Rice and beans is a staple dish in the South,
but it’s no surprise that many restaurants are adding this to their menu due to the health benefits of the combination.
What’s A Complete Protein?
Did our ancestors realize the composition of these foods actually results in a complete protein? Both rice and pinto beans are supplemental, or incomplete proteins. Each is abundant and deficient in an essential amino acid. However, when combined, the nutrient profiles of these foods work synergistically in producing a complete protein.
How are Rice and Beans a Complete Protein?
The human body produces twenty-two amino acids, however there are nine essential amino acids that must be gained through diet: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenalalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. In the case of rice and beans, lysine is abundant in beans, but deficient in grains.
On the other hand, grains are high in methionine, and beans are not, so it’s a trade-off. The combination of certain supplemental foods will “complete” the essential amino acid formula, thus providing a complete protein. Other combinations of food are complete proteins–lentils and barley, peanut butter and whole grain bread, legumes with nuts/seeds and raw spinach with almonds.
Plant based complete proteins include soy, quinoa, hemp seeds, buckwheat and amaranth. Soy based foods that are complete proteins include tofu, tempeh and seitan.
Rice and beans have been around for centuries, but the beauty of this combination is that together, they provide a complete protein. They're also the perfect meal if you're working out, trying to eat healthier, or eat on a budget.
- 1 lb. dried pinto beans
- 8 cups water or broth
- 2 cups brown rice - or white rice
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- hamhock optional
- salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and drain beans
Place them in a large Dutch oven on the stove top; cover with water; bring to a rapid boil; boil for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and put a lid on the beans
After one hour, bring the beans back to a hard boil for 10 minutes; then lower heat and cook on low heat till beans are tender; additional water or broth may need to be added during the cooking process
Rinse and drain beans; place them in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons salt, cover with water; cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow beans to soak overnight
The next day, place the beans and soaking water in a large Dutch oven; add water to cover beans by about 2 inches; cook on low for 3-4 hours, until beans are tender
Place beans in slow cooker and cover with water; cook on low 8 hours
Add water and rice to saucepan; bring to boil
Reduce heat to simmer, cover rice and simmer until rice is fluffy
- Seasoning beans is a personal preference. Some us a tad of garlic powder, or a can of stewed tomatoes and green chiles
- Jalapenos can be added to beans, as well
- In order to obtain the maximum nutritional benefits, use brown rice
- If you prefer, you can add a protein to the rice and beans: turkey sausage, grilled chicken
Craving More? Check out Veggie Burger or…