I haven’t done a Rice n Beans episode in a while and have been getting some love on youtube for the series, so have come to put that right.
As you are probably aware, rice and beans combine in amino acids to create a “perfect protein” , the main reason why it is such an important part of a vegans diet. A normal rice and bean dish has a lot of protein but add some tofu bacon to the mix and not only does it taste incredible, but the protein content goes through the roof.
For this episode, I am making a dish inspired by a “Bolognese ragu”. Calling a dish like this anything to do with Bolognese is going to seriously ruffle some authentic Italian feathers, but forgive me Italy, in fact, try it, it tastes great!
The rule I have for my RnB series is that it has to be simple weeknight cooking. This is not a quick recipe, a ragu requires slow cooking to really allow the ingredients to gel together. Don’t let that put you off, it is incredibly easy. The veg does not need to be finely chopped, in fact, it shouldn’t be finely chopped. There is a lot of cooking time and so it really needs to be rustic and thick. Everything will cook down into an amazing sauce, trust me. For ease, I am using canned beans to fit the simplicity but feel free to use dried if you prefer.
Although it takes a while to come together, a little amount of effort at the beginning is all it takes and then you can put the feet up and polish off the rest of the wine that you don’t include in the sauce!
This dish also works really well as a nutrient replenisher for post workouts. I have recently upped my workouts big time and only allow myself one day off a week. This has worked really well to help me rebuild!
For The Tofu Bacon:
- 250g firm tofu, drained and pressed
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
For The Bolognese Ragu:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and roughly diced
- 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper (capsicum), roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large glass of red wine (250ml minimum)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 3 bay leaves
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 1litre beef ‘style’ stock or vegetable stock if you can’t find vegan beef stock
- 2 400g cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups cooked brown rice (about 2 cups dry), to serve
- Start by making you tofu bacon. Ideally do this the day before but if not, at least an hour before you start. Chop the tofu into 1 cm squares and add to a heat proof container with a lid. Add all the remaining ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, pour over the tofu, shake around a bit (be careful), chuck the lid on and leave in your fridge until ready. Seriously though, doing this the day before gives a FAR better taste.
- Now get to work on the ragu. Heat a large casserole dish over a medium heat and add the oil. Add the onions, carrots, pepper and celery and fry for 10 minutes, stirring constantly
- Add the tofu and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly
- Add the garlic and fry for 2 further minutes, keep stirring
- Add the wine and keep stirring until nearly all the wine has evaporated
- Add the tomato paste and stir
- Add the oregano, bay leaves, diced tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover and leave for about an hour, stirring occasionally
- Remove the lid and simmer for a further 30 minutes, again stirring regularly and keeping an eye on it
- Add the drained beans, stir and simmer until ready. This could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and you will be grand
- Season with salt and pepper
- Serve over the cooked brown rice and polish off the rest of that wine
- Get it into ya!
Paul Weller “Heavy Soul”
Recently re-released on vinyl, this is one of Weller’s finest albums. Go buy it, go listen to it. It contains ‘Peacock Suit’ and that is worth the money alone.