Cuban Black Beans and Rice Salad
So Many Taboos!!
Low fat, low sodium, low carbohydrate, high fiber, no wheat, no dairy.
Is there anything left to eat?
In a word. Yes. Here is a recipe that will fill your tummy, is easy to prepare, tastes good, and is good for you.
- 1/2 cup avocado, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, (I used white balsamic)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 cup chopped, seeded plum (roma) tomato
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, optional
- Combine first 6 ingredients (avocado to black pepper) in a large bowl and toss gently.
- Add rice, tomato, parsley, black beans (and cilantro if you want). Toss well.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Avocados are Mostly Fat. Isn't That Bad?
Avocados are high in fat, but they're high in monounsaturated fat, the good fat, the kind of fat that may actually help lower blood cholesterol levels. And they contain no cholesterol.
In addition to healthy fat, avocados are also high in beta carotene, fiber, folate (a B vitamin), and potassium (more than bananas). To put the fat in perspective, avocados have less fat than lean beef per ounce, and a whole Haas avocado has less fat than 3 tablespoons of Italian salad dressing.
What's So Special about Balsamic Vinegar?
Balsamic vinegar is made from white grapes grown in a region of northern Italy. The grapes have a high sugar content. When aged three or more years the resulting vinegar is dark and syrupy. Some balsamics on the market are cheap imitations, with caramel and sugar added to mimic the aging process. Look at the label and always buy the real thing—the health benefits you gain from true balsamic are certainly worth the extra price.
Balsamic vinegar is an antioxidant. So what does that mean? Simply put, oxidation produces energy. That energy stops the formation of free radicals, and free radicals destroy cell membranes.
Balsamic contains quercetin which strengthens the immune system, making it easier to fight infections, inflammation, and perhaps even cancer.
Still not convinced? Balsamic vinegar has low cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium.
What's Up With Brown Rice?
Brown rice isn’t just white rice of a different color. A raw grain of rice is composed of several layers. First the outer shell (hull) is removed. The result is a brown rice grain. Further milling and processing will grind off the bran (germ) layer. The result is a grain of white rice—and a grain of less nutritious rice. But even this is not the white rice that we see in the market. Grains of rice with the hull removed and subjected to yet more polishing, thus removing almost any trace of nutritional value. White rice is nothing more than a refined starch.
On the other hand, brown rice is a nutritional powerhouse, containing manganese, selenium, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and niacin (vitamin B3).
What are the Health Benefits of Black Beans?
Black beans are a nutritional powerhouse. They are high in antioxidants, so are a great weapon against cancer and the aging process. They are packed with fiber and protein, which means that they will keep you satisfied and feeling full for hours. Black beans regulate your body's glucose levels through the day (this means that your metabolism will be working better to help you burn calories). The fiber in black beans is a great cholesterol buster, which is great news for your heart. Black beans also contain insoluble fiber--key to digestive health.
© 2014 Linda Lum