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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple recipes for rice-and-bean dishes

A vegetable ragout made with eggplant, zucchini, chickpeas,

A vegetable ragout made with eggplant, zucchini, chickpeas, dried apricots and aromatic seasonings is served over turmeric-tinged rice. Photo Credit: Marge Perry

MOROCCAN EGGPLANT, CHICKPEA AND APRICOT RAGOUT ON RICE

1 cup white rice

1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped red onion

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 (1-pound) eggplant, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes

1⁄2 cup dried apricots

1 (12-ounce) zucchini, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed

6 ounces baby spinach

1⁄4 cup parsley, chopped

 

1. Combine the rice and turmeric in a saucepan with 2 1⁄4 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, 5 more minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the ginger, garlic and onion and cook, stirring, 2 minutes until vegetables are slightly softened. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon and coriander. Add the eggplant, apricots and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften.

3. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach, tossing until spinach begins to wilt. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Toss the rice with the parsley. Serve the vegetable ragout over the rice. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 492 calories, 18 g protein, 99 g carbohydrates, 18 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 455 mg sodium

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RED BEANS AND RICE

1 cup white rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped red onion

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped

1 green pepper, diced

2 teaspoons Tabasco (or other hot sauce)

2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium red beans, drained and rinsed

1⁄3 cup cilantro, chopped

 

1. Cook the rice according to package instructions.

2. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium high. Add the garlic, onion, celery, jalapeño and green peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the Tabasco and beans, cover and simmer over very low heat 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Combine the rice and beans; stir in the cilantro and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 402 calories, 15 g protein, 76 g carbohydrates, 13 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 261 mg sodium

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LEBANESE-STYLE LENTILS AND RICE WITH CARAMELIZED ONION

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups thinly sliced onion

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup lentils

1 cup white rice

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

 

1. Place the almonds in a dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook, stirring often, until they are lightly golden and aromatic, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are deeply golden and soft, about 20 minutes. (Do not cook them over a high heat, or they will burn rather than caramelize).

3. Meanwhile, combine the lentils and 2 cups water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil; immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook the lentils until they are fairly tender, but not quite cooked through, about 20 minutes. Add the rice and another 1 1⁄2 cups water, and again cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to stand, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, pepper and about half the onions and the almonds; serve the remaining onions on top. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 498 calories, 18 g protein, 86 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 10 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 302 mg sodium

TIP: Look for low-sodium canned beans, which are not only healthier, but tend to hold their shape better and be less mealy.

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