- Active time:45 min
- Start to finish:2 1/4 hr (1 hr if using pressure cooker; includes making black beans)
Because it’s one of the easiest vegetarian dishes, soulfully satisfying rice and beans can eventually become, well, tedious. Jazzing it up with colorful toppings transforms it into an exciting meal, chock-full of varying textures and flavors. Not only is this a staple for my family, it’s become my default party dish for a crowd.
For roasted sweet-potato cubes
sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
For toasted pumpkin seeds
hulled (green) pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas; not toasted)
Roast sweet-potato cubes:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Toss sweet potatoes with oil and salt, then spread in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan. Roast, stirring and turning over once or twice, until tender and browned, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cook rice while sweet potatoes roast:
Bring water, rice, and salt to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and cook, tightly covered, until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Toast pumpkin seeds while rice is cooking:
Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick; preferably cast-iron) over moderate heat, stirring, until seeds are puffed and pale golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in oil and salt to taste.
Reheat black beans, thinning with water if necessary, then serve along with rice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, and accompaniments, each in a separate bowl.