I’m obsessed with grilling. I’m not even sure I’m that good at it, but I do know I don’t like chicken, steak or hamburgers that aren’t grilled. And always wish my veggies were grilled when I cook them on the stove or in the oven. So last night I forgot to thaw my marinated chicken (yes, marinate it, freeze it, then thaw it and it marinates itself – it’s genius really) but NEEDED something grilled. I had veggies. And knew I wanted more protein and fiber, and a little carbs, naturally. So I decided I’d make some rice and beans with my veggies and call it a meal. The outcome of this sort of random, albeit boring, meal after the jump.
A sneak peek of all that’s to come.
I’m sure lots of you are thinking you wouldn’t make this meal without meat. So before you are turned completely off, I would have made this meal with my marinated chicken. Only difference would be there’d be bite sized pieces of marinated chicken on the skewers. So I say go for it. Pick your favorite meat, chunk it up, and marinate your little heart out. The rest of the meal is perfection, in my opinon.
So what’d I use?
- 1 green pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 1 red onion (although I wish I’d done 2)
- 1/2 box mushrooms
- 2 small to medium red potatoes, srubbed with skins on
- About 2 Tbs olive oil – enough to coat the veggies
- Seasonings – I used french fry seasoning, black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and tex mex blend
Spicy Black Beans and Rice
- 1/2 cup dry rice
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup salsa
First, I microwaved my potatoes in my Tater Baker for about four minutes. This ended up being slightly too long because the potatoes were about to fall apart when I cubed them up. Meanwhile I started boiling enough water to make two servings of brown rice. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, so that’s why I started it so early. I believe this was 1/2 cup of brown rice and 1 1/4 cup of water. I also started cutting my vegetables into bite sized pieces and threw them in a gallon bag with enough olive oil to coat (but not drown) them. I also coated my now cooked and cubed potatoes with olive oil. I didn’t shake them in the bag with the rest of the veggies because I was afraid they’d fall apart. So I painted the olive oil on instead. Again, don’t drown. You want enough for your seasonings to stick, but also so the veggies dont’ stick to the grill. It’s a fine line, people.
After everything was coated, I dumped the rest of the veggies on my cutting board with my potatoes. Then sprinkled on french fry seasoning (you could use salt instead), black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and this tex mex seasoning I have just for a little spice.
Next, skewer the vegetables. I tend to surround my bigger veggies that tend to fall off (most specifically in this case, the potatoes) with the thinner, more stable vegetables like green peppers and onions. Zucchini seems to have a tendency to fall off, too. Anyway, just try to stabalize your skewers as much as possible, or you’ll be flipping a bunch of rogue vegetables on your grill. And that can get hot! At some point make sure you light and warm up your grill. I usually light it and let it warm up as hot as it can go, then reduce it to about medium to cook my vegetables. Everyone has their own grilling style, though. In this case, I cooked the first side of the veggies on medium for about six minutes. When I turned I wasn’t happy with the grill marks, so I turned it up to medium high when I flipped and cooked for about seven minutes on the second side, then flipped and cooked the first side for about three or four more minutes. You can start to smell and feel when the veggies are about done. And since there’s no meat, cook them as much or as little as you like. I like fairly firm veggies. Plus, then I still like them warmed up the next day for lunch.
As my rice was nearing being done (about 4 minutes left) I poured in 1/2 a can of rinsed black beans and about 1/2 a cup of homemade salsa. I used Pioneer Woman’s Restuarant Style Salsa (only I make it a little spicier than she recommends) for my everday salsa in my house. I don’t personally think jarred salsa would be AS good, but it would work. I think it would also work to throw in Rotel, just don’t go too heavy on the juices. I brought the rice, beans and salsa back up to boiling to warm it all and cook off a little of the extra juices. Then brought it back down to simmering like it was before for the final four minutes.
I put about half of the beans and rice on my plate and topped with a little 2% cheese. Then put half the veggies on top. This made pretty big servings. It’s hard to know how much olive oil actually ends up on the veggies and cooks into them, but I estimated each serving to be about 600 calories. This isn’t bad for me for dinner since it’s all I ate. Usually I try to get my servings around 450-500 calories but then add in something like bread or cheese on top anyway. Plus, it’s loaded with good stuff between all the veggies, the brown rice, the black beans, and even the olive oil. I felt like I was eating really good for me food. And I didn’t feel over-full when I was done. This is an accomplishment for me!
Here are my veggies in the bag with olive oil. I sprinkled them with seasoning before they were skewered so I’d get seaonsings between the veggies. But you could also skewer then season. I also have a grill tray that I’ve cooked veggies on before. So that’s an option if you don’t like to mess with skewering.
Cooking rice is pretty boring, but here’s the final spicy beans and rice combo. Trust me, this stuff is so easy and SO GOOD. I want to find other reasons to eat it.
Here are my finished veggies. Ignore the pan. It’s a bit over-used and not really photo ready. But it got the job done!
The finished plate. By the time I ate the cheese had melted. It was restaurant material.
And a close-up. Because every model deserves a perfect close-up!
And a close-up of the spicy black beans and rice. Who wants some? I know I want more! And you know what’s good on this? An over-easy egg for breakfast I can’t explain it, but so good!