Quick Meals
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Cheesy Chipotle Rice ‘n’ Beans

I have to thank my friend Hayley for the inspiration behind this recipe. Last month she asked me to come up with a couple of lunch box recipes for students, tired of limp sandwiches and luke-warm pasta bakes. I completely understood where she was coming from as I have the same dilemma for work lunches; she wanted something tasty, fresh and filling that didn’t look like a dogs dinner after day 3; cheap but not compromising on nutrition and quality. Yeah she wasn’t asking for much really ;-).

I’m not a great fan of brown rice. I know many people who eat it religiously and preach about its benefits, but to me it always felt like more effort than it was worth, until I created this recipe. I strongly recommend the use of short grain brown rice: it retains its shape and has a slight nutty texture and taste to it which means it can stand the pressure of being tossed around in a pan without turning into mush like so many other rice grains do.

The key ingredient here however is the chipotle paste: I love this stuff. I would add it to everything I eat. If you don’t already know, chipotle is not simply a name of a restaurant chain, its a a variety of jalapeno pepper which has been dried, smoked and ground into a paste, producing a earthy barbecue-y dark, rich flavour to your chillies and stews. You can find it in most major shops now.

For more student inspired recipes, tips of fitness and self esteem I would encourage you to check out her blog: Love Your Temple 

Cheesy Chipotle Rice 'n' Beans


1 1/2 cups of short grain brown rice

1/2 onion finely chopped

1/2 can black beans – drained (keep liquid separate)

2 large garlic cloves – crushed

1/2 tsp minced ginger

1/2 courgette – sliced

2 plum tomatoes (and 3 tbsp juice)

2 tbsp sweetcorn

1 cup grated cheese

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

2 tsp fresh thyme

2 tsp chipotle paste 

1 vegetable stock cube / jelly

pinch salt/ black pepper

1 bay leaf


1. Put the rice in a large pot with 3 cups of water and the vegetable stock jelly. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked. It should be tender but still have a firm skin.

2. In a separate pan fry the onions and garlic and ginger for 3-4 minutes. Then add the courgette. Following that add the tomatoes and crush to form a sauce. Then add the chipotle paste, bay leaf and drained black beans with some of the liquid from the tomato and beans (about 1 cup). Allow it to simmer slowly for 3 minutes.

3. You should still have about 1/2 cup of sauce in the pan when you add the cooked brown rice, don’t worry if the mixture appears too wet as the rice will absorb the liquid eventually. After stirring for 2 minutes, add 1/2 cup of cheese and pour the mixture into a casserole dish or cast iron pan that can go straight in the oven.

4. Top the rice and beans with more cheese and optional worcestershire sauce for more depth of flavour – place under the oven grill until the cheese is melted or crispy, however you like it.

5. Serve with a garnish of spring onions. The dish can last in the fridge for up to 3 days after.

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