Meatless Monday Cheese-y Zucchini Black Bean Skillet

Here’s a stellar example of Meatless Monday at its finest… easy, healthy, simple, delicious, and as an added bonus, we’re going to do it all in one pan so your clean-up is going to be minimal. 

But the best part really is how good it is.  And you know it must be good or it wouldn’t be showing up on this blog.  Perhaps it does sound a bit, you know, pedestrian; perhaps a tad mundane, but I assure you it is not.  We love it ever so much.

Every time I make this (and believe me, it’s often), I wonder and marvel that these few, simple ingredients have created something so surprisingly tasty.  Alchemy at its finest.  A perfect example of “the thing being more than the sum of its parts.”  A can of black beans, a can of tomatoes, a bit of chopped pepper, some red pepper flakes, zucchini, some rice and the whole thing topped with cheese.  Perhaps it’s the little kick from the red pepper flakes, but whatever, I could eat it all day.

 And that brings me to its next virtue.  You really could eat it all day.  Everything in here is good for you, so feel free to help yourself to seconds.  And I promise you will want seconds. 

As if that’s not enough (because really it is), the whole thing gets cooked in one pan!   What’s better than super cinchy clean-up, I ask you?

AND here’s an added bonus about cooking the rice.  My favorite rice for this is brown jasmine rice and we all know that brown rice takes a little longer to cook than white rice.  I use my rice maker, but that can take 45 minutes.  When pressed for time, I just bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.  Dump in between 2/3 and ¾ cup of brown rice (jasmine or basmati are lovely in this).  Let it boil away, partially covered for about 22 minutes.  When it’s tender, drain it like you would pasta and throw it in the skillet with the rest of the ingredients.  It will be perfect, I promise.  I mean, how easy it that?

So let’s see, we’ve got healthy, easy, quick, simple and scrumptious with very little clean-up.  I guess my work here is done.  Here’s the recipe…

CHEESE-Y ZUCCHINI BLACK BEAN SKILLET

Click here for a printable recipe

There are so many great things about this dish, not the least of which is the fact that you can have it on the table in like 20 minutes (even faster if you already have your rice cooked).  And yet a word of warning... do not leave out any ingredients.  You might think that you don't like green pepper, but you MUST have the green pepper.  There is an alchemy that is created here between these ingredients that is truly more than the sum of its parts.  

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I use brown jasmine rice)
1-1/2 cups quartered lengthwise, sliced zucchini (baby zucchini are wonderful here)
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (I add a little more)
1/4  teaspoon crushed red pepper (I add a little more)
1 teaspoon salt
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz each) fire-roaste diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup grated Cheddar, and/or jack or any good melting cheese(I add a little more)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, garlic, crushed red pepper and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and undrained tomatoes.  

Increase the heat to medium high and add the cooked rice.  Stir well. Cover; remove from heat and let stand 7 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with cheese, replace the lid until the cheese is melted.  Serve and enjoy.

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