Vegan Fiesta Rice

When I was a kid, we would eat Rice-A-Roni® Spanish Rice. My mom would add a can or two of beans and frozen corn. Sometimes, we would add shredded cheese to the mix. It was a quick, frugal meal for a working mom to serve her family, and it got the job done.

This recipe doesn’t taste like Rice-A-Roni®, so if you are looking for the San Francisco treat, you will not find it here. Nevertheless, this recipe is hearty, flavorful, and healthy. It is inspired by my mom’s version of Rice-A-Roni®, and traditional recipes for Mexican-style Spanish rice. Bringing the two together and adding some flare, makes a delicious, easy, hearty vegan meal!

It tastes awesome as a burrito filling. It would work well in stuffed peppers. It would also work well as a side. You can top it with your favorite vegan cheese or vegan sour cream. You can enjoy it with some sliced avocado and chopped scallion. Mostly, you can just enjoy it!

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Fiesta Rice

4 Tbsp vegan butter, divided

2 cups short grain brown rice

2 cups fake chicken broth

1 cup water

1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

4 scallions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 poblano pepper, chopped

1 medium red pepper, chopped

1 tsp chipotle powder (OR ½ tsp chili powder + ½ tsp smoked paprika)

1 tsp ground coriander

⅛ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp garlic powder

¾ tsp dried Mexican oregano

1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Salt, to taste

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  1. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp vegan butter over medium-high heat. Add short grain brown rice, and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, or until the rice is toasted and the pleasant aroma of toasted rice fills the air. Then, stir in broth, water, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, and then, turn down to low heat, cover with a lid and simmer (stirring occasionally) for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is done cooking. Remove from heat, and set aside.

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2. In a large skillet, add the remaining 2 Tbsp of vegan butter, scaliions, garlic, poblano and red pepper. Sauté over medium heat for ~7 minutes or until the vegetables are softened up. Add the chipotle powder, coriander, cinnamon, garlic powder, and oregano. Stir to incorporate and sauté another minute.

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3. Add the cooked rice, black beans and cilantro to the skillet, and gingerly mix everything together. Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed (salt?). Serve as a side, as a meal, in a burrito, or even as the filling in stuffed peppers!

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