Tag Archives: Rice

Cuban Black Bean and Rice soup

Inspired by the marvelous soup from Havana Café, I attempted my own version of their black bean and rice soup.  What made the Havana soup so noticeably delicious was how the fresh lime tied everything toegther perfectly.  The soup was a bit thick because of the rice and bean base, and the lime just freshened everything up.  It was hearty but not heavy.  Everything you could want in a soup!

It turns out that my Cuban soup making skills need some work.  This soup isn’t exactly what I had imagined, but as I was perusing recipes, I was drawn to the idea of making a marinated rice and then adding the broth right before serving,  in order to avoid sometimes over soaked and mushy rice you find in soup.  As a result, this soup wasn’t all that thick, but it ended up being spicy, a bit zesty, and of course fresh because of the lime and cilantro garnishes.  I was very happy with it!

Line up your ingredients to get started:


I tried soaking dry beans this time because I’ve heard it’s better for you health-wise, aaaaand (mostly) because the grocery store didn’t have cans.  Anyways, I loved the soaked beans!  I’m going to make a real effort to plan ahead and soak them from now on.  They just taste so much more beany.

Soaked and Rinsed Black Beans

After you soak them, you have to boil them for a few hours too…

While the beans are boiling, start cooking up the broth.  Sautée the onions, garlic and peppers for a few minutes, then stir in the cumin and oregano.

Add some broth and the beans to the pepper mixture and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then, add a few scoops of the marinated rice mixture (a bit of olive oil, green onion, diced tomatoes and rice vinegar, by the way) to your soup bowl.  Zesty!

Marinated rice soup base

Pour a few scoops of the simmering broth over the rice and top with cilantro, a dollop of sour cream and of course fresh lime.

Cuban Black Bean and Rice Soup

Cuban Black Bean and Rice Soup Recipe

5 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked brown rice ( from 1 cup dry)
1 1/2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar ( or white wine vinegar)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onions, diced
2 jalapenos, with seeds, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 quart chicken broth or 1 quart vegetable broth
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ( or white wine vinegar)
cayenne pepper
cilantro
nonfat plain yogurt (optional) or sour cream (optional)
cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Prepare marinated rice by mixing cooked rice with green onion, diced tomatoes, olive oil and cider vinegar. Let the mixture marinate at room temperature, if making soup right away. Otherwise, cover, refrigerate, and marinate up to 1 day. Let rice come to room temperature before serving.
  2. Rinse beans in a strainer until canning juices run clear, or soak and boil dry beans if you prefer.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium high, and add onions. Saute for a few minutes.
  4. Add jalapenos, bell peppers and garlic; cook until softened.
  5. Stir in spices.
  6. Add broth, vinegar and beans.
  7. Cover and simmer 30 minutes (or longer, if desired), stirring occasionally.
  8. Taste for salt and spiciness. Add cayenne pepper, if more heat is desired.
  9. Serve soup in bowls over a scoop of rice. Top with cilantro and yogurt, if desired.
  10. Store left-over rice separately from soup, so liquid will not all be absorbed.

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Filed under Soups & Stews, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Greek Souvlaki Shack

The Greek Souvlaki Shack caused a Greek food craving frenzy in my life a few months ago, and I thought it was time I told more people about this place.   I first tried it for dinner with friends one evening, and returned the very next night with another group because I couldn’t stop thinking about it!!  So glad this place is just a few blocks away!

The first night we started with the Greek Fries….and the second night I insisted we do the same thing.  It’s basically a Greek poutine.  And as a good Canadian, I love all things poutine related.  Perfect, crispy fries, feta cheese, Greek spices and just enough olive oil to lightly coat the fries, but not be overwhelming at all.  PERFECT.

Greek Fries

On the second visit we tried another appetizer:  the Greek sausage.  It was juicy with a nice crisp-ish coating, and was served with red onion.  Thumbs up all around!

Greek Sausage and Fries

The main course was beyond good.  Every bite.  So so so good.  The first night I got the chicken souvlaki, but wolfed it down too quickly to take a photo.  The second visit I tried the Beef Gyro platter, and that is what you see below.  The platters all came with rice pilaf (amazing), potatoes and  fresh, perfect Greek salad. All the flavours flying around this dinner were just exceptional.   I loved it from start to finish, and needless to say, I’ve found my go-to Greek place in Ottawa!

I also had to ask what kind of olive oil they used because it was noticeably light and delicious.  Turns out it’s just from Coscto!  Guess that means it’s time to get a membership….

Beef Gyro Platter

I haven’t had room for dessert any of the 3 times I’ve been to this place (I also went back again with my mom when she was in town…).  But all kinds of Greek pastries are displayed temptingly along the front counter.  Maybe one day I’ll have the will power to skip the Greek Fries at the beginning to save room for dessert.  Maybe….

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Lemon Rice Pilaf

I love carbs.  Carbs in any form.  These particular carbs make a great side dish for something like Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin, or on it’s own with some veggies thrown in for a vegetarian/vegan meal.

To begin, heat some olive oil in a saucepan, and throw in some onions and shallots.  Once those have softened and turned a nice golden brown, add your rice and stir to coat.

Rice mixture

Next up add the broth and lemon juice, and bring to a boil.

About 20 minutes later….Voila!

Lemon Rice Pilaf

Lemon Rice Pilaf Recipe

4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups long grain rice
14 ounces vegetable broth
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ tsp salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook for a few minutes, until golden brown.

2.  Add rice to pan, and stir to coat grains with shallot and garlic mixture.

3.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

4.  Fluff with a fork and add chives, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve!

From:  Bon Appetite Cookbook

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Filed under Apps & Sides, Main Courses, Vegan