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How to spice up Bean Rice Casserole without using tomatoes ?

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Made a Bean Rice casserole with Fava, Chick beans, celery and sauteed onions. I used a little couscous spice, salt and pepper for flavoring. Then put the whole in the oven with mozzarella sprinkled on the top. It was good but very bland.

Most of the recipes on the net suggest adding tomatoes or tomatoe sauce but members of my family are alergic to them.

Any suggestions or recipes ?

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  1. Hm... my ideas:

    Caramelize the onions well before putting them in the casserole and crush 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and add them to the caramelized onions.
    Spice it up with a finely minced serrano pepper, or roast a poblano and include that.
    Add chopped roasted red pepper and stir in a spoonful of tahini.
    Top it with a combination of chopped lemon peel, garlic, salt, and fresh parsley.

    Any or even all of these would be delicious in my opinion.

    What is "couscous spice"?

    5 Replies
    1. re: LauraGrace

      Putting in a sauce like a bachamel or some sort of gravey and using a different cheese for a topper maybe manchego would probably help you out. I would probably add some meat to it, like crab, pulled chicken or pork. Chorizo, andouille, pancetta or bacon would also pick it up a notch.

      1. re: Reed422

        If you want it to be vegetarian, use some soy chorizo. That would spice it up a lot.

      2. re: LauraGrace

        These are very good suggestions.

        The only idea I have to add that might be new is to slice some caramelized fennel bulb up into the mix, too, and/or lightly toasted fennel seeds... and/or lots of butter and parm. :)

        Did you make your beans in broth, by the way? If you start the dried legumes off by cooking them in broth -- a vegetarian one if you don't eat meat -- this helps establish a stronger base flavor.

        1. re: LauraGrace

          Hi, It's a pre-mixed seasoning spice by Zinda. It contains Chili, Coriander, Cumin, Black Pepper, maize flour, ginger and tumeric.

          Listing the ingredients, it should have added more flavor than it did. Maybe I did not add enough.

          1. re: breadandcoffee

            you probably did not add enough salt! this is a common mistake.

        2. Stir the juice of a lemon into the rice & bean mix, then top with a garlic-yogurt-lemon-mint sauce with harissa on the side.

          1. Capers or cured lemon would add salt and acid to this dish. Roasted red peppers would be another idea.

            1. Brown onions past the sauteed point, then add chopped garlic and ginger and allow this to turn golden. You can also add chopped chile or a pinch of red chile powder. Squeeze in lemon juice before you add the topping. Make sure that your legumes are well salted. I agree with the above that a bechamel topping would go nicely with this.

              1. add minced serrano peppers.
                or use pepper jack cheese.

                add frank's hot sauce.

                chopped bell peppers.

                agree with chorizo suggestion.

                are your family members also allergic to eggplant?

                1 Reply
                1. re: alkapal

                  No just tomatoes. People thought it strange at first but since then I found others who have the same allergy.

                2. Thank you to all. I will probably try a mix of the suggestions and re-post the result.

                  1. Finally got a Bean rice casserole that everyone liked. It had gotten to the point that they refused to try another one. It was a mixture of the suggestions that I received.
                    1 - Browned the onions with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
                    2 - Add canned fava beans (canned variety, drained and rinced). Added them to the onions. Added more cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt.
                    3 - Cooked rice in microwave with chicken bouillon cube with a little extra water. So that rice was slightly liquidy when cooked.
                    4 - Added rice and leftover roasted chicken to pan containing onions and beans. Heated through until liquid from rice was absorbled.
                    5 - Moved the whole to a baking pan - covered lightly with a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar cheese and baked until cheese melted.

                    Thank you once again for your suggestions.