Continuing the no wheat theme, here’s another wheat free and vegetarian meal. Combining a legume (beans) and rice makes a complete protein. Eating one or the other alone, does not. Cooking beans from scratch, especially if you do it in the crockpot, is also super economical. A small can of beans runs around $1, a bag of dried beans about the same, but it makes 10 times more.
Legumes are also high in fiber. Why is fiber so important? The more fiber a food has, the longer it takes for your body to digest, the harder your body has to work to digest, therefore burning more calories and thus makes you feel full much longer. But there’s more to fiber than just that. Studies have shown that in countries whose population consumes a high plant based diet, and therefore more fiber, have lower incidents of cancer.
The next thing to think about is juice and how it affects your blood sugar level. My kids ask me why I am so against juice, even 100% fruit juice. This is what I tell them. Imagine you are thirsty for a glass of juice. Just a cup, 8 oz. But you don’t have any juice on hand and you’re too lazy to drive to the store. But you do have oranges. How many oranges would you have to squeeze to get that cup of juice? Say 2? How long would it take you to drink that juice? Maybe a minute? If you had to eat 2 oranges, how long would it take? Would you even be able to eat 2 oranges at one sitting? The juice enters your blood stream faster than eating an orange, plus, you don’t get the benefit of the fiber.
The daily recommended amount of fiber you should be getting is 25 grams. Eating that amount daily lowers your risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 1 cup of black beans has 20 grams of fiber, serve that on top of 1 cup of brown rice for another 4 grams of fiber. And that’s before you’ve added some salsa, onions and maybe a side salad.
The night before, cover beans with cold water. In the morning, drain the water and start with fresh, cold water. (Changing the water will help with the…uh…intestinal…stuff.)
- Put beans in crockpot. Cover with about 1 inch of cold water.
- Add a chopped onion, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, a bay leaf and some fresh thyme sprigs. NEVER ADD SALT TO BEANS UNTIL AFTER THEY ARE COOKED. OTHERWISE THEY WILL BECOME TOUGH!
- Add a ham hock or smoked turkey leg for extra flavor. Omit for the vegetarian version.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
- Depending on how thin or thick you want them, you can drain some of the liquid or not.
- Season to taste with more sauteed onions, sauteed fresh chili, chopped garlic, salt, herbs, chili powder etc.
- Serve with brown or white rice (brown is better for you)
- Top with grated cheese, cilantro, salsa, avocado, chopped onions or tortillas.
Making brown rice is just like cooking white rice. 2 parts water to 1 part rice. It just takes longer, 40 minutes for brown versus 20 for white. That’s because it has more fiber and is less processed. For more flavor you can cook your rice with vegetable or chicken broth.
Bring liquid to a boil. Add rice. Reduce heat to low and cook about 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.