Grilled eggplant salad

Best Comfort Food to Pack On The Go: Wagon: Beans and Rice

Our hot lunch wagon presents a hot lunch you can take to work or school.  Our recipes are quick, easy and less than 30 minutes to cook.  Cook our recipes the night before, refrigerate and reheat the next day.  Or, on the other hand, you can cook our meals and freeze them for next week’s lunch.  Our special today is Beans and Rice

HOT LUNCH WAGON: Beans and Rice

Almost every nation in the world has a beans and rice dish as a part of its national cuisine, and for good reason; the combination makes a protein that is just as nutritious and complete as meat, and for a lot less money.  Cubans for example, eat black beans and rice (the nickname for this dish translates as: Christians and Moors.)  The American version of this worldwide favorite is southern, called simply red beans and rice, and it’s usually fiery hot from the addition of hot peppers or hot sauce.

This is a master recipe to make beans and rice for children.  It’s slightly sweet and sour, and you can use any kind of beans you like: red, black, white or pinto.  The recipe is especially easy because it’s made with canned beans.

1 medium red, yellow, or green bell pepper

2 garlic cloves

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 Granny Smith apple

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 ½ tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

3 cups cooked brown or white rice, warmed

1 (16 ounce) can beans, including liquid (See Hint)

1 tablespoon molasses

½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

  • Peel, core and seed (as appropriate) the bell pepper, onion , apple, and garlic, and chop into large pieces. Put into a food processor and mince together
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute’ the minced vegetables in the oil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Stir in the beans (with liquid), molasses, vinegar, and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally or until beans are heated through.  Serve beans over rice and garnish with sour cream or yogurt.  Pack warm to go in a heated lunch tote.


Since canned beans are packed with salt, you might some , according to  taste and preference.


Sometimes you can find frozen diced green bell peppers in the supermarket, which work perfectly in this recipe.  If you’d like to use them, substitute 1 cup frozen diced green peppers for the fresh; defrost the peppers slightly, grind them in the food processor with the other ingredients, and proceed with the recipe.

If you haven’t already done so, investigate the canned bean section of your supermarket to find the kind of beans you’d like to use in this recipe. Depending on which part of the country you live in, that section might also be where the Spanish and Mexican foods are kept.  Some beans to consider are kidney beans (red), Great Northern beans (white), black beans, roman beans (mottled pink and white), and so on – there seem to be endless varieties.  Make sure the can you buy is packed with nothing more than water and salt (and perhaps calcium chloride or some other natural preservative.)

This is a good recipe to use with the rice that is inevitably left over from a Chinese take-out order. (Brown rice is good to use as well) You could also serve it with couscous, which only takes 5 minutes to cook.


The beans will last for about a week in the refrigerator.  You can heat them in the microwave or over low heat.

You can carry your hot lunch in a heated lunch tote.


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