Rice and Beans with Greens and Artichoke Hearts

Rice and Beans with GreensThis is an extremely satisfying and flavorful play on one of my favorite – and classic – combinations: rice and beans.  The basis for this is a recipe by Laura Ulm that is featured in her wonderful cookbook, Vegan YumYum.  This was the first vegan cookbook I bought and I love everything about it: its compact size, the big photos (she takes her own), the inventiveness of the recipes…I highly recommend getting a copy for yourself and also check out her blog, VeganYumYum (although it looks as if she hasn’t updated it in a while).  There are lots of great recipes.  Anyway, I started with her recipe (omitting the olive oil and pine nuts) and added some ingredients I love and which I thought complemented her original idea.

Rice & Beans with Greens & Artichoke Hearts
Serves 4

1 cup brown rice (cooked in a rice cooker, or on the stovetop)
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 or so of vegetable broth
1/2 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and blotted to remove excess oil and chopped
1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
2-3 tsp. Italian herbs (whatever you like: basil, thyme, rosemary; a mixture is nice)
2-3 generous handfuls of chopped Swiss chard, spinach or other quick-cooking green
Lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare the rice.

In a large skillet, saute the onions and garlic in the vegetable broth, letting the liquid cook off before adding more to prevent burning.  Do this until the onions are tender.  Add the herbs, salt & pepper, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and beans, stirring gently to combine.  Add a splash of vegetable broth if the mixture seems dry.  When it’s heated through, put the greens on top of the bean mixture and cover with a lid.  Allow the greens to wilt and then stir gently into the bean mixture.

To serve, ladle a nice, big scoop of brown rice into a bowl and top with another nice big scoop of the bean mixture.  Using a microplane, zest the lemon on top of the bean mixture, sprinkle generously with basil and serve.

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