This recipe. It has such a storied past, it’s the first recipe I ever wrote…like ever. We’re talking, sit down and figure out how to write a recipe. It was bad, the recipe, that is. I had no idea how to write a recipe (yes, there is a method and rules for recipe writing).
I also gave it out to everyone. Why? Because it’s delicious, nutritious, cheap, and easy. It checked all of my boxes for a great meal. Not to mention, my husband loved it. We didn’t have eaters at the table when I first made it. My now 14 year old was a newborn.
This is also the first recipe that I reverse engineered. Here’s the story. When my husband and I moved from Columbus, MS to Corpus Christi, TX, we were in the Navy Lodge for so many days. We were broke, tired (I mentioned newborn – that little nugget was 6 weeks old), and didn’t have a kitchen. We got these frozen meals from the commissary and ate those most nights with the help of the room microwave – thanks Navy Lodge. This was one of those frozen meals.
When we finally moved into our apartment and I decided I need to figure out how to make it. I thought zucchini sounded strange, but hey, why not? The recipe has evolved and taken many different forms over the years, but the heart of it stays the same — a base of carrots, onions, celery, zucchini and corn, a mix of spices, rice, and beans. We added toppings that we had on hand to jazz it up.
Now I make this as a pantry meal, to use up vegetables that are almost past their prime, or when I’m cooking for myself. It’s a bit of a comfort food for me now. I feel good about eating it.
I had this on my old website and in my first cookbook and I decided it was time to share it again.
A few notes about this dish: I used white rice here. Mainly because it cooks quicker than the brown rice I have on hand and because there is so much fiber packed in here, it’s okay to use white rice. I did mention this meal is super inexpensive to make, right? If all you have is brown rice, use it — I have used brown rice many times and it’s perfect with that too.
It’s vegan as is. My kids add cheese and sour cream as their toppings of choice, but to me, keeping it 100% plant based is my favorite.
I hope you try this and let me know if it’s one of your favorites too.Print
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, diced into 1/8″ pieces
1 medium yellow onions, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small zucchini, diced into 1/8″ cubes
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1, 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
In a medium covered skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil, carrots, onions, and celery. Saute until onions are translucent. Stirring occasionally.
Add zucchini, corn, and spices and stir just until the veggies are coated.
Add the rice and beans and stir into the veggies. Pat this into an even layer and add stock on top to cover. Place the lid on the pan and turn heat down to medium low/low (depending on your stovetop) to simmer for 20 minutes.
When the rice has absorbed all the stock, fluff with a fork. Serve warm with optional toppings