A big pot of rice and beans makes a hearty dinner in the cool winter months, but this week’s quick Caribbean rice and beans is flavor-packed and perfect for summer.
Cooking dried beans can take hours and it takes about 45 minutes to cook regular brown rice, but using canned beans and instant brown rice lets you get dinner on the table in about 20 minutes.
This flavorful dish gets a hint of sweet creaminess from a can of coconut milk. You can use regular or light coconut milk, and both can be found in the Asian ingredients aisle of your supermarket.
The dish is flavored with minced garlic, green onions, dried thyme and hot sauce. You can add chopped fresh jalapeño if you’d like a spicier dish.
I like to use red beans, but you can use light kidney beans or black beans.
Add 1½ cups of diced smoked ham or peeled and deveined shrimp to make a heartier one-dish meal.
QUICK CARIBBEAN BEANS AND RICE
1 can regular or reduced-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon minced garlic, about 1 large clove
4 green onions, finely chopped
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 can red beans or light kidney beans, undrained
1½ cups instant brown rice
2 teaspoons golden brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste
Combine coconut milk, garlic, green onions and thyme in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the beans, rice and sugar and season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Add salt, pepper and hot sauce as needed. Makes 4-6 servings.