Satisfy your hunger and boost your energy with this gluten free and vegan curried beans and greens rice bowl. It’s simple to make, healthy, and budget-friendly!
Rice and beans. Such simple staples, aren’t they? Yet entire cultures were built upon these two humble plant-based foods, especially once the Columbian Exchange occurred in the 16th century.
Rice and beans are the ultimate global yet cultural food. Combinations of the two can be found virtually anywhere across the globe, yet each is distinct. Louisiana is known for its red beans and rice. Brazil and other Latin American cultures regularly dine on black beans and rice. The dish itself supposedly has African roots, particularly in West Africa. Beans and rice are even found in many Indian curries, with or without an accompanying meat.
Beyond its cultural and historical legacies, rice and beans is a vegetarian’s dream dish. Together, rice and beans create a complete protein, meaning they off all of the essential amino acids. For vegetarians and vegans, consuming enough protein and all of the essential amino acids can prove a challenge, since meat and animal-based foods are the most common sources of complete protein.
Another struggle for vegetarians and vegans revolves around sufficient iron intake. Both beans and rice (especially brown rice) boast a high iron content, especially in comparison to other plant-based foods. Beyond iron and protein, beans and rice will provide you with complex carbohydrates and fiber, potassium, folate, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin B.
Think a meal of simply beans and rice sounds unappetizing? Think again! This gluten free and vegan curried beans and green rice bowl is not only highly nutritious, but it demonstrates just how saporous beans and rice can be!
As its name indicates, a delightfully spicy blend of seasonings lends plenty of flavor to this curried beans and greens rice bowl. The chickpeas are coated in cumin, turmeric, and curry powder, roasted until crispy, and then served on top a bed of perfectly chewy brown rice. To increase the nutritional profile of this meal, I added sauteed spinach and fresh avocado. And for a satisfying crunch and variety of texture, some buttery roasted cashews function as the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae.
Does anyone else have a culinary obsession with turmeric? Despite the fact that it temporarily dyes my fingers and dishes yellow, I add turmeric to as many things as possible: curries, sweet potato fries, hashes, burgers, and tacos. A dash of cinnamon or ginger mellows it, while some cumin or chili powder cranks up the heat.
All of the whole foods in this curried beans and greens rice bowl make it the ultimate vegan meal, whether you strictly follow the diet or, like me, as just searching for a quick and nutritious lunch to power you through the day. Even meat lovers will enjoy this meal!
The chickpeas and rice have a low-glycemic index, which means this meal will satiate and energize you for several hours. The turmeric fights inflammation, which makes this an excellent meal choice for after a hard, long run to jump start recovery. The avocado and cashew provide essential healthy fats, which will help prevent overtraining (especially for us lady runners), boost your immune system, and (bonus!) keep your hair shiny, your skin clear, and your nails strong.
So what’s not to love? This curried beans and greens rice bowl is deliciously spicy, incredibly healthy, and practically effortless in preparation. The oven does most of the work for you to get this meal ready to eat in 45 minutes! If you’ve prepared brown rice before hand (which I highly recommend doing in some early week meal prep), you will be digging into your bowl of curried beans and greens rice bowl in less than 30 minutes.
- 2 1/2 cups water or broth
- 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice*
- 1 15-oz can of chickpeas (about 2 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 tablespoon olive, grapeseed, or avocado oil
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- Dash of salt and ground black pepper
- 2 avocados
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 2 cups spinach, washed and dried
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bring 2 1/2 cups of water or broth to a boil. Pour the water over the rice in an oven-safe casserole, cover, and bake the rice in the oven for 40 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.
- When the rice is down, remove from the oven and fluff with a fork.
- While the rice is cooking, toss the chickpeas with the olive oil and spices in a mixing bowl to evenly coat. Place the chickpeas in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in the oven (at 375) for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through for even baking.
- Place the cashews on an baking sheet and roast with the rice and beans for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- When the rice, beans, and cashews are done in the oven, quickly saute the spinach with a small amount of oil (optional) on the stove for 2-3 minutes or until wilted.
- To assemble the bowls, stir the spinach in with the rice and dish into four bowls (approximately 1 cup of cooked rice each). Top each bowl with 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/2 of an avocado, and 2 tablespoons cashews.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
- *You can use long grain brown rice as well, but will need to increase the cooking time by 10 or more minutes.
- The spice measurements for the roasted chickpeas are for mild to moderate spice. For spicier chickpeas, increase each to 1/2 teaspoon.
- If you prepared your rice in advance, skip those steps and begin with roasting the chickpeas.
Questions of the Day:
What’s your favorite type of beans and rice?
What spices do you most frequently use in cooking and baking?