What’s Cooking at Food First: Rice con Queso

Marilyn Borchardt | 08.10.2017

Rice con Queso is a recipe from the original 1971 Diet for a Small Planet. It is a great dish for a potluck or buffet dinner. We have served it often for lunch at Food First. You won’t go away hungry.

This recipe contains pulses (legumes like beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas). Pulses have many advantages, including ease of storage for either farm family consumption or sale, and seed saving for the coming year. They fix nitrogen; thus they enrich the fertility of the soil and are a great companion plant with corn.

The version of Rice con Queso that I make uses black-eyed peas, also called cow peas, perhaps because they have been grown as fodder for cows in the southern part of the US. Other names for this pea are the crowder pea and the southern pea. You can also use pinto beans or whatever dried bean you might have on hand. This recipe will provide an ample portion for 10 people.

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1 ½ cups brown rice

2 tsp salt

½ cup uncooked black eyed peas (or whatever bean you choose)

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 large onion

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 ½ cups Monterey jack cheese

½ cup cheddar cheese

1 small can chopped hot chiles

In a pan, mix 1 ½ cups of rice with 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt. Simmer for 40 minutes on low until all liquid is absorbed into the rice.

At the same time, rinse the black eyed peas and cook in two cups of water with 1 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil and turn down heat to simmer for 40 minutes or until tender but not mushy. If liquid remains, drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cooked rice and beans with minced garlic, chopped onion, and chopped chiles. In a baking pan, spread alternating layers of rice and bean mixture with ricotta cheese thinned with milk and jack cheese mixture, ending with a layer of rice and beans.

Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top and bake for 5 more minutes or until melted. Remove the pan and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

This dish is a complete protein. Serve with a salad for a lunch or dinner. At Food First we have this with greens from the Food First front yard garden.

We’ll publish new installments of What’s Cooking at Food First monthly. You can cook the recipe as-is, or add your own creative flair. Take a photo of what you cooked and send us a rating of 1 to 5 stars for the recipe via our recipe feedback form. You can also comment below to let readers know how you liked the recipe!

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