When I was in college, I studied as a full time student and often worked two jobs to make ends meet. Needless to say, time was my most precious commodity and when I did make the time to cook a healthy meal at home, it still needed to be quick, delicious, and easy on the wallet. Enter rice n’ beans!
I hadn’t grown up on beans and rice. Rice, yes. Beans, no. Beans were not a thing my family ate while I was growing up. But even before I went vegan, I knew beans were a great source of protein, fiber and antioxidants. I’m pretty sure that was a tidbit I got from Grade 8 Home Economics class. Plus, they were cheap. For $1-2 a can, I could make two meals along with rice and whatever wilty greens I had at the back of my fridge.
Shiitake mushrooms are not always inexpensive, but the best prices can be found at Asian grocery stores. Dried shiitakes have more flavour than fresh ones and will keep in a pantry for years if stored in a cool, dry location. I only use one or two at a time to add umami flavour to a big batch of rice. Adding ginger, garlic and sesame oil to the pot gives the rice a fragrance that is common to Chinese cooking and one that takes me back to a cozy time when life was not as hectic. If you like, toasted sesame seeds can be used in place of sesame oil for a whole food, oil-free version of this recipe.
Add in whatever greens you like to the pot during the last ten minutes of cooking. Brocolli, cauliflower, sliced nappa cabbage, and bok choy are all great additions. Kale can be bitter so I like to saute those on the side instead of placing them directly in the pot. This cooking method does take about 45 minutes from start to finish if you use brown rice (white rice cuts that time by 15 minutes or more but isn’t as filling or nutritious) but you really only have to be present for about 5 minutes of that, especially if you use an automatic rice cooker.
Printable Recipe for Vegan Shiitake Rice and Beans
- 1 cup basmati brown rice, uncooked
- 2 cups water
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube (such as McCormick’s All-Vegetable Beef Bouillon – yes, it’s vegan)
- 1-3 large shiitake mushrooms, minced (if you can’t find shiitake mushrooms, go for your favourite flavourful variety)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoons powdered ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of cooked kidney beans
- In a large pot, combine water, rice, and bouillon cube; set heat to high and cover.
- In a bowl, mix the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and salt.
- Once the rice comes to a rolling boil, add the mushroom mixture and kidney beans, then set the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.