Sauces/seasonings for rice and beans?
November 2, 2012 7:25 AM   Subscribe

My lunchtime staple is a bowl of black/kidney/pinto beans or lentils and brown/white rice, couscous, or quinoa with some type of vegetable mixed in. However, I get bored with the same sauces and seasonings (usually barbecue sauce, peanut sauce, salsa, or just plain with some onion and garlic) and am looking for new ideas. Must be vegetarian (dairy and eggs okay) and bonus points for *cheap* store bought sauces/dressings or homemade from ingredients I might already have in the pantry. I'm not a picky eater and am not concerned with fat/calories.
posted by sunshine37 to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 82 users marked this as a favorite
Teriyaki sauce? Can be easily homemade (Soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar/syrup and rice-wine vinegar) though I'm aware that rice-wine vinegar isn't in every cupboard. (It's a milder acid than, say, white or champagne vinegar, so diluting those might work, for a value of "work.")

There's a viet namese dish which is basically a bowl of vermicelli + vegetables (and often grilled meats), and the lot of that is mixed with a sweet sauce with some fish sauce and red pepper and I'm not sure what else-- that sauce could be good. The sauce appears to be called nuoc cham.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:37 AM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Goddess dressing! I get Amy's, but I've made my own, there are recipes online.
posted by momus_window at 7:38 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

When you say salsa, are you talking the generic red stuff you find everywhere? Because if you were to try it with salsa verde, that'd change everything.

And cooking the beans in lime and coriander also makes for deliciousness.
posted by Katemonkey at 7:39 AM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

A good "plain" version is spiced with curry, white pepper, and black pepper.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:40 AM on November 2, 2012

I think Trader Joe's Greek Style Feta Dressing is tasty on pretty much anything; it probably wouldn't be hard to mix up something similar at home, if you prefer.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:45 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try making Beans and rice the Costa Rican way -- Gallo Pinto

They eat it with basically every meal there and in Nicaragua...
posted by empath at 7:48 AM on November 2, 2012

Secret Aardvark sauces are tasty. The habanero sauce is great on pretty much everything.
posted by Gev at 7:48 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Plain yogurt.
posted by bricoleur at 7:56 AM on November 2, 2012

Since you like peanut sauce, Kraft has an Asian toasted sesame salad dressing that I like with rice/quinoa and veg. Not sure how the beans or lentils would be in it though . I usually go for bean sprouts and water it down a little.
posted by stray thoughts at 8:01 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Goddess dressing, or the generic equivalent, which is tahini mixed with some lemon juice, garlic, and water.
posted by OmieWise at 8:04 AM on November 2, 2012 [6 favorites]

Pantai sweet chili sauce...mmmm.
posted by effigy at 8:07 AM on November 2, 2012

Someone else on AskMe recommended that I try The Saucy Vegetarian and holy heck has that book changed my lunch-life! Though I mainly use the sauces on vegetables instead of beans or quinoa, I like that this book not only has specific recipes but also discusses the concept behind several kinds of sauces, and how to mix together your own choice of ingredients to have a) the right components and b) a never-ending list of possible sauces!

I think this book would also keep you from boredom for quite a while. Everything is easy, the basic recipes are there, and the only limitation is your market's inventory.
posted by whatzit at 8:08 AM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

For kidney beans, bump the flavor up real quick with some cajun/creole seasoning. Best if you can get salt-free, so you can use as much as you want without worrying about making it inedible. Tony Cachere's makes a very good salt free cajun seasoning.

For black/pinto beans, adobo seasoning will be your friend. Again, low sodium is best.
posted by ronofthedead at 8:11 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like the ginger-scallion sauce from the Momofuku cookbook a LOT:

Combine 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (2-3 bunches), 1/2 cup minced ginger , 1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, 1 1/2 tsps light soy sauce (I use low sodium), 3/4 tsp sherry vinegar. Let it sit for half an hour on the counter, then it lasts for a week or so in the fridge. So awesome, especially with cauliflower.
posted by hungrybruno at 8:26 AM on November 2, 2012 [7 favorites]

No one's come in to suggest internet favorite Sriracha ? I usually use some tobasco-like [Crystal] hot sauce on my rice/beans, beans cooked with tomatoes, cumin, epazote and mexican oregano, served with cheese melted on top, and dashed with hot sauce. But I'll take plain rice w/ hot sauce too.
posted by k5.user at 8:26 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sriracha will probably help you out for a straight month and then you'll get real sick of it. Do it for sure, though.

Also, my go-to when I'm lazy is spicy sesame oil (cheap from a Chinese grocery) mixed with soy sauce, poured over everything at the last minute.
posted by AmandaA at 8:32 AM on November 2, 2012

- miso thinned with a bit of soy sauce or water to dressing consistency. add a splash of sriracha if you want some heat.

