The recipe below contains a fairly standard list of ingredients for this dish. What makes this Cuban cuisine different, from other rice dishes, is that you cook the rice with the juice from the beans instead of using water.

My goal is to be the Julia Child of the vegan world but it’s looking more like I will end up as a bit of a Lucille Ball version.

Because…I mess up…a lot…

And, my latest attempt at this dish was no exception.  Would you believe I accidentally cooked the rice without the bean juice?  That left me with no choice but to sweat the veggies with the juice from the beans.

Have you seen Lucy’s Vitameatavegamin episode? Don’t you love that one?

I digress…

Another way to prepare this dish is to assemble and heat it stove-top and then bake it in the oven. I chose to keep half of the stove-top portion separate to eat without the extra baking.  I put the other half in a standard loaf pan and baked the bejesus out of it. Just kidding! I did bake it though, normally, and that resulted in a bit of a crusty top which was very enjoyable. However, it really didn’t hold together as well as a typical loaf.

Often times, you will see this recipe prepared with ham or bacon. I threw in liquid smoke to give the dish a “meaty” flavor. I’m not a huge fan of liquid smoke (I was when I first discovered it, though) and never add more than 1 tsp to a recipe.
You may also see red wine or cider vinegar added to these recipes. I chose to omit this only because I didn’t have either of those types on hand. The dish tasted quite good without either one.

I chose a sweet onion over a red one because of the added heat from the three hot peppers. Plus, as another heated bonus, the vegan husband bought a small can of chipotle sauce in a recent shopping excursion so I threw that in as well!!
Lastly, instead of using black beans exclusively, I chose to add 1/2 cup of black eyed peas. I was short on black beans and love, love, love black eyed peas. No one was disappointed!
Delicious as a side or main dish.
Serves 8-10

1 cup dried black beans or 1/2 cup dried black beans and 1/2 cup dried black eyed peas and the their liquid (3+ cups)
3 cups cooked long grain brown rice (about 1 1/2 cups dry)
1 tsp liquid smoke, optional
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 sweet or red onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger root, minced
1-3 hot peppers (chili, jalapeno, chipotle or whatever hot pepper you like)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro leaves
1 bay leaf
1-2 large vegetable bouillon
chipotle sauce, optional (only available in a small can in my neck of the woods)
1 tbsp tamari, optional
tomato paste or 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced (I prefer tomatoes but they were looking rather sad at the grocery store so I substituted with leftover tomato paste that we had living in the fridge, use about 1 tbsp, as usual I didn’t measure)

optional for topping:
lime, wedged

Cook beans and peas until tender, drain and reserve liquid. The black eyed peas cook faster than the beans so cook separately.  Cook rice, according to directions on package, using bean liquid instead of water. Add water only so that you have a total of 3 cups of liquid. Add 1 vegetable bouillon to the rice and liquid. While the rice is cooking, heat a large soup pot with a little water and add celery, onion, green pepper, garlic, ginger and hot peppers. Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent. If you plan to serve stove-top version only, heat until celery is tender.  Add the spices, chipotle sauce, tamari and tomatoes or paste. Cook for a few more minutes. Add rice and beans to veggie mixture.  If extra moisture is needed, add any remaining bean liquid. Or dissolve second vegetable bouillon in a little boiling water and add to mixture. If extra baking is desired, preheat oven at 350°, transfer ingredients to loaf pan and cook for 30 minutes.

Do you have a favorite I Love Lucy episode? Please comment…