Simple Cuban fare

By JeffGraveline

I used to get a dish similar to this at my favorite Cuban restaurant back on the East Coast until I realized how easy and inexpensive it was to make at home.

The dish is vegetarian and it can be vegan if you leave out the sour cream in the last steps. But meat eaters shouldn’t be turned off simply because of the vegetarian label—there is plenty of flavor in the beans and the added toppings. The beans are also an excellent source of protein.

If using raw beans, make sure to soak the beans overnight to clean the beans and make them easier to digest. Or to make things simpler, use canned black beans.

In a medium saucepan, bring three cups of water to a boil.  Once the water is at a rolling boil, add a cup of white, uncooked rice.

With the rice added, bring the water back up to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. The rice should take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook.

Cook the beans in a small, separate sauce pan over medium heat.

For added flavor, smash a clove of garlic into the beans while they cook.

While the beans and rice cook, take time to prepare the toppings for the dish.

Take one or two bell peppers (yellow or orange sweet peppers will work best for this recipe), a tomato, a sweet onion and cilantro. Chop all the vegetables finely on a clean cutting board. The amount of vegetables chopped should be done to taste.

After the beans and rice are finished cooking, layer the bottom of a bowl with the rice. Place the beans over the top of the rice and add the chopped vegetable mixture last.

Top with sour cream and hot sauce to taste.  For extra flavor,  squeeze lime over the finished product. This recipe serves two.