"One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things."
This post is first in a series, Healthy Vegetarian Mains.
Here we are, January 4th. Holidays over. Resolutions started. I don't know about you, but I can't help but want to eat healthy this time of year. I think it's natural for us to want to cut back after the heavy eating most of us do over the holidays.
I'm not going to call it a resolution, but I am focusing on eating well and eating healthy. Eating what my body is truly craving, that's what I'm working on. Right now I've been craving vegetables, so I've made this delicious concoction of beans, veggies and brown rice to start things off right.
sauteing the veggies
Eating healthy means different things to different people. For me it means lots of vegetables, legumes, healthy grains and proteins and less starch. Basically I'd like to make every bite count, to get the most nutrition out of everything that goes in my mouth.
.This is why this post is the beginning of a new series I'm calling, "Vegetarian Mains". Once a week or so, (sometimes more perhaps) I'm going to post a healthy vegetarian main dish. I am not a vegetarian by any means, (although I have been one in the past) it's just that since I don't eat meat every day anyway, I want to jazz things up for the days I don't. If I cook something I want to eat for dinner, (like this dish for example) I won't eat stuff I don't want to really eat but sounds yummy sort of (like a bag of chocolate chips for example.) I will still post meat based dishes, and I will still post baked goods since I often bake for others.
This dish is really up my alley. Flavorful, a little sweet, and as spicy as you want it to be. For me, that's not so much, but I like it to have a little kick. I used a half of a pumpkin in this for the winter squash, because I still have a few left from my garden, but you can use butternut squash, or any winter variety, or instead of squash, use yams, sweet potatoes, or even white potatoes.
And it all comes together in about 30 minutes. Isn't that awesome?
I served this over brown rice, but you can use any rice. Or none at all. It's perfect to serve with rice because it has enough liquid to flavor the rice from the coconut milk, so just know that if you don't serve it with rice it will be quite saucy.
Caribbean Coconut Black Beans and Vegetables Over Rice
2, 14 oz cans black beans drained and rinsed
1, 14 or 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1, 14 oz can coconut milk, I used regular, you can use light if you prefer
2 tablespoons olive oil (or another neutral oil of your choice)
one large onion cut in medium chunks
4 garlic cloves, minced
one large red bell pepper cut in medium chunks
2 cups peeled and diced winter squash such as, pumpkin, butternut squash, etc. Or you can substitute diced yams, sweet potatoes or yellow potatoes
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tsp-2 tsp.(depending on how spicy you like it) cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) for heat if you like it spicy (I don't add these at all)
salt to taste
Cook some rice on the stove, as it's simmering on the stove, start the rest, when the rice is done set aside.
In a large skillet on medium high heat, add the oil and saute the onion and bell pepper and until they soften a bit, 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, the spices, the brown sugar and the squash or potatoes, and add some salt. Turn the heat down to medium, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the squash or potatoes are almost done, (tender, but still have a bite to them). When doing this, the pumpkin I was using let out some moisture, so the moisture from the tomatoes and the pumpkin, was enough moisture in the pan for them to cook sufficiently. If you are using potatoes, you may need to add a small amount of water, 1/2 cup ish.
Uncover and add the beans and the coconut milk. Turn up the heat to medium high, warm the whole thing up, taste for seasonings, add more cayenne or red pepper flakes if you want it spicier, and add salt if you need to, make sure the vegetables are cooked enough for your liking and serve over rice.