Makes 4 servings
Rice and Beans
1 cup long-grain brown rice or brown basmati rice, rinsed
1 bay leaf
2 Tb chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tb lime juice
1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
2 avocados, halved and pitted
2 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley (some stems are oaky)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro (some stems are okay)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tb sherry vinegar or lime juice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp fine sea sat
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
3 Tb water
8 oz cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, washed and patted dry
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
To prepare the rice and beans: Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Pour in the rice and drop in the bay leaf. Give the mixture a brief stir and let it boil for 30 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent overflow. Drain the rice, return it to the opt, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes off the heat. Discard the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork. Stir in the cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Add the black beans and gently stir to combine. Cover until you’re ready to use.
To make the chimichurri sauce: Using a spoon, scoop the flesh of the avocados into a food processor. Add the parsley, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, pepper flakes, salt, and a few twists of black pepper. PRocess, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container once or twice. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil and water. Add another tablespoon of so of water if you’re having trouble blending the mixture. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Set aside.
To grill the veggies: Preheat your grill to medium heat. To prepare the mushrooms for grilling, slice them so they are evenly sized – use a sharp knife to quarter the large mushrooms, halve the medium mushrooms, and leave small mushrooms whole. Combine the prepared mushrooms, bell peppers, and onion in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until the pieces are lighltly coated in oil, then thread the mushrooms, peppers, and chunks of onion onto skewers, alternating the vegetabls as you go. You should have enough for 8 skewers.
Place each skewer on the grill. Turn the skewers by 90 degrees once the undersides have developed good grill lines. Continue cooking and turning until the vegetables are tender throughout, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the skewers to a platter once they’re done.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pepitas over medium heat, stirring often, until they turn golden on the edges and make little popping noises, about 5 minutes.
When you’re ready to assemble, spoon the rice and beans onto 4 plates. Top each plate with 2 skewers, a generous drizzle of avocado chimichurri sauce, and sprinkle of pepitas. Serve immediately.
If you intend to have leftovers, store the avocado chimichurri sauce separately from the rest, in a small bowl with plastic wrap pressed against the top to prevent browning. Reheat the rice and beans and veggies, then drizzle with sauce just before serving.
If you don’t have a grill (or it’s too cold outside to fire it up), roast the prepared vegetables in a single later on a large rimmed baking sheet at 400 F for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway.