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Recipe: Veggie-rich Mexican rice a meal in itself

  • TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
                                “30-min. Frugal Vegan Recipes.”

    TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE

    “30-min. Frugal Vegan Recipes.”

Melissa Copeland wants you to understand that cooking vegan meals doesn’t mean spending a lot of money or hunting for exotic ingredients.

In her new cookbook, “30-Minute Frugal Vegan Recipes,” she offers lots of appealing dishes that are inexpensive, flavorful and simple to prepare.

A native of Canada, Copeland has been living abroad for 15 years and currently is based in Barcelona, Spain. She’s the creator of two popular vegan cooking blogs, The Stingy Vegan and Cilantro & Citronella.

She considers herself not just frugal but actually stingy. “I hate spending money and will go to ridiculous lengths to save a couple of bucks. I was born this way,” she writes in the cookbook’s introduction.

She uses spices and cooking techniques from many cultures to ramp up the flavor in her recipes. Among her vegan dishes are Smoky Mushroom Fajitas, Simple Spanish Lentil Stew and Vegetable Singapore Noodles.

This easy recipe for a vegan version of Mexican rice is loaded with veggies and beans. Copeland suggests making a big batch for multiple meals. It’s filling enough to be a main dish for lunch or dinner, or you can serve it as a side dish.

VEGGIE-PACKED MEXICAN RICE

From “30-Minute Frugal Vegan Recipes” by Melissa Copeland (Page Street Publishing Co., 2019, $21.99)

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon EACH ground cumin, chili powder and dried oregano
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced very small
  • 1/2 small zucchini, diced very small
  • 1 cup canned or frozen corn
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

>> Optional garnishes: Lime slices, cilantro, green onion, vegan sour cream or plain vegan yogurt

Put rice in a bowl and cover with water. Gently swirl your fingers through to rinse off some of the starch. Drain and repeat 2 times. Drain very well.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat oil over medium. Add rice and toast, stirring often, until you see golden brown spots, 5 to 10 minutes. You can let the rice toast while you prepare the vegetables, but don’t take your eyes off it for too long, as it can quickly burn. If it’s browning too quickly, turn off heat.

Meanwhile, in a small food processor or blender, combine tomato, onion and garlic and liquefy. You’re aiming to get 1 cup of puree. If you’re short, add a bit of stock, water or an extra slice of tomato to get to 1 cup.

Once rice is toasted, add cumin, chili powder, oregano, bell pepper, zucchini, corn, beans, salt, pureed veggies and stock to skillet. Bring to simmer, then lower heat to low and cover pan. Simmer 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure rice isn’t sticking and to check how quickly it’s cooking.

Remove pan from heat and fluff rice with a fork. If all the liquid has been absorbed but the rice is a bit underdone, leave it to stand, covered, for another 5 minutes. Stir in avocado and serve with any of the optional garnishes. Serves 4.

Nutritional information unavailable.

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