A few nights ago we were stumped and didn’t know what to make for dinner. We are currently attempting to reduce our grocery bill because of expected upcoming expenses, so one of the easiest things to do when trying to save money is to spend less on food. We are not sure how it will go, our goal is to spend $50 dollars per week, but so far our endeavor is going well.
So, how does this relate to what we ate that night? Well, it means we had fewer options than we are used to. Don’t worry, we still had choices for what we could eat. We debated making sushi, risotto and other things before settling on using a can of beans that we had bought at the store that day for just a dollar. My fiancé, Rob, saw a suggestion to make a Moroccan bean dish on the back. We didn’t have a all of the ingredients, but nonetheless we let the back of the can inspire us.
The most obvious thing to start with was onion and garlic sautéed together. Onion and garlic are the start for most ethnic dishes originating around the Mediterranean. Greek, Italian, Moroccan and Spanish food all include a large amount of both onions and garlic. The garlic was on the can but the onions weren’t. However, we weren’t going to let a silly can dictate what we would and would not put into our meal, so an onion was chopped and sautéed with the garlic.
Next were the tomatoes. Fortunately, we had some fresh tomatoes. Normally we use canned tomatoes we buy at the supermarket because fresh tomatoes are more expensive, but this time we caught tomatoes at a good price— for $2/kg. Tomatoes are also a good thing to sauté before adding other things to a pan or pot when cooking because it can change the flavor and give the dish more interest and depth. I chopped three medium tomatoes and Rob added them to the pan with the onions and garlic.
After the tomatoes we added spices. We used as many of the spices that were recommended on the can that we could, but we didn’t have all of them. We added dry parsley, ground cumin and lemon juice according to the inspirational can. The can suggested coriander and mint, but we didn’t have those herbs.
I went online to check for replacement spices and I found out that we could use thyme, which we did have, so in when the thyme. Instead of cayenne pepper, we used a combination of chili powder, chili flakes and dried chilies. I must caution you on this: if you can’t handle a lot of spice, cut back on these three ingredients. Both Rob and I like spicy dishes, so what is medium spice to us is probably very spicy to most other people who are not accustomed to a lot of spice. However, it is still beneficial to use different ingredients that are spicy to add more character to the spicy flavor of the dish.
The last thing we added to the fry pan were the beans. The reason that we added the beans last was because they only needed to be warmed, not cooked through, unlike the other ingredients in the recipe. There was a fair amount of liquid in the can of beans, so we didn’t add all of it, around half. We waited until the beans were heated through and voila! Our Moroccan beans were done. We served them on top of cooked brown rice we already had in the fridge.
Like most of my recipes, this is an excellent recipe to keep on hand when you are busy and don’t have a lot of time to cook a nutritious dinner. With the help of a loaded spice cabinet, can of beans and a few tomatoes, you can make a delicious, quick and not to mention cheap meal. Add as much or as little spice as you want to this dish.
Vegan and free of added sugar, oil, salt, gluten, soy, nuts and seeds.
Reasons to love this recipe: spicy, high fiber, ethnic cuisine, low cost, ready in 30 minutes or less
- 1 can of mixed beans, drained (reserve liquid)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 medium tomatoes, finely diced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of 1/2 lemon)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 dry chilies, minced
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp to thyme
- 1 Tbsp dry parsley
- Black pepper, lightly to taste (1/2-1 tsp)
- Water or vegetable stock
- Brown rice, to serve
Sauté onions and garlic in a large fry pan for a few minutes until they are cooked through and translucent.
Add the tomatoes and sauté for another few minutes until the tomatoes have softened.
Next add the spices and lemon juice, adding enough liquid (water or vegetable stock) to keep the mixture moist and from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Allow the flavors to blend in the pan for around 5 minutes, adding more liquid as necessary.
Finally add the drained beans and half of the bean liquid to the fry pan. Keep moving the contents of the pan around to ensure that the beans get evenly and thoroughly heated through. The beans are done when they are thoroughly heated.
Serve beans over pre-cooked brown rice and enjoy immediately.