Pineapple fried rice and beans (4-5 servings)

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Like avocados, pineapples are a guilty pleasure for me. Each time I eat pineapple, I think about how it was grown thousands and thousands of miles away, probably harvested under sub-par working conditions, and brought to me using lots of non-renewable fuel. (That being said, this recipe should be served with a heaping side of food-guilt.)

This delicious vegan recipe comes from a surprising source: Better Homes and Gardens (to whom I'm not linking because I hate that they demand your email address and name just to let you look at the damn recipe). This recipe was a natural successor to the rosemary lentil soup I'd made the night before, since it helped me use up the carrots and celery I'd bought for the soup. 

You will need:

  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into chunks
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (you can mince it if garlic slices are too much for you)
  • 2-3 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 Tbsp orange marmalade
  • 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

Steps:

  1. Heat 2 tsp of the vegetable oil in a large rimmed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pineapple and cook, stirring often, until caramelized and golden brown in spots. (I was too impatient.) Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Pour the remaining 1 tsp of oil into the hot skillet. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft (~3 minutes for mine). Add the garlic and ginger; cook and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the rice, chickpeas, peas, marmalade, and soy sauce. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through. Add the pineapple back in and sprinkle in some chopped cilantro, if you have it and like it (I didn't and don't). Serve immediately.

The original recipe didn't call for celery, but I like the crunch and background flavor it added. I also upped the ginger and the rice, and I used marmalade in the sauce instead of stirring in lime juice at the end, as the original suggested. The result was a sweet sauce that was balanced out by the savory quality of the soy sauce. Next time, I might toast the chickpeas before I add them in to keep them a little firmer. I loved the colors of this dish!