We have a food budget of £50 per week, and that’s not much when you start to think of it in terms of seven breakfasts, seven lunches and seven dinners for two people. After I’ve accounted for a different dinner each night, plus our staples for the week, plus my crucial supply of coconut peanut butter, there’s not always much left in the kitty for lunch boxes. I need something cheap, easy to make in bulk and will still taste amazing three days down the line.
Luckily, this Mexican Rice and Beans dish ticks all those boxes. It keeps the cost low by being a vegetarian recipe (which means it can be stored in the fridge all week) and can easily be scaled upwards to accommodate more meals. The flavour combination of chilli powder, cumin and a little hint of oregano makes it so delicious. It can be stretched further by serving with fresh salad, sweet potato wedges or a fresh salsa. I know a Mexican fiesta at lunch time at work boosts my day!
Mexican Rice and Beans
Makes 5 lunchboxes
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add 200g basmati brown rice, turn down to a simmer and cook for 30 – 35 minutes. Meanwhile, make the other key component.
Start by sauteing one medium (peeled and sliced) onion, 1 red pepper (deseeded and sliced) and one courgette (cut into half or quarter moons) in your chosen oil over a medium heat. Take your time to let your vegetables soften, there’s no rush during a Sunday meal prep sesh.
Drain and rinse a carton of black or kidney beans – it works great with both. Add to the softened veg and stir to combine. Sprinkle over 2 heaped teaspoons of cumin, 1 teaspoon of hot chilli powder and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper, stir to combine.
Then add half a carton of chopped tomatoes. You may need a touch more than this, but it’s not a veggie chilli we’re making today. You don’t want the beans to be too wet by the time you’re adding the rice.
Add a dash of maple syrup to counteract the tartness of the chopped tomatoes, stir and simmer on low until the rice is cooked.
Once the rice is done, drain well, combine with the bean mixture and portion out into 5 awaiting lunch boxes. Allow these to cool down fully before putting the lids on and storing in the fridge.
Just a note to say I normally make this on Sunday and serve it all week, Monday to Friday, with no issues. I’m not sure if they would last longer than that, I haven’t tried myself.
I like sharing the staple recipes of my kitchen. They may not be extravagant or candy coloured, but they are nourishing, filling and cheap. And delicious. That’s the key thing for me when it comes to eating wholefoods. I won’t eat it just because it’s healthy, it’s got to taste great too. What’s your favourite dish to meal prep for lunches? Do you ever meal prep your dinners too? Leave me a comment in the section below or come over and share ideas on Instagram @boowholefoods.