Summer Black Beans and Rice with Tomatoes

Combining whole grains and legumes for a meal in a variety of ways is traditional, sustainable as well as full life support for healthy functioning bodies in many cultures of the world. Add two seasonal vegetables and we create a complete nourishing meal. The most common grain to use is rice, yet buckwheat, millet, barley, quinoa and whole grain noodles are excellent substitutes for giving our meals variety. From the legume family there are; white, black, navy, pinto, adzuki, fava, red or white kidney, lima, soy and mung beans; red, green and black lentils and yellow or green split peas, chick and pigeon peas—I’ve probably missed a few. Choosing one grain and one legume is the base I use to build a nourishing meal from and then it’s easy to add exotic flavors to give those simple foods gourmet-like appeal. When a meal is complete with nutrients for the level of activity we are doing in a day, it curbs cravings for sugar and junk foods so detrimental to health and therefore, it becomes easier to keep our bodies within good body weight. The majority of food fuel we’ve been eating on our cross-country run has been this style; it’s nourishing, easy to fill hunger pangs and economical. This summer meal took barely 30 minutes to prepare and will serve six.

Black Bean Salad

-3 cans black beans 540ml

-3-4 cups finely chopped arugula (This is a great place to use the garden stuff that has become strong during late summer)

-1 medium red onion sliced thin

-½ cup olive oil

-1/2 cup herbal vinegar (Apple cider vinegar infused with your favorite fresh herb or combination of herbs. I always have a variety sitting on the kitchen windowsill ready for use.) Balsamic or wine vinegar works too!

-Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Rinse and drain can beans, combine all ingredients.

Summer Fried Rice

-1 large onion chopped

-1 red bell pepper chopped

-3 thin zucchini 6-8 inches long, sliced lengthwise and chopped into “moons”

-¼ cup cooking oil

-1 cup finely chopped fresh greens (kale, Swiss chard, mustard, beet greens, collards, spinach)

-4 cups pre-cooked whole-grain rice

-¼ cup wheat-free tamari soy sauce

-Sauté onion, pepper and zucchini in oil until tender, add chopped greens and continue to sauté until wilted.

-Add rice and mix together with vegetables, cover to heat through.

-Just before serving, drizzle tamari over rice.

Tamari sauce is a fermented food providing “friendly” bacteria, of which promotes a healthy digestive system. If over heated, its health benefits are destroyed. Always add at the end of cooking time.

Summer Tomatoes

4-6 sun-ripened tomatoes

20 fresh basil leaves

Extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

-Slice tomatoes in half, remove core, cut into wedges and lay out on a serving dish.

-Finely chop the basil and garnish the tomatoes.

-Drizzle tomatoes and basil with olive oil and lemon juice. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt if desired.

The joys of summer food!!!