Easy Coconut Rice & Beans

I know I haven’t been in the kitchen too much these days, let alone posting/blogging! With our amazing 7 month old twins, involved and complicated recipe building is not really on my to-do list. Being hunkered down for Hurricane Sandy, I figured I could go through my idle ingredient stash and start to whip up some good, quick food. It felt amazing to be back in the kitchen and inspired, even if only a simple recipe!. And now that the kiddos are starting to eat solid foods I plan to be back in the kitchen making quick but deelish family friendly food. I loved that I could get a really yummy but still nutritious (one-pot) meal on the table in less that a half hour!

This recipe came out super creamy!! I used two cans of coconut milk but made sure to use one that was light to calm the fat content down a bit! I didn’t have onions but I could see sauteing some up and stirring in with the beans.  I also served this with Cholula sauce, Michael didn’t use it but since it’s my current obsession, I couldn’t resist. Also, Michael doesn’t typically love anything with coconut, but he really enjoyed this and was ready for seconds! And as you know I LOVE all things coconut!

Here is just a sampling of some of my other recipes with coconut milk:
Thai Root Veggie Curry with Coconut Milk
Coconut Lentil Soup
Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce
Dina’s Chili-lime Ginger Tofu in Coconut Basil Broth with Rice Noodles
Yummy Protein Goo Ball Bites
Vegan Fudge

If you are on the East Coast – Be Safe with Hurricane Sandy!! Prayers for a peaceful day ahead. We are already enjoying some inside time together after our fun-filled Halloween weekend 🙂

Easy Coconut Rice & Beans

  •  2 cans coconut milk (I used 1 Light and 1 Regular)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • onion powder, pinch (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (short or long grain)(I used white basmati because it is what I had)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 can cooked beans (kidney, pinto, or black beans)
  1. In a pot, combine coconut milk, bay leaf, garlic, (onion powder), salt and rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once you see a boil, lower heat to low and cover, cooking for 10 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  3. Uncover and continue to cook & stir over low heat, until tender and creamy, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the beans, stir, and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Salt to taste and enjoy!

Coconut Lentil Soup

My friend Lisa Dawn is an amazing Yogi, Wife, Mother and Cook! We were talking recently about simple, nutritious, delicious and fast vegan meals and she served me such an amazing soup that I had to replicate it at home! Sometimes I forget how simple meals can be so amazing delicious, fun and taste so complex! Thank you Lisa for Inspiring me and Reminding me of this! I had so much fun in the kitchen dancing, stirring, singing – I have been so busy lately and have been neglecting cooking; it was good to find my way back 🙂

p.s. this soup/stew is AMAZING!!! Michael and I were so excited to have such a big batch to eat all week at home.

Soup while using the immersion blender

Soup after immersion

Coconut Lentil Soup
inspired by Lisa Dawn

  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (canola)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 cans coconut milk (I used 1 light and 1 regular)
  • 4 cups of water (+1-2 cups once the pasta is added)
  • 8 ounces of little pasta (I used Conchigliette)
  • Salt and White Pepper to taste (black pepper is fine, I just wanted to stay with the colors)
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and lentils and continuous stirring for 1 minute more. 
  2. Add coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Reduce hear and simmer till lentils are cooked.
  3. Using an immersion blender or by pouring into a blender – puree the soup.
  4. Add the pasta into the soup and the additional 1-2 cups of water. Enjoy!

note: It came out super thick for me, but we enjoyed it that way. If you want more of a soup consistency add more water.


Slow-cooked Open Enchiladas

Such a super fast and satisfying meal. I made this as a dinner but we realized what an amazing salsa/dip this would make! So yummy with tortilla chips! When I make this again, I will forget about adding the tortillas in since we could just eat this with the chips anyway.

Before the Daiya

after Daiya, ready to eat!

Slow-cooked Open Enchiladas

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce bottle chunky salsa
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 1/4-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6-10 6″ corn tortillas
  • daiya or any other vegan cheese
  1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, salsa, tomato paste, beans, corn, green chiles, cumin, and garlic powder. Mix well. Spread about 1 cup of this mixture into the slow cooker liner; spread evenly. Top with 2-3 tortillas, cutting to fit as necessary. Spread on 1/3 of the remaining tomato mixture. Repeat these layers 2 more times, ending with the rest of the tomato mixture; spread evenly over the top.
  2. Cover and cook on the low heat setting about 5 hours.
  3. Add vegan cheese on top and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, till melted. Serve hot.

Vegan 7 Layer Dip

I like to go to and host parties — and around this time its all about Football!!

GO J-E-T-S!!!!!!!!

