Dirty Red Beans and Rice Pilaf

I can't remember if I mentioned this yet, but I recently made a facebook page for Chow Bella! You can check it out on the sidebar here. It would be a great way to interact with anyone who stops by as well as give sneak peeks to what I'm planning in the future.

Here's a recipe I prepared while I was at home, which was weeks ago now. Time flies by so fast. I have been busy writing my thesis, the defense of which is coming up soon...but I still have two whole months to work on it, thankfully. Until then I imagine a lot of my recipes will evolve around fast, easy, good-for-my-brain foods. Lately, it's been a lot of instant brown rice, which is quick to cook and has more nutritional value than white. Because beans and rice together lend a lot of nutrition and are very economical, they have been on my menu a lot. This particular recipe was a combination of three rice dishes: dirty rice, red beans and rice, and rice pilaf. This is a hearty, spicy rice pilaf full of red beans. I toasted orzo pasta, which is small rice-shaped pasta, along with instant brown rice to add a toasty layer of flavor, just as I would if I were making rice pilaf. The small portion of meat added makes this dish economical, however it still lends a lot of flavor and the grey-brown color that helps give dirty rice its name. Finally, the link between red beans and rice is obvious. The beans add a creamy texture, which I love.

What are your favorite fast, nutritious, and economical meals?

Dirty Red Beans and Rice Pilaf
Printable Recipe

1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
1/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup green bell pepper
1/2 lb lean turkey sausage
1 15-oz can red beans (or pinto beans) drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
cayenne pepper, to taste, optional
1 3/4 cups water
non-stick cooking spray
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the rice and pasta and dry-roast them until they are toasty brown and fragrant. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
2. Spray the saucepan with cooking spray and add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and sausage. Brown the sausage, onion,bell pepper and garlic, then add the beans and all the spices including some salt and pepper. Coat the sausage mixture with the spices, then add the water. Turn the heat to high, bring the liquid to a boil, then add the toasted rice and pasta.
3. Cover the saucepan with a lid and lower the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit with the lid on 5 more minutes, until all the water is evaporated. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

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