Cheezy Beans and Rice

Cheezy Beans and Rice

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Beloved by vegans and frugal people alike, beans and rice are a big, comforting bowl of awesome. They are the perfect vessel for all sorts of flavorings - some of the usual suspects are cajun seasoning, pickled jalapenos, and various types of hot sauce. In this case, the beans and rice are made extra creamy, comforting, and savory with the addition of a healthy,  vegan "cheese" sauce. Corn, green peppers, and onions provide just enough sweetness to balance out the heat from the smoky chipotle hot sauce and cajun seasoning. While the rice is cooking, in a large pot, saute the onions and green pepper in a little olive oil, vegetable broth, or water, until the onions are translucent. Add the corn to the peppers and onions and cook on medium heat until the corn is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the beans and reduce heat to low. In a small saucepan, make the "cheesy" sauce: Combine the soymilk, nutritional yeast, mustard, ketchup, barbeque sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, turmeric (if using) and 1/2 cup of water and stir. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 Tbsp. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the hot cheese sauce and stir for a minute or two. The cornstarch mixture will thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the sauce. Add the cooked rice and the prepared cheese sauce to the pot of beans, corn, and vegetables. Gently stir everything together to combine, coating the rice and beans with the cheese sauce. Add salt, pepper, a few drops of liquid smoke (if using), and hot sauce. Continue to heat on low until all the ingredients are hot. Taste, and adjust the seasoning. This recipe makes a lot of food! You might be inclined to freeze half of it for later, or halve the recipe, according to your needs.

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