Rice and Beans with a Twist!

I love love love rice and beans.  I could have it just plain, as is and be totally satisfied with my meal.  It’s easy, protein and fiber rich and really tasty.  Here is a twist on that classic meal with some additional flavors that make it pop and give it a unique flair.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


Recipe by: Jenny Berk

Serves 2



1 can of organic, low sodium black beans

1 packet of Trader Joe’s brand organic brown rice (microwavable)

1/4 cup feta cheese

1/2 cup of green olives

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 can of corn or 1 cup of frozen corn

1/4 cup tahini

1 freshly squeezed lemon plus grated rind

Salt and pepper to taste



Open can of corn and beans and drain

Combine with rice in a large bowl

finely chop the parsley and add to the bowl

Add green olives and feta cheese

In a separate small bowl mix together the tahini and lemon juice, plus rind and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly

Add the dressing to the bowl with the rice and beans and use tongs to toss to coat.

garnish with more parsley


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I love vegan buddha bowls and how all the tons of goodness melds together in one bowl.  This recipe has it all:  Nutrient dense ingredients, simple but powerful flavors and belly-comforting goodness.  You can swap out the garbanzo beans for kidney or black beans if you prefer and best when served with sautéed greens on top or on the side.



Serves 6.

Recipe by: Arlene Jacobs




¼ cup sweet butter or extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced onions

½ cup fine vermicelli noodles, broken into 1-inch pieces

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1-1/2 cups brown rice

3 cups vegetable broth

3 tbsps. currants or dark raisins

1 heaping tsp. ground allspice

1-15.5 oz. can garbanzo beans

Salt & black pepper, to taste


1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley





  1. Melt butter or heat oil in a saucepan and add onions. Saute over medium heat until onions have begun to brown.
  2. Add noodles and almonds and continue to cook until noodles and almonds become golden and onions are amber. Add rice and continue to cook 2 minutes more, stirring to ensure ingredients do not burn.
  3. Add vegetable broth, currants, allspice and season, to taste with salt and pepper
  4. Bring ingredients to a boil and allow mixture to simmer for 5 minutes. Cover pan and continue cooking on low for about 40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  5. Add garbanzo beans and sprinkle generously with chopped parsley.

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grape and barley salad



I know you’ve heard of pickled cucumbers, pickled cabbage and pickled peppers (ahem, peter piper?), but have you ever tried pickled grapes?  Try this savory recipe with a chewy barley bite, sour grapes and crunchy vegetables to complete this delicious and unusual salad.  Enjoy!


Recipe by: Arlene Jacobs

Serves 6 – 8




Pickled Grapes:


3 cups stemmed red grapes

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. salt

2 garlic cloves

1 large sprig rosemary

¼ tsp. chili flakes






  1. Cut off about ¼ inch of grape on stem end to help absorption of vinegar and seasonings and pack grapes into a 1 qt. container.
  2. Heat vinegar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan, add remaining ingredients and heat over a medium burner.
  3. Bring to a simmer and pour over grapes. Cover loosely and let cool. Cover tightly and chill in refrigerator. Grapes can be kept refrigerated for three weeks.



Barley Salad


4 cups cooked whole barley

1 cup pickled grapes

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsps. pickling juice

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

¾ cup diced fennel or celery

Julienned (1/8-in. sticks) parsnips or carrots

½ finely chopped rosemary

Salt & black pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients, toss well and reseason.





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Recipe by: Arlene Jacobs




3 lbs. mixed berries (cut strawberries in ¼’s)

175 g. sugar or equivalent sweetener of choice

3 tbsps. orange juice or water

7 slices stale white bread or 7 pancakes

4 tbsps. berry jam

1 tsp. vanilla




  1. Wash and dry berries – lay out on paper towels. Add sugar and orange juice or water and gently bring to the boil. Cook on medium until the sugar dissolves. Add the fruit, except for the strawberries. Allow mixture to cool.
  2. Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap. Spread jam on the bread or pancakes. Starting with a layer on the bottom place bread or pancakes around sides of the bowl, overlapping slightly to fill the bowl.
  3. Ladle some of the berry juices on the bread or pancakes. Add strawberries and vanilla to the fruit mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, distribute the berries in the bowl and add a little more juice.
  5. Dip any extra bread in the remaining juices, place on top and cover with the overhanging plastic wrap. Save extra juices.
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NOTE: If you have juices remaining they’d be great mixed with some sparkling water. Add some rum, framboise, or kirsch, and lemon if desired.


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Asparagus is synonymous with spring and summer. It has a nutty, earthy flavor that goes with lots of different types of sauces. Try this one!  This light and refreshing sauce can be used with other vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and fennel, raw or cooked.  Enjoy!



1 bunch asparagus, white or green

½ cup regular or vegan mayonnaise

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. grated orange zest

2 tbsps. orange juice

Salt & white pepper, to taste

¼ cup roughly chopped parsley (for garnish)




  1. Place trimmed asparagus in salted boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  2. Make sauce. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, orange zest and orange juice. Season with salt and white pepper.
  3. Plate asparagus and spoon dressing on top. Sprinkle with parsley.



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