Drama-Free Rice and Beans

Rice and bean mexican salad gluten free vegan

For the most part, I’m a pretty drama-free girl. From day one, my mom says that I “came out mellow,” and that’s pretty much been my way of being in the years since, with the exception of a few adolescent outbursts. However, there are a few things I’m a bit of a drama queen about.

Like when I open my car door to get out and it’s juuuust not open wide enough, so it comes swinging back and hits me in the leg. I think I’ve scared my neighbors with my expletives a few times.

Or when I carry my groceries up my three flights of stairs, huffing and puffing, sweating, needing to pee in a big way, then go to find the right key to open my door in the sea of keys I carry everywhere, and drop the entire thing just as I get it up to the key hole. I will cry.

Or when I get all fancy in my Sunday cooking, just trying to make my lunches for the week, trying to live a responsible, well-planned adult life, and I end up with 5-days-worth of nearly inedible food. To make matters worse, I usually end up eating the failure food anyway because I also hate wasting things. This experience will ruin my day, and usually the only thing that will make it better is an oven-fresh chocolate chip cookie and trash TV (and I mean really the. only. thing). Again, drama queen.

My mom knows all-too-well that my lunches are very important to me. She’s experienced first hand when I’ve spent $30 on ingredients and literally could not force down the result. So, when her coworker recommended a very simple and quick bean salad, she thought of me and my lunch adventures.

The recipe intrigued me, but it was SO straightforward…so simple…so unlike me and my Sunday experimentation. It may not get me into my Sunday cooking trance, but it would supply me with food for a full week with very little effort. I decided it was worth a try. This dish comes together in literally 20 minutes, and will feed you for DAYS. Now that’ll just make a girl smile.

Mexican Rice and Beans

Serves 5-6
Adapted from my mom’s coworker’s recipe. Which doesn’t really help you at all.

  • 2/3 cup arborio rice
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pico de gallo
  • 1 avocado, diced

Bring water to a boil and add salt and a splash of olive oil. Pour in the rice, cover, and allow to simmer for 18-20 minutes.

Arborio Rice

Chop up the zucchini into little chunks.

Zucchini cut up for rice and bean salad

Drain and rinse your beans, and toss with the zucchini, rice, lime juice, and garlic. Stir in the pico.

Southwest rice and beans zucchini limes

When you’re ready to eat, add the avocado.

Rice and bean mexican salad gluten free vegan up

Serve with corn chips to increase the fun factor.

mexican rice and bean salad gluten free vegan Chips

This is probably the fastest recipe I’ve posted so far, and it’s just perfect. However, if you want to get experimental (but I don’t know anyone who would ever do that) you could add other veggies like bell peppers, spinach, or corn (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Rice and bean mexican salad gluten free vegan chip

You can also replace the rice with barley, kasha, quinoa…or really whatever you want. I think the thick arborio rice worked really well here because it could hold up to all the other ingredients instead of becoming flimsy (like basmati rice may have), but go with what your heart desires.

Rice and bean mexican salad gluten free vegan side

If you want to be fancy you can make your own pico de gallo, but this weekend was all about simplicity for me. Well, that and my mom had picked up the groceries for me and found a fresh container of pico de gallo at Kowalski’s, and who am I to pass up free ingredients? That would just be rude.

mexican rice and bean salad gluten free vegan

Did I mention it’s both gluten free AND vegan?

It’s fresh and summery, and perfect for bringing to a potluck, barbecue, or to the office 5 days in a row out of laziness/drama avoidance. Whatever your reason, take 20 minutes to make your life easier.


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