When I published Tasty Twists on the Classic Complete-Protein Meal: Rice and Beans 5 Ways earlier this summer, I let you in on my biggest weekday-dinner secret.
With just one core 5-ingredient recipe and a couple of spices, you get to parade around your kitchen like an international epicurean, all the while eating like an athlete.
The response to those five quick, easy, and cheap meals was wonderful—you loved that they were quick, easy and cheap. And I was totally touched when months later, lots of you wrote in after the Vegan Starbucks Petite Lentil Scones post to tell me that the beans and rice variations are still part of your regular meal rotation.
So today I’m back (dare I say by popular demand?) with another flavorful complete protein recipe, this one perhaps the most exciting of all: Hawaiian beans and rice.
Everyday Flavors To Make You Say Mahalo
Luckily for me, beans and rice is not a static concept—the meal is constantly changing, based on where in the world you are, what season is here, and even what’s leftover in the fridge.
The idea for the 5-ingredient Hawaiian variation starts with island-drenched color: magenta cabbage, golden pineapple, lush-green spinach, and shiny black beans. Okay, so maybe I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I’ve definitely had Hawaiian pizza before. And just like it does in my Homemade Vegan Bacon, the smoked paprika in this recipe does a nice job of evoking the flavors of smoked ham.
A quick pan-fry with the pineapple rings gets all that luau flavor without the fuss of firing up the grill. And if you want the whole tropical experience, be sure to try the variation with toasted coconut folded into the rice. It’s divine!
I hope that just as many of you who tried the other beans and rice recipes give this one a whirl too. When you do, be sure to let me know what you think!
Basic Beans and Rice Recipe
- 1 cup dry brown rice
- 1 can drained and rinsed beans, or 2 cups cooked
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Cook the brown rice in a rice steamer or follow the directions here. Heat up the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice.
Hawaiian Beans and Rice
You’ll need one batch of the basic recipe above, as well as:
- 2 cups chopped red cabbage (about quarter of a head)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 can sliced pineapple, juice reserved
Stir the red cabbage, 1/2 cup pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and smoked paprika into the bean and onion mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, until cabbage is cooked but still crunchy. Stir in spinach and cook for 2 more minutes, until slightly wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat on medium high. Lay pineapple rings in pan, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Fry for 2 minutes per side, until nice and charred. Serve on top of beans and rice.
Feeling fancy? Add a chopped red bell pepper in with the cabbage, sprinkle beans with a minced jalapeño pepper, and fold 1/2 cup of toasted coconut into cooked rice.