Have you ever thought about using your rice cooker for more than just steamed rice? Struggling college students will tell you, it’s actually a full service appliance and can make a gourmet meal. The best part; cooking with your rice cooker requires no actual cooking on your part. It’s like using a slow cooker: throw everything in, turn it on and let it do the work.

Our rice and beans recipe isn’t the same old rice and beans. It includes mushrooms, cooked chicken and tomatoes to fill out the dish. You can omit the chicken to please vegetarians in the crowd.

Rice and Beans

1 1/2 cups black rice
1 cup Vidallia or sweet onion, minced
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 package dried mushroom assortment, soaked in 5 cups warm water then chopped ( see note)
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups Randall Pinto Beans, 1/2 jar not drained
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in your rice cooker and cook. Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve.

Note: We used Trader Joe’s mixed dried mushroom medley which is fairly grit free. If you use a different brand, be aware of any grit that can collect at the bottom of your soaking liquid and discard before adding the cooking liquid to the rice cooker.