Brown Rice Black Bean Salad with Herb Green Sauce

This rice and bean salad has a lot of variety which makes it very flavorful, colorful, and healthy! It was inspired from a rice salad made in culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Brown rice is a staple in my pantry- it’s great to have on hand for last minutes meals because you can use it in so many ways! It pairs great with beans and many different vegetables which is why I chose it for this salad recipe. All together, this salad provides a lot of textures, flavors, and a vast array of nutrients. Prep this salad for a week’s worth of lunches or have it as a side dish for dinner.

Yield: 6 cups of salad, 3/4 cup of sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked and rinsed clean
  • 1 3/4 cup BOILING water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided*
  • 1/2 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed OR 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, (1-2 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon dijion mustard
  • 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole unsalted walnuts
  • 2 ribs celery, cut to approx. 1/4″ dice
  • 1 large carrot, cut to approx. 1/4″ dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut to approx. 1/4″ dice
  • 3-4 tablespoons feta cheese

 

Procedure:

  1. In medium pot, add rice, BOILING water, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Bring back to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Cook rice, covered, for 30-35 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow rice to steam for another 15 minutes- still covered. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Let cool and add to a large bowl.
  3. *If using dry beans, drain soaked beans and rinse with water. Add to a medium pot, cover beans with 2-3 inches of water, and add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Let beans gently simmer for about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse, and add to the bowl with rice. *If using canned beans, drain, rinse, and add to same bowl.
  4. Preheat oven to 350F.
  5. Start prepping your sauce ingredients. Add rice vinegar, lime juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to a blender. Blend for 30 seconds. Set aside.
  6. Place walnuts onto a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5-7 or until fragrant. Remove from oven and roughly chop.
  7. Add chopped walnuts, diced celery, carrot, red bell pepper, and feta cheese to rice and beans.
  8. Pour half of the dressing over the mixture and stir until all ingredients are lightly coated. (Don’t dump all at once!) However, feel free to add more if you like a heavier sauce.

 

brown rice black bean salad

Notes:

  • Leftovers can keep in the fridge for 1 week.
  • This salad can be enjoyed cold or slightly warm.

WHY I STOPPED TAKING MULTIVITAMINS

Have you been taking a multivitamin “just in case” you think may be missing nutrients? I eat an overall healthy diet and used to take a multivitamin designed for women everyday until I realized why it wasn’t necessary.

Here’s why:

Vitamins are needed in small quantities, but most of us obtain well over that amount from food and even more, if you’re taking a multivitamin. However, having a “backup load” of vitamins is not a good thing. Your body will not use the excess and will get rid of them through your kidneys, intestines, lungs, or even skin.

Vitamins are meant for those who actually have a deficiency and once the deficiency is improved, the vitamins should be stopped. Instead of getting your daily vitamins from one tiny man-made pill, why don’t we just eat real food and obtain our vitamins that way? In a pill, you miss the flavor, fiber, minerals, and other nutrients found in that food.

We are designed to chew, swallow, digest, and assimilate nutrients from REAL FOOD. Our body recognizes the food item and knows exactly how to use it. When a pill is digested and attempting to metabolize, the body is wondering where all the other components are- i.e. fiber, protein, carbohydrate, etc.

To “replace those missing components”, the body’s reaction is to signal us to eat (“get the munchies”) and thus explains why people taking vitamins may tend to overeat even when they’re not hungry. Because you’ve taken that vitamin, your body will continually keep eating until you’ve fully “replaced” those components with real food.

Once I stopped taking the vitamin, I noticed some chin acne starting to fade and my overall energy felt a lot better. It was a difference I definitely noticed and wanted to share this information.

So, if you are taking a multivitamin, maybe reconsider and look at your overall diet. Ask yourself how you can obtain this from food and think of ways to incorporate these types of foods in your diet. If you eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, there is no need to worry about obtaining your vitamins. However, if you are concerned you’re lacking in something, check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. If the feeling isn’t good and worsens, go see a doctor and get a blood test to check your vitamins. Don’t ever just assume.

