Easy Fiesta Rice

Here's a fun and healthy twist on beans and rice. It's quick, easy, and works perfectly on its own as a light meal, a side dish, or as a component of another dish. For example: make a delicious vegetarian burrito by wrapping the Fiesta Rice in a soft whole wheat tortilla with a little sour cream and your favorite shredded cheese. Or, put some in a bowl, pour a flavorful hot broth over top, and crumble in some tortilla chips for a quick soup. The possibilities are endless!

You can either use leftover brown rice, or save yourself some time by buying one of the precooked packages of brown rice from the market. Look for a brand that's all natural, with only 2-3 ingredients: brown rice, and maybe a little oil and salt— nothing else. I have good luck with Trader Joe's precooked frozen brown rice, but even the Uncle Bens vacuum packages are good. The bottom line is, the less stress you have making dinner, the more likely you'll be to prepare fresh meals at home. As long as the ingredients you used are very minimally processed (like organic canned beans, organic chicken broth, etc.), I'd say there's no shame in occasionally taking a short cut.

Makes 6 servings

½ red onion, finely diced
juice and grated zest of one lime
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 red bell peppers
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 15-ounce can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 cup cooked brown rice
½ cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ clove garlic, smashed into a paste
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper paste

In a medium bowl mix together the red onion, lime zest, lime juice, honey, and salt. Set aside for at least 20 minutes (creates a quick pickle).

Meanwhile, place the whole red bell peppers under a broiler (highest setting). Position the pepper so they are no more the 1” away from the flames or heating element. Watch the peppers, and after char develops, flip them. Continue until they are blackened on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove the peppers from the broiler and set aside to cool.

While the peppers are cooling, roast the corn. Spread the corn kernels in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the corn under the broiler, again very close to the flame or heating element. When the corn just begins to char on top, give the corn a toss and allow it to char one more time. Remove from the heat.

Once the peppers have cooled, remove the skin and seeds, and dice the flesh.

Now add the corn, peppers, and all the remaining ingredients to the pickled onions. Toss to combine and season with additional salt if necessary. Enjoy!

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