Rice and Beans and an Oil Free Chopped Thai Salad

March 17, 2016

Cajun rice and bean and Thai chop salad

I was cleaning out my kitchen yesterday when I found a gift jar I got from my nephew, Alexander, this Christmas. It was a jar of mix for making Cajun Dirty Rice. I gave it a try and it made a quick tasty supper for tonight.  I found the recipe below on Veggie Belly.

Cajun Dirty Rice Mix in a Jar

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large vegetable stock cube with its wrapping

Bring 2 cups of water plus the stock cube to a boil in a large sauce pan. Stir so the stock cube dissolves. When the water boils, add remaining contents of the jar. Stir. Reduce heat to low. Cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes or till the rice is cooked, but not mushy.

I found it took 45 minutes for the rice to cook, not 30 as the recipe suggests.

To complete the meal I added some cooked black beans to the rice and a whole bunch of veggies.

Saute:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped fine
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large handful kale, chopped fine

Once the veggies are tender, add:

  • 1 cup cooked black beans (small red beans would also be great)
  • Cooked Cajun rice

Taste the dish and adjust the flavors to your taste. Since I thought the dish could use a bit of tomato flavor and a bit more zing, I added some salsa, ketchup and cayenne. Delish.

  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
Left-Over Cajun Dirty Rice and Beans in a Burrito
Left-Over Cajun Dirty Rice and Beans in a Burrito

Update: The recipe makes enough for 4 people, so we had the left overs for lunch the next day. I added a few more beans and a bit more salsa and warmed up in a non-stick pan. Then I put the filling into 3 large burrito shells. To add a bit of cheezy flavor, I topped it with a bit of the dressing from the Chopped Thai salad (below) mixed with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. An excellent burrito and a good way to use up left overs.

 

 

 

For the last week I have been loving my salads with Oil Free Maple Mustard Dressing. Since I finished the jar yesterday, I tried a new one today. The Chopped Thai salad recipe below is an adaptation from Pinch of Yum. I removed the oil from the dressing and used tahini (like peanut butter but made with sesame seed) instead. Ken’s verdict – “Outstanding!” So glad I doubled the recipe, we can enjoy this all week. The recipe below made enough for 4 large side salads so if you won’t be eating it all at one meal, add dressing only to the portion you are eating and store the veggies without the dressing in the fridge for the next day. Use within 2 days or the cilantro will get yucky.

Oil Free Chopped Thai Salad

For the dressing:

  • ⅓ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey, agave, maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

For the salad:

  • 1 large handful kale
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame (optional)
  • 2 large carrots, grated or julienned
  • 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow), sliced thinly
  • ½ to 1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions or ¼ cup chopped red or yellow onion
  • ½ cup cashews or peanuts

Puree all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to fit your preferences.  (I doubled the recipe and saved the leftover to use in other salads later this week))

Wash the kale and chop fine. Masage kale with a squeeze of lemon juice for a few minutes.

Cook the edamame by boiling it for 3-5 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Drain and allow it to cool.

In a large bowl, mix massaged kale, romaine, cooked edamame (if using), carrots, peppers, chopped cilantro and onion. Toss with just enough dressing to nicely coat all the veggies.  Top with cashews or peanuts (the chilli lime flavoured ones are great)

Update: after the dressing sits in the fridge for a day or more, it will get quite thick in texture, mayonnaise like. Just give it a good stir and use as a creamy dressing on any salad. Or if you prefer a thin pourable dressing, add a tablespoon or two of water and re-blend.

Thanks Alexander for the inspiration for a great meal.

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