Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tomato Rice with Veggies and White Beans: Tasty Meat-Free Meal

This Tomato Rice with Veggies and White Beans is a colorful and healthy dish. Traditionally, tomato rice is eaten as a side with chicken or seafood in Portugal. I made a few changes/additions to the recipe and turned it into a satisfying vegetarian main dish.

The recipe for Tomato Rice comes from Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found by Tessa Kiros. I swapped out the white rice for brown, added chopped carrot and celery, upped the paprika and garlic and put in some dried chili pepper flakes, used vegan "butter" and chopped fire-roasted tomatoes, and tossed in a can of cannelloni beans towards the end--to make it a more complete entree. My changes/additions are in red below.

Tessa Kiros says, "This is a kind of 'everywhere' dish, found on the plate alongside grilled prawns, flattened chickens, or grilled fish. So it's not usually meant to be in the leading role, but it's very good all the same. You could make it the star by adding a few more vegetables such as celery, zucchini (courgettes) and carrots, all chopped up and cooked with the onion until sticky. Or add a tablespoon of chopped rosemary, or another herb with the tomatoes at the beginning for a different flavor. And you could serve it drizzled with piri piri oil. If you don't have lovely ripe tomatoes, then tinned will be better than not-quite-ripe-enough."

Tomato Rice with Veggies and White Beans
Adapted from Piri Piri Starfish by Tessa Kiros

(Serves 4-6)

4 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
(added 1 large carrot and 2 stalks of celery, chopped)
1 small red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (I used 4 cloves)
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 small fresh bay leaf
4 very ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 14 oz tin chopped fire-roasted tomatoes)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (used about 1.5 teaspoons)
(added 1 teaspoon dried red chili pepper flakes)
20 g (3/4 oz) butter (used 1 Tbsp Earth Balance Spread)
coarse salt & black pepper
400 g (14 oz/2 cups) medium-grain rice (used brown rice)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion until sticky and golden. Add the pepper and cook until everything is jammy and turning golden. Add the garlic, parsley and bay leaf and, when you start to smell the garlic, add the tomatoes, paprika, butter, about 2 teaspoons of course salt and a little pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes, mashing up the tomatoes a bit but still leaving a few chunks.

Add the rice and turn it through well to mix in the flavors. Add 1 litre (35 fl oz / 4 cups) of water, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes, checking that nothing is sticking. Turn off the heat and fluff the rice, cover and leave for 10 minutes before you serve. Fluff it through again--it should've absorbed most of the liquid and be just right, in which case serve immediately. If it's too firm, leave it covered for a while longer. Best hot, bu also good at room temperature. (Note: Since I used brown rice instead of white, I cooked my rice about 30 minutes, then covered the pot and let it sit about 20 minutes or so and the rice turned out well--tender but not mushy, and all of the liquid was absorbed.)

Notes/Results: A great one-pot healthy meal from the pantry. The paprika, garlic and chili pepper flakes give it good, rich flavor and the brown rice, beans, and veggies give it staying power. The parsley and fresh bay leaf are from my garden (I had to mention that because I love my bay plant and love using it fresh). ;-) This is a simple dish that tastes great and worked well as a main dish. If you need to feed meat eaters, I think it would be great with some grilled sausages. I would make this again.

This tomato rice is for I Heart Cooking Clubs where our theme is "Rice is Nice." You can check out all the different rice dishes everyone made by going to the post and following the links.


  1. I just placed a huge order with Rancho Gordo beans, so I am looking for bean recipes!!!

  2. I love a good one-pot meal given all the insanity that usually ensues in my kitchen on a regular basis. Bonus if it's both healthy and tasty! This sounds delicious.

  3. This definitely makes a great meal and I can almost taste that fabulous brown rice-chewiness (my favorite)!

  4. I love how you turned it into a one pot meal! Yum. ☺

  5. I think tomatoes and rice are going to be a popular theme this week:) This looks delicious to me. Exactly the kind of thing I'm craving right now.
    I love that you're growing fresh bay. I'm going to plant some this year because they don't sell it fresh here.

  6. I love that you turned this recipe into a satisfying meatless one pot meal. And a pantry one at that! Seems like a recipe I should keep in my back pocket.

  7. Piri Piri is the one book I don't have...and I need to correct that at some point. You and Natashya did talk up a great case for the other five Tessa books I did buy...and I love using them. This recipe makes a good case for me to get Piri Piri, doesn't it? Yes, it does. Your photos are stellar.

  8. Great swap outs and additions to this recipe.

  9. Oh now this looks awesome! I'm working with limited cookbooks still - I need to order a couple more online because I cannot find any of her books here... this recipe is great, it looks so hearty and warm and it's just full of lots of good stuff :)


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