Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Black Bean & Rice Tacos

Today the weather was sublime and I went out for my first run wearing a tank top!  But I have a horrible affliction that causes me to be completely grossed out by the mere thought of food after I'm finished with a run.  Usually after weekday runs its not so bad, but after burning nearly 2,000 calories during a 20-mile marathon training run, you need to eat something!  I've tried to get creative with getting food, especially protein, into my system post-run.  Today was an easy, breezy run, so I built up my appetite while cooking these FANTASTIC rice & bean tacos.  You need to try this dish immediately.

I modified this recipe for black beans and rice from Simple Food Daily, my friend's food blog, and it's been my substitute for the elusive Costa Rican "gallo pinto" ever since.  While I'll eat the rice and beans totally plain, I often use the combo as the protein source in some soft shell tacos.  Tonight I also whipped up an impromptu mango salsa and put together some pretty fab taco fixins.  And in the forty minutes or so it took me to cook all of this up, I had my post-run appetite back!  BONUS!!

While the rice was cooking up in my rice cooker, I threw together this mango salsa.
1 mango, peeled and chopped*
1/4 red onion, chopped fine
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded, chopped
1 lime
Salt & pepper to taste
Handful cilantro, chopped

Combine the mango, red onion, tomato, and jalapeno.  Squeeze the juice from the lime over the salsa.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix in the chopped cilantro. 
ahhh it was so good!!!
Let the salsa macerate while you prep the black beans and rice.
1 tbls olive oil
1 cup cooked, long grain white rice
1 can black beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow or white onion, chopped
2 tbls cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet or large skillet.

Add the onion and the garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Stir frequently so the garlic does not burn.  Add the cumin and stir around to toast the spice for about 1 minute. 

i always have a can or six in my cupboard!
Add the drained black beans to the pan and squish them with the back of your spoon.  Saute for about 4-5 minutes.  Add in your cooked rice and stir to heat through.  YUM.

Now you are ready to assemble your tacos!  Additional ingredients: soft tortillas, diced or sliced avocado, cheese, and some plain Greek yogurt (yes, it's just the same as sour cream).  A quick word on the cheese before I continue.  I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the standard, shredded "taco seasoned" cheese.  But I've grown to really love queso fresco, a Mexican cheese that is dynamite with any Mexican fare.  It literally translates to "fresh cheese", and it's a crumbly, mild cheese that is very refreshing.  You may have seen a certain Food Network chef promoting a brand of queso fresco on TV....

He's not lying though -- this cheese is delish!  It comes in pretty big containers though, and I can never quite go through it all before it spoils.  So I tried to find a decent substitute in smaller packaging.  I picked up something called Shepherd's Way Sheep Cheese, and on the little sign it said something about "fresco" so, to me, that sounds like a decent substitute.  Plus it was made in Northfield, MN (yaaaay St. Olaf!).  It turned out to be a pretty good replacement for queso fresco!  But if you can use it all up, I'd totally recommend buying a big ol' wheel of queso fresco and trying it with this dish.  Or maybe just plain.....

Okay, where was I?  Right!  The tacos!  So I heat up my tortillas in little aluminum foil packs in the oven to get toasty.  On top of the tortilla, add your rice & beans, the mango salsa, some queso, diced avocado, and a little dollop of Greek yogurt.  OMG it's sosososososo good! 

I really piled on those ingredients, but I did manage to eat it like a real taco.  I have to admit that it did fall apart after about three bites so I ate most of it in little pieces with my fingers.  Even though these tacos are a little classy, there's no need to be classy while eating them. 

it was hard to stop eating long enough to take this picture...
So I managed to get some protein and a fab-tastic dinner after this run.  And because this is a pretty healthy meal, and because I went running, I paired it up with a nice, cold beer.  (Who am I kidding...I always pair things up with a beer.) If you're looking for a great dinner to go with this fun spring weather, well this is it!

*Food Tip: I had planned on finding a video that would demo how I cut a mango, but I found one that was even BETTER!  Holy easy mango chopping.  I learned about mango chopping on some public access channel last summer (disclosure: I don't have cable!) and apparently I've been missing out on a way easier method.  Oh well.  Now we both know!

1 comment:

  1. I got to sample these at work! Sooooo good. I didn't even think about the fact that they were vegetarian until after I'd scarfed the whole thing.