Southwestern Beans with Saffron Basmati Rice

This is a great no-meat meal that my whole family loves. The lime and cilantro give it such a fresh taste! You can just use plain rice if you don't want to go the expense of making the saffron basmati rice, but it is very tasty and a nice treat.


For the rice:
1 pinch saffron threads
olive oil in a mister bottle
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock

For the beans:
1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can low sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 limes
1/2 t. cumin
3/4 t. chili powder
2-3 T chopped cilantro

fresh salsa
sour cream


To make the rice:

Put the saffron threads in a small bowl and crush them a bit with the handle of a knife (or use a pestle if you own one). Pour in a 1/4 cup hot water and soak the saffron for 5 minutes. This helps it release its flavor.

While the spice is soaking, rinse your rice in a colander. Spray the bottom of a 3 quart saucepan with olive oil. Add in the chopped onion and saute on medium heat until the onion softens and starts to caramelize. Add the rice to the pot, mixing with the onion, and stir for one minute.

Pour the saffron liquid evenly over the rice mixture. Make sure you get it all out of the bowl - saffron is expensive! Add the broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked through.

To make the beans:

While the rice is simmering, pour the beans into a small pot. Squeeze the juice from the limes over the beans. Add the cumin and chili powder. Heat through, stirring occasionally. Right before serving, stir in the chopped cilantro. We like a lot in ours.

Serve the beans over the rice. Top with fresh salsa and sour cream.