I always want something yummy that everyone will like but of course want to keep it vegan. This was actually beyond deelish and people were bumping their hands to get in there for more 🙂

Hosting a Championships or Super Bowl Football party? Or just attending one and need a fabulous dish to bring….try this one out and let me know what you think. I am sure you and everyone else will be super delighted!!!

with cheese layer, after baking

before cheese layer and baking

Vegan 7 Layer Dip

1 (16-ounce) can vegan refried beans
3 large avocados
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 (8-ounce) containers vegan sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 cup diced mild green chiles, drained
1 can sliced black olives
5 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar daiya or other vegan cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread a layer of refried beans in the bottom of an 8 inch by 8 inch quart glass baking dish.
  3. Spoon avocados into a bowl and mash with the lime juice. Spread on top of the refried beans.
  4. Stir together the sour cream and taco seasoning, and spread over the avocado.
  5. Sprinkle the chiles over the sour cream, and top with a layer of black olives.
  6. Add the tomatoes, and sprinkle with the cheese.
  7. Heat the dip for 15-30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is a bit melted.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce

This was surprisingly easy to make and deelish! Michael and I both loved it so much!! I would say double this recipe as it will go FAST 🙂 This dish is hearty with great flavor. This is definitely a great dish for people transitioning to a vegan diet, meat-eaters you want to impress with how deelish vegan food can be, and of course Vegans will love this too!! So yum!!!

I added my go-to pan-fried tofu to this dish. As far as I know, it is the best way to make tofu that is super tasty! The crust is perfect!! You can always change up the spices to suit any meal 🙂

Before the Sauce

Polenta with Black Beans, Pan-Fried Tofu & Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce
Adapted from a recipe on http://www.thekitchn.com/

Polenta with Black Beans and Roasted Coconut Tomato Sauce
1 can black beans (15 ounces)
1 can diced tomatoes in juice (28 ounces)
6 large stalks swiss chard or kale
3 large or 6 small garlic cloves, diced
1 package pre-cooked polenta (18 ounces)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tbs. jamaican jerk seasoning
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 lb extra firm tofu
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
dash of salt
dash of cayenne
sprinkling of Daiya/Italian – Mozzarella Blend

  1. Preheat oven to 500F. Empty entire can of tomatoes in a ceramic or glass baking dish, add coconut milk, and place in the oven. Bake 35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbs. olive oil in a saucepan. Add 1-2 cloves diced garlic, 1 tbs. jerk seasoning and cook 2 minutes. Add entire can of black beans and set heat to low, stirring occasionally.
  3. Separate swiss chard stems from leaves. Dice stems very fine and add to a saute pan with 1 tbs. of oil and 2-3 cloves diced garlic. Heat through on medium 2-3 minutes, then add chopped leaves, apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup water. Cover with a lid and set heat to low.
  4. Check on the tomato sauce. Stir in fresh thyme and continue to roast.
  5. Drain, blot and press Tofu to release liquid. Slice into 1/2″ cubes.
  6. Heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a non-stick pan and add tofu, sprinkling with salt and cayenne. Let tofu sizzle for 6 minutes without stirring until a crust forms. Turn tofu over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and train.
  7. In the same pan heat 1 tbs. olive oil on medium heat. Slice polenta in 1/2″ thick slices. Sprinkle one side with remaining 1 tbs. jerk seasoning. Fry polenta, about 3 minutes per side until light brown and crispy.
  8. To serve: spoon about 1/3 cup of beans on a place, 1/3 cup of tofu. Top with a heaping spoonful of greens and a slice of polenta. Top with about 1/4 cup tomato-coconut sauce and a sprinkling of daiya cheese and enjoy!

Garbanzo Guacamole

This is a lower fat mix of hummus and guacamole. Not exactly guacamole and not exactly hummus. But whatever it is, it’s deelish!! We ate this with yummy multi-grain pita chips. A most enjoyable snack or meal.

Garbanzo Guacamole

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium sweet or red onion, chopped
1/2 small avocado, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 scallions,  thinly sliced
1 tablespoon canned chopped green chilies
salt to taste

Place garbanzo beans, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor. Pulse chop until chopped but still chunky. Add onion and avocado and process again until well combined. Empty into a bowl and add tomato, green onions, and chilies. Mix well. Enjoy!!

Spicy Vegan Gumbo

I have made a ton of soups lately (its BRRRRRR outside!!) and was in the mood for some more heartier fare. This did the trick 🙂 So hearty, spicy, nutritious AND delicious! YUM! This is a definite pleaser! This also freezes well, just in case you don’t need all 8 servings right away 😉 You can also substitute or add other veggies & greens to your liking.

Spicy Vegan Gumbo
Serves 8

4 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1  green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes (if you can find fire roasted, go with that)
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
1 package (16 ounces) chopped frozen okra
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice

  1. Combine the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor and pulse chop (do not purée).
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the celery mixture and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes (with juice), beans, spinach, cabbage, okra, parsley, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper, sugar, and cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  3. While soup in simmering prepare rice. When the rice is almost done stir in with gumbo and simmer 10 minutes more all together.
  4. Enjoy!

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: