Beans and rice are an inexpensive and nourishing staple food in many regions of the world. Here they are blended with piquant spices and formed into cakes that are served with a delectable rich coconut sauce.
Rice and beans with a zesty twist–and using canned beans means you can make them in practically no time. Tasty, vegan, and substantial.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked or one 15-ounce can pinto, kidney, or other red beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cold cooked white or brown rice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, paprika, thyme, and cayenne. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, combine the beans, rice, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste, and sautéed onion mixture. Pulse to blend, leaving some texture intact. Shape into patties and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bean cakes and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides. 7 to 10 minutes total. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.
4. Place the almonds and shallots in a blender and grind into a paste. Add the coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until hot.
5. Transfer the bean cakes to a platter, pour the sauce over them, and serve.
Adapted from Vegan Planet, by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, 2003).