By Crystal Grobe

After a long day at work, it can be difficult to muster up enough energy to make dinner, not to mention a healthy dinner. Faced with this situation many times in the past, I could usually put something together on the fly, but lately, my mind has been going blank. Sure, I could have a pizza or some sub sandwiches delivered, but that isn’t much help to my effort to eat healthy.

Since I needed good food fast (or somewhat fast), I turned to old cookbooks for ideas and found a great recipe for Italian Rice and Beans that I hadn’t made in years.

italian rice and beans crystal grobe Bite Of Minnesota: Italian Rice And Beans

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

It’s made with plenty of pantry staples like brown rice, white beans, and sun-dried tomatoes and packs in great nutrients from fresh spinach and toasted nuts (I used walnuts since pine nuts are a bit pricey). Simply start the rice when you get home and before you know it, dinner will be on the table. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to serve a family of four. Add a side salad or steamed vegetable to add even more nutritional punch.

Italian Rice and Beans
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm
(serves 4)

1 cup brown rice, uncooked
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
2 tsp fresh Italian herbs of your choice (basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, etc)
1 (15 oz.) can great northern beans (or other white bean), rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
Zest from 1 lemon

Cook rice according to package directions or use a rice cooker. When rice is nearly finished, heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes, nuts, and herbs; stirring often. When nuts have turned golden brown, add white beans and toss gently to keep beans whole. Add salt and vinegar and reduce heat to low.

Add spinach to sauté pan, in a single layer over the beans and tomatoes. Place hot, steaming rice over spinach and let wilt for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Toss gently and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with lemon zest and serve.


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