While perfectly delicious as is, this festive bean-and-rice salad also lends itself to endless variation. Replace the tomatoes with diced avocado; switch the bell pepper from green to red; stir in chopped scallion, red onion, cilantro—whatever suits your taste or whatever you have around.
Slideshow: Black Beans
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2 3/4 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 2/3 cups drained and rinsed canned black beans (from one 15-ounce can)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lime, quartered, for serving (optional)
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, cumin, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the black pepper, and rice. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Add the water and bay leaf; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is done, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the rice, beans, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, the vinegar, and parsley. Toss gently to combine. Serve with lime wedges, if using.
Green bell peppers that are allowed to ripen further become red bell peppers. This extra ripeness from additional time on the vine is why red peppers are sweeter than green ones, and also why they're more expensive.
An unpretentious, exuberantly fruity, and robust red wine will suit this salad well. Look to Australia for one of its many delicious shiraz that just ooze blackberry and chocolate flavors. They're frequently incredible values, too.
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