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Save Money, Eat Better with Beans and Rice

(Health Secrets) If you are one of the many people looking for extra money to save,  try substituting tradition foods with beans and rice.  You’ll cut your food costs considerably if you shop for bulk beans and rice at your local organic food supplier. Many regard the combination of beans and rice as a vegetarian protein substitute for beef, but one that is much easier to digest, frees up your energy, and costs a lot less.

Choosing the Right Stuff

Avoid all canned beans, even those that are organic. By now you probably know about the dangers of the linings in cans and their toxic BPA content. Besides, canned beans have been precooked, heavily compromising their nutritional value. Don’t bother with any packaged rices either. You’ll spend more for less and probably not get the best quality rice.

Go to the bulk sections of your health food store where there are organic beans and rice.  For optimum nutrition, buy mostly brown rice, short or long grain. White rice is okay too, if you select organic Basmati white rice. Basmati rice is used in virtually all Ayurvedic (ancient medicine of India) recipes because it is easy to digest and it balances the doshas, the three mind/body constitutions that are the basis of Ayurvedic medicine.

A Short Course in Cooking Beans and Rice

Beans need to be soaked in good quality water before being cooked.  This releases the phytate in them and makes them easy to digest.  Black beans need to be soaked for longer than others such as garbanzo beans (chick peas). Make sure you put two and a half to three times more water than beans in the container. The beans will absorb the water and swell considerably. Let them soak overnight so they’ll be ready to cook the next day.  If you start soaking the same day you plan on cooking, you’ll be able to tell the beans are ready to cook when you can easily bite through them.

Lentils, another member of the legume family, don’t need to be soaked before they are cooked, but it’s a good idea to sort through them in a shallow pan or dish to get rid of those pesky tiny rocks that sometimes come along with the lentils. Lentils cook quickly and are great with brown rice for making dinner on a budget.

Most brown rice usually needs very little or no rinsing. However, Basmati white rice requires a thorough rinse to get rid of the oil coatings used to protect the rice during storage and shipping. Rinse in a fine mesh strainer under the sink faucet until the milky quality from the oil coatings vanishes.  Speed it up by shaking the strainer back and forth sideways while the water flows through.

If you don’t have a ricer or rice cooker, here’s an easy fool-proof cooking method originally designed for brown rice. It works for white rice too:

Place one cup of rice with one and one/half cups of water in a medium small pan. Bring to a boil, cover snugly, and put the heat on simmer for around 20 minutes. After that time, turn off the heat but keep the pan there for another 20 minutes with the lid on. Then it’s ready to serve. Cooking lentils can be synchronized along with this 40 minute rice cooking period. But other beans, especially resveratrol-rich black beans, need more time and should be started earlier.

Yes, black beans contain the same resveratrol which supports heart health and is the super anti-oxidant found in red wine and grapes, though not as much.

Time to Eat

You can use a variety of combinations to dress up beans and rice, such as premium organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and lime or lemon, or a fermented soy sauce (tamari) or liquid amino sauce such as Braggs, along with chopped cilantro, onions, tomatoes or some finely chopped nuts.  Grinding flax seeds over the beans and rice adds nutrition, flavor, and variety.

Black beans and white Basmati rice with lots of good cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil, chopped onions, and a generous squeeze of lime or lemon is a favorite Cuban dish. Brown rice with lentils or garbanzos is great too. Peas and chopped nuts can be used with either brown or white rice as well. Instead of oil, organic butter or ghee is terrific, especially with white rice combos. A dash of real sea salt and whatever herbs you favor tops it all off. All yummy, filling, and nutritious.

Trial and error with various combinations will be inexpensive, fulfilling, and healthy. Many people find they have a problem with a budget type dinner that has only veggies on the menu.  But adding bulky foods like beans and rice makes all the difference. Inexpensive beans and rice as a meat substitute satisfies the craving for a hardy meal very well. You’ll be spending less for food now while keeping a good amount of non perishable items on hand for the future.

It may be wise to start experimenting with various combinations of beans and rice now so you’ll be able to mix and match delicious meals for the long term if the need arises.


Organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is more important for your health than you may think. There are many fake virgin olive oils on the market that contain other processed oils, which harm health more than olive oil fans care to know. But real cold pressed organic extra virgin olive oil is very beneficial.


Published with permission from AlignLife.  Original article link is here.

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