my daughter, the vegan

Caty, from time to time, chooses different diets and works very hard to see if they will be right for her. She's tried the vegan diet a couple times and this time, she's armed with a lot more information and advice, so I'm posting this favourite of mine especially for Caty.
Can be great for a crowd when you double it! Just get a friend to bring a nice salad.

Black Beans & Rice

1 cup dried black beans
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 Tbsp thyme if you have fresh (1 tsp if you use dried)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup rice
1 large jar diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp pepper

Prepare the black beans by either slow or fast soaking method.
1. Rinse the beans.
2. For slow soaking, cover with 6 cups cold water and let soak overnight. For quick soaking: slowly bring to a boil, boil for one minute. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for at least an hour.
3. Cover with water if the beans have soaked up enough liquid to be floating, heat to medium simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Drain, reserving 2 cups of cooking water.

Saute onion, pepper, garlic, cumin, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, and bay leaf in olive oil until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of reserved bean-cooking water and add the beans. Simmer 1/2 hour. Check to see if they are tender, then add remaining ingredients. (Once you add tomatoes to dried beans they stop cooking completely!)
Stir in rice, tomatoes, vinegar, and pepper.
Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 17 - 20 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

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