Any time is the right time for Mexican food.
At least this is true in our house, or any house that I have culinary control over. Despite my inability to pick a favourite cuisine and rotate between Thai, Lebanese, Vietnamese, French and Italian (or any culture that places a lot of importance on dessert) it’s Mexican food that has taken pride of place on our weekly dinner roster with the implementation of 'Mexican Mondays'. I normally eat a very plant-based diet but if I had to sum up my perfect meal in three words I think it would be somewhere along the lines of “vegan plus cheese” (or “calorie free dessert”, but that’s a little harder to come by) and Mexican food allows me to do just that. The inherent flavours are SO GOOD that even a carnivore can happily eat a vegetarian Mexican meal and not feel like they’re missing out.
This is one of our weeknight winner dinners – quick to cook, simple to prepare and easy on the
wallet. Plus it tastes awesome so that’s always a positive. My daughter and husband often go back
for thirds and because the flavour is so good I can throw in just about any vegetables I want and
they’ll happily wolf them down. Parenting win! It’s great on its own or as part of a Mexican feast, I
love to serve this in a huge bowl surrounded by a selection of add-your-own extras such as
jalapenos, coriander, salsa, avocado, lime wedges, cheese, sour cream, tortillas and sometimes
grilled meat. You can prepare all of these bits while the rice is cooking so it really takes no extra time but makes a huge difference to the overall wow factor.
Red kidney beans are a rich source of fibre which both protects the gastrointestinal tract and reduces levels of "bad" cholesterol within the body. It's also a rich source of protein and although it's not a complete protein on it's own, by combining it with rice you provide the missing amino acids and produce a meal that delivers all the essential protein building blocks the body requires. Capsicum, or bell pepper, is rich in vitamin C to help stimulate white blood cells to fight infection and also contains phytochemicals that can have an anti-inflammatory response in the gut, helping to ease digestive distress.
It makes a sensational burrito filling and is great used as a stuffing for lettuce cups, or just do what I do and sit cross-legged hugging the saucepan eat it straight out of the pot with the wooden spoon used during cooking - because I'm all about class. But when something tastes this good and is good for you I think we can cut each other a little slack. Wash it down with an ice cold beer and follow it up with a siesta and I'm in heaven.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 small red chillies, finely diced
2 medium capsicum, roughly chopped
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 cup medium grain white rice
2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup tomato paste
1x 400g can red kidney beans
1x 400g can corn kernels
Coriander, to garnish
1) Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion, garlic and chilli and fry until onion is softened.
2) Add capsicum, cumin and paprika and stir to coat vegetables in spice mix.
3) Add the rice, stock, paste, bean and corn and stir well.
4) Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 15- 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the liquid is absorbed.
5) Remove the pot from the heat and allow to stand, covered, for 10 minutes to finish the cooking process.
6) Garnish with coriander and serve with lime wedges, avocado slices and any other desired toppings.
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