- a bit of nutritional yeast, salt, olive oil, and water works pretty well too.

these are the dressing recipes the willowy attendants whisper into your ears in the faux leather-lined inner chamber of the vegan sanctum
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 8:49 AM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Sweet Chilli and ginger is my go to sauce when I am looking for a flavour change. You can buy it in most asian grocery stores. I goes great with veggie stir frys or as a dipping sauce, despite the name it's not hot at all. I am addicted to it with potato wedges and sour cream too.
posted by wwax at 8:53 AM on November 2, 2012

Top equal parts lentils and brown rice with heaps of carmelized onions and then mix it all together with a generous dollop of plain yogurt. Om nom nom!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:57 AM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is exactly what I have for lunch every day. Here's what I put on it:

After warming up your rice'n'beans, add a tablespoon of oil. (Don't nuke the oil; the fats are healthier if they are not heated, or something.) Looking at the price for a bottle will give you sticker shock, but I did the math; a tablespoon of the most breathtakingly expensive extra-virgin olive oil I can buy in this snobby, hippy, foodie town costs no more than 50 cents. Worth. every. penny.

Flavorful oils:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Walnut oil. Not the clear stuff (which is better for cooking because it has a lower smoke point), find the stuff that's brown. More brown=more flavor.
- Toasted sesame oil (again, not the clear stuff, look for something dark brown.)
- Pumpkin seed or squash seed oil, which is a gorgeous dark green color. So good.

There are a lot of other interesting oils out there. I've seen but haven't tried avocado oil, for example.

Flavorful sauces:
- Tamari (This is a more flavorful kind of soy sauce. For this or any other soy sauce, get the bottle with the least number of ingredients!) Excellent with sesame or pumpkin oil..
- If you like cilantro, recaíto is so, so good. Goya sells it in a jar.
- A few shakes of hot sauce are also very effective.
posted by BrashTech at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Red lentil sauce!

Saute some garlic (very rough chop is fine or just smashed, this is going to get pureed with the lentils) in a small sauce pan

Add a cup of red lentils with 2-3 cups water and some salt. (I start with 2 and then keep adding a little at a time when they start looking dry.) Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are soft, about 20 min.

Puree everything, adding more water if needed for the consistency you want.

If it tastes good as is, you're done. I usually throw it back in the sauce pan, adjust the salt, add some lemon, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, black pepper. Cumin and/or coriander would work. Curry powder would too.

Pour over rice and beans, and top with greek yogurt.


My go-to lazy sauce is similar to AmandaA's, but it does have 2 more ingredients:

Toasted sesame oil in a 1:1 ratio with rice vinegar (adjust for your taste), soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce whisked with a fork.


Another lazy one:

3:4 ratio olive oil:lime juice, pressed raw garlic (start with 1 small clove, add more if desired), red pepper fakes, parmesan whisked with a fork.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2012

Mushrooms. Sauteed with onion and/or garlic, seasoned generously with any kind of Paprika. If you like, stir in some kind of dairy (sour cream, cream, yogurt, etc) right after you turn off the heat to make it creamy.
posted by Kabanos at 9:09 AM on November 2, 2012

I like to eat sriracha, olive oil and parmesan cheese on rice (the olive oil tones down and spreads the sriracha heat, the parmasan cheese adds salt as well as cheesy). Adding beans as well might make that actually healthy.
posted by jb at 9:10 AM on November 2, 2012

i like tzatziki sauce on pretty much all the things. give me garlic or give me death.
posted by kerning at 10:16 AM on November 2, 2012

Toum! Fluffy garlic deliciousness! Some recipes here and here.
posted by click at 12:33 PM on November 2, 2012

Google Yumm sauce recipe and try that-it's a great savory sauce served on rice and bean bowls at a chain of Oregon restaurants. Rice, beans, Yumm sauce, avocado, olives, cilantro, shredded cheese. Insanely good.
posted by purenitrous at 8:20 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a big fan of chimichurri sauce on just about everything. It's a nice alternative to salsa.

I also use a lot of harissa to spice things up.. I'm lazy and just buy jars of it, but here's a recipe for it.
posted by creepygirl at 10:20 PM on November 2, 2012

If you can get a hold of some Yumm Sauce, it's perfect for this sort of thing. If you don't want to commit to a case, you could have a friend in the PNW pick up a jar or bottle and ship it to you to try (assuming you're not in the area yourself).
posted by polymath at 11:09 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Big, long triangles - my googl-fu failed!   |   С Днём ВМФ! Ура! Ура! Ураааааааааа!!! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.