Mexican Rice and the Ultimate Side Salad

It was about time that I used the only two canned products I had in my cabinet. Although it is rare, there are some vegetables you just have to buy in the can. Especially for this delicious Mexican rice. It called for a can of diced tomatoes and black beans. I was careful to drain and rinse the black beans thoroughly and I used diced tomatoes with green chilies (because I always like the extra heat) and sieved the tomato juice from the diced tomato and chili pieces.
Side note: This dish is great for leftovers – in fact I am still working on them! Also, I like to top the rice with sour cream and avocado as a “cooling element.” Yum 🙂

I used a recipe adapted by
* 1 cup of white rice
* 2 cups of water
* 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
* 1-2 tsp olive oil
* 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
* 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely
* 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
* 2 tsp ground cumin
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1/2 tsp oregano
* Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
* 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped finely

Bring the water to boil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add the rice, cover with lid and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for another 5 minutes.
While the rice steams, set a fine sieve in a large measuring cup and drain the tomatoes. Add enough water to the tomato juice to equal 1 cup. Chop the tomatoes very finely.
Heat the olive oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeno to the skillet and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the black beans, cumin, chili powder, oregano, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Stir in the tomato juice mixture and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans absorb much of the liquid, 5-7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cilantro and cooked rice then cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is warm, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately. Enjoy.
I must give credit to Ms. Bonnie – and Lance I suppose 😉 – for introducing me to this delicious, fresh salad. Cucumber + Avocado + Tomato = perfect vegetable (fruit) trio! I haven’t quite mastered the dressing but I know it consists of extra-virgin olive oil, freshly cracked Italian herbs seasoning, fresh basil, salt and pepper, and maybe some balsamic vinegar? Nevertheless, you simply cube the three main ingredients and drizzle them lightly with the dressing and basil. The ultimate side salad.


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