Tropical Black Beans with Coconut Rice

Getting dinner on the table in our household is sometimes a challenge. Despite the fact that I love to cook, weeknight meal preparation often feels more like a chore than an enjoyable pastime. New York’s endless take-out options also make it far too easy to be lazy, and let’s be honest, a bit unhealthy. I find that making dinner happen is a lot easier if I think ahead and carefully choose my recipes.

I have three main requirements for a weeknight dinner. First, it most be delicious. I really don’t see the point in bothering with mediocre food. Andrew and I rate every new recipe I try. If a dish doesn’t score at least an 8 out of 10 it doesn’t enter regular rotation. Second, it must be quick and easy. Ideally I am in and out of the kitchen in under 45 minutes, leaving plenty of time in my evening for watching cheesy television. Third, it makes good leftovers. Andrew takes his lunch to work most days and I work from home. Eating leftovers for lunch helps keep our food budget in check and ensures that most of our meals are relatively healthy.

Tropical Black Beans with Coconut Rice passes all three tests with flying colors. Prepping and cooking takes about half-an-hour, the final product is absolutely delicious and it tastes just as good the next day. I highly recommend adding this to your week-night menu.


Tropical Black Beans with Coconut Rice
Adapted From Cooking Light Fresh Food Superfast

Tropical Black Beans

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (I use red, orange or yellow – about 1 1/2 full peppers) You can use pre-chopped peppers to save time.
3/4 cup chopped red onion (or 1 chopped onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (1/2 inch) chunks mango (1 mango)
1/3 cup fresh orange juice or 4-5 tablespoons frozen orange juice*
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or dutch oven (I prefer using a deeper pot – I’m a bit messy! I generally break out my 4 1/2 quart dutch oven)
Add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Sauté 4 minutes or until tender.
Stir in mango, juice, spices and beans. Cook 3-4 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Serve over 1/2 cup coconut rice and sprinkle each serving with 2 T cheese

Coconut Rice

1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant brown rice
1/4 chopped green onions
Dash of hot sauce (to taste)

Combine coconut milk and salt in a 2-quart saucepan.
Bring to a boil; gradually stir in rice.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
Remove from heat; let stand, covered 5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork. Stir in hot sauce and green onions.

If you don’t have instant rice on hand you can make this with normal brown rice. I follow the instructions on the package, subbing coconut milk + broth or water for the amount of liquid required.

*We are not regular OJ drinkers and I can’t stand buying a big jug of juice just for one recipe.  Instead I keep a tub of frozen concentrate in my freezer, either in tupperware or in the the original packaging covered with plastic wrap. When a recipe calls for fresh juice I sub in frozen – I just scoop it right out of the tub and into the pot. Just make sure to add a little less than the recipe calls for since the frozen stuff is more concentrated.

Nutritional Info – Per Serving

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6
Calories: 237
Fat: 5.4g
Protein: 12.2g
Carb: 40.8g
Fiber: 8.4g
Chol: 9mg
Iron: 3.4mg
Sodium: 198mg
Calc: 177mg

Coconut Rice
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4
Calories: 122
Fat: 4.4g
Protein: 2.3g
Carb: 21g
Fiber: 1.5g
Chol: 0mg
Iron: .6mg
Sodium: 17gmg
Calc: 5mg


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