 cooked) has 8 grams of protein

Rice and couscous are incomplete proteins, paired with the chickpeas in this recipe, they are complete.

2 cups of cooked chick peas has about 24 grams plus plenty of soluble fiber for your blood sugar to help you feel full


Garbanzos and Couscous or Quinoa

1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

3 carrots, chopped

1 14 ounce can of diced tomatos

1 15 ounce can of garbanzos, or two cups precooked beans (if they’re frozen, no need to thaw)

1 cup broth

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 cups cooked grain

Lettuce salad (just lettuce or add vegetables to suit your taste)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Gently saute onion and garlic in a bit of oil, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Step 3. Add all other ingredients except grain, bring to a boil, then simmer until carrots are juuuuust tender, about 10 minutes.

Step 4. Stir in grain and serve over cool, crip lettuce.  I prefer to leave the carrots raw and serve with the lettuce because they add a nice crunch.  I love crunchy stuff, that’s why I love my Mom in Law so much.  However, carrots are best used by the body cooked.

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Protein rich peanut butter sauce is very fast, easy, and oil free.

Natural peanut butter is better for your health.  Skippy, Jif, and the like are made with hydrogenated oils.  I’ll save you the chemistry lesson, just remember that margarine never goes bad because it is made of hydrogenated oil.  No animal, bug, or mold will eat that stuff.  Jif is the same way.  Natural peanut butter tastes more like peanuts and is usually not sweetened.  When you decide to switch give yourself time to adjust.  Still, you can make this recipe with Jif if you want.

This recipe comes straight from Betty Crocker.  Feel free to use whichever vegetables you want.  I encourage you to keep the been sprouts for protein and nutrition.

Each 1 cup serving has about 14 grams of protein!


Peanut Butter Sauce 4 one cup servings

8 ounces rice stick noodles (rice or pasta of choice) Rice stick noodles are very fast and need only sit in boiling water to soften.

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp grated ginger root

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 cup vegetable broth

4 ounces bean sprouts (about 1/2 cup or more)

1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 in strips

2 medium green onions, sliced

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (garnish-as desired)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Prepare rice noodles according to package directions.

Step 3. Beat peanut butter, soy sauce, gingerroot and crushed red pepper in a small bowl, using a whisk or fok, until smooth.  Gradually beat in broth.

Step 4. Place noodles in a large bowl.  Add peanut butter mixture, bean sprouts, bell pepper and onions; toss.  Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

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What?! More beans and rice?!  Yes.  I wish I could do more, but, it’s lent.  But hey, today was Sunday of the cross so we’re almost there.

This is a different version of beans and rice that you will really like.  The red wine vinegar and bay leaf surprise your palate.  I usually take a picture of the dish before we sit down to eat.  This time I didn’t and I am sorry.  The beans and rice were too delicious and there wasn’t anything left to photograph.  If you make this dish, I will happily feature your photo here.


Black Beans and Rice

2 tsp salt

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups long grain rice

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 large green or red pepper, chopped (1 1/2 cups)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

2 15-ounce cans of black beans, undrained (or two cups of cooked dry beans plus 1/2 c water)

1 cup vegetable broth

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

1/2 cup sliced green onions (garnish, optional)

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. In a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of water with 1 tsp of the salt and 1 1/2 tsps of the olive oil.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the rice, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until rice is tender.

Step 3. In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat.  Saute the onion, green or red pepper, and garlic until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

Step 4. Add the beans, broth, vinegar, bay leaves, black pepper, cumin, and remaining salt.    Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes; remove the bay leaves.  Spoon the beans over the rice and sprinkle with the scallions.  Serve warm.

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Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice with a side of Thumb

I spent two very hot summers working in the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant.  In spite of all the dangers of being a “line cook” (singed eyebrows, forearm burns so numerous they resembled Chinese characters, and soggy feet thanks to a stubborn floor drain), I loved the job.  The restaurant served good Spanish rice, and good Spanish rice is gently cooked in oil before adding the liquid.  A distracted cook can turn that gently cooking rice into a stinky, burning, pot-ruining mess so fast it could make demons jealous.   Unfortunately for my boss, I was a distracted cook.  Penitently, I am warning you not to take your eyes off of your rice.

Follow the recipe as written for white rice but be aware that rinsing white rice means you wash off all of the vitamin fortification.  Brown rice will maintain it’s nutritional value after rinsing. If you use brown rice follow the recipe as written but do not add the frozen peas until ten minutes before the rice has finished cooking.  Otherwise they will overcook and lose their beautiful color.  (See picture).

I think this rice would go great with South American Red Bean Soup

Brown rice has twice the protein of white rice.  I’m just sayin’…

Mexican Rice

1 cup long grain rice

7 ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice

1/2 onion, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Scant 2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 tsp salt

3 fresh green chilies, trimmed (optional)

1 cup frozen peas

pepper to taste

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Put the rice in a heatproof bowl, pour in boiling water to cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.  Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.  Set aside to dry slightly.

Step 3. Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes and juice into a food processor or blender, add the onion and garlic and process until smooth.

Step 4. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan, add the rice and cook over medium heat until it becomes a delicate golden brown.  Stir occasionally to ensure that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Seriously, do not take your eyes off of that pot.

Step 5. Add the tomato mixture and stir over a moderate heat until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Stir in the stock, salt, whole chilies, and peas.  Continue to cook the mixture until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is just tender.

Step 6. Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with a tight-fitting lid, and let it stand in a warm place for 5-10 minutes.  Remove the chilies, fluff up the rice, and serve.

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Shrimp Curry

This is a family favorite.  My husband prefers it without the apples (I like them).  In their stead I use green bell pepper and snow peas.  If you use snow peas add them with the shrimp as they need only cook 2-3 minutes.  If you prefer not to use shrimp, consider tofu, or bean sprouts for protein.  If you use bean sprouts add them with the shrimp so they don’t overcook.

If you read labels you might freak out about the saturated fat in a can of coconut milk.  Yea, well, read the side of a cow or a pig sometime.  There is a lot of debate about the safety of saturated fats.  I am not qualified to discuss that.  I do know that during a long fast some saturated fat from a plant source is appropriate for our family.  I think this is especially true with a couple of little ones running around.  There is half fat coconut milk on the market too and you may be more comfortable with that.

Speaking of little ones- my chopping looks a little crazy in the pictures.  That is thanks to my precious helper who will be 3 years old this week.  🙂

Spicy Shrimp Curry with Coconut Milk and Apple (Real Simple 2004)  about 6 generous servings

1 large unpeeled Granny Smith apple

Garlic, ginger, onion for flava.

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tsp curry powder

1 tsp ground coriander (optional)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cayenne (optional)

4 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup frozen peas

1 13 1/2 ounce can coconut milk, unsweetened

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled, veined (If your budget is like ours (small), use less shrimp and more veggies)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Step 1. Lord, bless my work.

Step 2. Quarter, core, and slice the apple into 1/4 inch thick pieces; set aside.

Step 3. Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet, or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the ginger, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is tender and golden.

Step 4. Add the curry, coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne  and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.  That’s how you get the flava.

Step 5. Add the tomatoes, apple, and 3/4 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes.

Step 6. Add the peas and coconut milk and cook for 5-8 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes or just until the shrimp are cooked.  Stir in cilantro.  Serve over rice.

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