Recipe: Red Beans and Rice for Endurance Runners
Plant-based and plant forward diets are popular among endurance athletes. The carbohydrates that they provide play a key role in fueling the body for long distance events. Plants are also rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals which promote rapid recovery. In the past, people thought that you had to have “complementary proteins” at every meal, to closely mimic the amino acid building blocks found in an animal protein. Beans & rice was a classic example. We know that this is no longer true. Instead, focus on including as many types of plants (nuts, seeds, beans, vegetables, fruits, grains) as you can throughout your day and week. Your body can do the rest.
That said, this combination of a bean and a grain provides high-quality plant protein to help your muscles recover and complex carbohydrates to top off those glycogen stores for your next workout
Here is one of our elite runner and nutritionist, Becca Blumberg, recipe for Red Beans & Rice:
1/2 cup rice
1 can red or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce (optional)
Sliced green onion for garnish
1. Cook rice in accordance with instructions on package.
2. Heat oil in medium sized pot over medium high heat.
3. Add bell pepper, celery, onion and cajun seasoning. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes,
4. Add garlic to pot and stir. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
5. Add broth, beans, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook
uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until beans are warmed through.
6. Remove bay leaf and discard. Using a potato masher, immersion blender, or a spoon, mash
the beans until creamy.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as hot sauce if using.
8. Stir in rice.
9. Serve garnished with sliced green onions.
Red beans and rice is a staple in Cajun and creole cuisines. Traditionally this dish was made on Monday, using leftover ham bones from Sunday supper. Monday was wash day, so a meal that didn’t require a lot of effort was needed. A pot of beans could be put on a low flame and left to simmer all day, ready to eat when the washing was done. Thanks to modern appliances, we no longer need to dedicate a day to doing laundry, but we can still enjoy this amazing dish.
Rice and beans is a staple dish in many cuisines. For the cajun style, it all starts with the trinity. Like most cajun dishes this is built from green bell pepper, celery, and onion. These aromatic vegetables form the base of a lot of the well known cajun dishes, such as gumbo and
While the trinity cooks we want to start seasoning. I avoid salt at this stage, since broth and beans both may be high is sodium. Adding the cajun seasoning at this step helps to really bring that flavor through the whole dish.
Bay leaf is used in a lot of French, creole, and cajun cooking. No one knows what it does, but it’s important. Don’t forget to remove it before mashing. Mashing the beans helps to create a creamier texture. This can be done with a potato masher, immersion blender, or you could ladle a few scoops into a blender and blend, then mix back in.
At the end of cooking there may seem like a lot of liquid left, but after mixing the rice in, that should be absorbed. Speaking of rice, cajun food traditionally uses long grain white rice, but feel free to substitute any rice you want.
See Becca’s previous post for Why Nutrition Matters Why Nutrition for Running Matters