recipe: Gracie Girl’s black bean and saffron rice casserole (gluten free)

One of my deepest regrets as a homesteader is that I did not sit my Granny down and write out all of the recipes she kept locked tightly in her head.  Even if they had read “a pinch of this, and a handful of that,” they would have been treasures to share with my daughter during our time in the kitchen.

Part of my desire in writing this blog (and soon to be book) is to document all the lessons, gifts, recipes and tips for posterity.  Even if my daughter rolls her eyes now as a teenager, I imagine one day that she may delight in sharing our recipes with someone special.

One of my longtime personal favorites is a casserole I created in the early 90s before I ever had a child.  I threw it together one late evening when I remembered a potluck at school the next day and desperately scoured the kitchen for something to take.  Voila~my now-famous black bean and saffron rice Mexican casserole was born.

And while the recipe has been mine for many years, I have recently found someone who enjoys making it as much as I do.  My cousin’s middle child, Gracie, has become my biggest fan in the kitchen and fills in as my assistant chef when we have family gatherings.  Two visits ago, I taught her how to make this recipe, and on her Easter visit last weekend, we agreed it would be perfect to share at our Good Friday family meal.45650_10200668027890762_19493002_n

And so, as of the posting of this blog, Gracie, I am gifting you this recipe as a way to encourage you to keep cooking and keep dreaming!

Gracie Girl’s Black Beans and Saffron Rice Mexican Casserole (gluten free)

This recipe makes an 8×8 glass pan full.

1 small bag of saffron/yellow rice found in the rice aisle (I usually use the one in the gold package that is NOT Spanish rice)

2 cans of black beans

juice of 1 lime, chopped onion, garlic (if desired), salt and pepper

shredded cheese of choice

Toppings:  sour cream, guacamole or chopped avocado, shredded lettuce or spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peppers, salsa

Add-ins with beans:  diced chicken, ground beef or steak; for vegetarian/vegan, add spinach; sometimes, I sprinkle taco seasoning in them

1.  Cook rice according to package.  This recipe works better if the rice is sticky.

2.  While rice is cooking, saute beans in a pan with onions, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper (and taco seasoning, if desired)

2.  When rice is finished, press down into the glass pan.

3.  Add bean mixture to top.

4.  If you like cheese, shred cheese and sprinkle layer over casserole.

5.  Warm in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and/or the casserole is warmed all the way through.

6.  Service with various toppings on the side.

Makes a great vegetarian or vegan (no cheese) dish for gatherings.

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