Even if the multivitamin says it’s “made from real food”, “organic”, “natural”, whatever the case may be, it is not real whole food and is not better for you. Always go with real food first! Your body will thank you.


Banana Walnut Oatmeal Cups

I love eating oatmeal because it’s so versatile. It’s like a blank canvas and you can add just about anything to it for a delicious meal. These oatmeal “cups” are so moist and are a miniature version of your classic bowl of oatmeal. The ripe bananas give a sweet flavor, while the walnuts give a bit of crunchiness. These are perfect to make ahead for a healthy breakfast throughout the week or take on the go for a nutritious snack!

Yield: 14-15 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup mashed banana, about 2 1/2 medium sized ripe bananas
  • 1 egg, pasture raised/and or organic, if possible 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsalted whole walnuts, roughly chopped

 

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place muffin liners into a muffin tin or grease a reusable silicone muffin pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, coconut sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together almond milk, mashed bananas, egg, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil.
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir with a spatula until combined.
  5. Add chopped walnuts to mixture and stir again.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin liner.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes- until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from heat, let cool, and serve.

 

Notes:

  • If there are leftovers, keep stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.

 

banana walnut cups


Sweet and Spicy Snackin’ Nuts

Nuts are super underrated however they are a great source of plant based protein, healthy fats, and I love how you can add them to pretty much anything for a crunchy texture. These nuts are sweetened with maple syrup and have a little spicy kick to them from the paprika and cayenne that give a great sweet and spicy flavor! They’re quite addicting and can be eaten alone or tossed into a salad.

Yield: 1 3/4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • pinch of salt

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In medium sized bowl, add almonds, pistachios, cashews, maple syrup, paprika, cayenne, salt and mix all together.
  3. Pour mixture onto baking sheet and spread evenly into one layer using a spatula.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Take out of oven and stir nuts around with a spatula.
  6. Place back in the oven for another 5-7 minutes until nuts are sticky and roasted.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes and store an in airtight container for 2 weeks.

sweet and spicy nuts 2


Deviled Eggs garnished with paprika and chives

Growing up, deviled eggs were (and still are) one of my favorite foods. They are a classic to have at holiday parties and really any other type of family or friends event. My grandma was always the one in charge of making them and every time they were brought over to a holiday party, I would be the one standing right next to the platter devouring them all. They’re that good!

This recipe uses a homemade mayonnaise that is super simple to make and I think- tastes better than store-bought. A lot of store-bought mayonnaises have extra “junk” in them so they can last months on end. This homemade mayonnaise requires just 5 ingredients and can last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. However, for this recipe, store-bought mayonnaise is fine to use.

Yield: 12 deviled eggs

 

Mayonnaise ingredients: 

  • 1 whole egg, pasture raised/and or organic, if possible 
  • 3/4 cup light tasting oil, I used this organic expeller pressed canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • pinch sea salt

Deviled egg ingredients: 

  • 6 eggs, pasture raised/and or organic, if possible 
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijion mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

 

Mayonnaise procedure:

  1. Place egg, lemon, and ground mustard into a food processor.
  2. Slowly add in canola oil from the top of food processor. Do not dump it all in at once. This process should take about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove from food processor and place into a airtight container.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so it will set.

 

*If you don’t have a food processor, no worries! Add egg, lemon, and ground mustard to a small sized bowl and whisk all together. While whisking, slowly add the oil until it’s combined.

*For the oil, use something that has a neutral taste. I wouldn’t recommend extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. You want to oil to be refined so that you can’t taste any flavor.

Deviled egg procedure:

  1. Place 6 eggs in the bottom of a large pot. Add cold water to cover the eggs.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Once 5 minutes is up, turn off the heat, and let pot sit to the side for another 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the eggs and run under cold water until eggs feel cool.
  5. Peel the shells off the eggs and cut in half.
  6. Carefully remove the yolk and place into a small bowl.
  7. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  8. Add a spoonful of filling back into each egg white.

 

To serve:

  • 1-2 chives, thinly sliced
  • paprika
  1. Sprinkle chives and dust paprika all over the filled eggs.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

 

deviled eggs 3