Vegan-ish: A Physician’s Journey to More Plant-Based Meals | 16 Bean Medley with Plant-Based Sausage and Purple Rice

I am Dr. Monique, Board-certified Family Physician and Founder of Physician in the Kitchen. With my NEW best-selling cookbook, Doc Fix My Plate! The Physician In The Kitchen’s Prescriptions For Your Healthy Meal Makeover, my other best-selling bookMealMasters: Your Simple Guide to Modern Day Meal Planning, my online course, Vegan-ish: How To Plant-Base Your Pantry and online cooking classes, I help busy households enjoy healthy plant-based eating without impacting their hectic schedules.


Hello MealMasters!  People choose to adopt vegan or other lifestyles for a variety of reasons, and they are usually related to improving their health. They may want to eliminate the need for medications to treat their cholesterol or high blood sugar, or maybe they want to lose a few pounds to reach an ideal or preferred weight. By cutting out animal protein, you may notice an improvement in chronic conditions such as joint pain or kidney disease. You may also decrease your risk of developing certain types of cancer.  For me, in addition to the known health benefits of a plant-based diet, I truly enjoy experimenting and testing recipes featuring vegetables or other plant-based foods. I also get to create in my “lab” while using my many kitchen gadgets and appliances. This year I am chronicling my journey toward more plant-based meals, and I am sharing with my readers my favorite foods, along with tips and tricks I have discovered along the way.

Next in the series of Dr. Monique’s Favorite Food ABCs is…

(if you missed A is for avocado click here)

B is for Beans: Black, pinto, red, kidney, garbanzo, lima…the list goes on and on! Did you know that there are over 40,000 types of beans?!? Beans are part of the legume family, which includes peanuts, alfalfa, clover, peas, chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans), lentils, and soybeans. These little powerhouses are packed with protein, vitamins such as B, E, K, minerals (including iron, calcium, and potassium), and fiber. They also contain no fat or cholesterol.  Dried beans are also sodium-free. 

When using dried beans, remember that a little bit goes a long way: a cup of dried beans yields 2-3 cups of cooked beans, making them ideal for batch cooking as part of meal prepping. 

I admit that I usually use canned beans, but recently I have started cooking with dried beans. Part of my prior reluctance to use dried beans was the time it takes to soak them, which can range anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. (Soaking and rinsing beans are very important in decreasing the chance of developing the gas that can come from eating beans.)  Fortunately for me, it was just a matter of time before my love of gadgets/appliances combined in a way that totally changed my mind! I have been “borrowing” my mom’s Power Quick Pot and I discovered that the pressure cooker option has some awesome presets such as quinoa (my new breakfast obsession!), brown rice, risotto, and yes..beans!  I tried it the other day for #MeatlessMonday to make a delicious 16-bean medley that I served with plant-based sausage over purple rice. Yum!! My 17-yr-old son even ate TWO WHOLE BOWLS…and here I was thinking that ONE bowl would be sufficient.  Growing boys and their bottomless-at-times-appetites..go figure. But I was actually glad that what he was eating more of was plenty of plant-based protein instead of animal-based.  One disclaimer: I did have to run the cycle twice to get the beans cooked correctly, but it was still faster than had I cooked them on the stove. This dish made the perfect winter’s night meal.

I do need to give a special mention to black beans, which are probably my personal favorites. I have used them in everything from brownies to black bean burgers.  The black beans are so versatile that my son still doesn’t know that the brownies he gobbled up around Christmas were actually made from black beans!  When they are processed in a food processor, they take on a creamy texture that makes a healthy and delicious base for a brownie recipe. I also love them seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and cilantro, and served over rice. I could go on and on, but suffice to say I strongly recommend that you stock your pantry with both dried and canned beans and explore the limitless options they offer as you explore more plant-based meals. 

Here is my recipe for 16 Bean Medley with Plant-Based Sausage and Purple Rice recipe. If you make any of the dishes mentioned in this blog be sure to post on IG and tag me!

Canned beans do contain sodium, however, so I buy low- or no-added sodium and rinse them off before cooking them.  When it comes down to it, beans check a lot of boxes: these pantry-must haves are economical, versatile, nutritious, easy-to-cook, and have a long shelf-life. They can also be used in a variety of dishes, including appetizers, breakfast, entrees, soups, beverages, and desserts (um, brownies? See below).  I mean, what would chili be without beans? Vegetarian chili can be just as filling as its meat-containing cousin. And one of my family’s favorites recipes is my vegetarian southern baked beans, with just the right touch of sweetness and smokiness.

This and other recipes are featured in my NEW cookbook, Doc Fix My Plate! The Physician In The Kitchen’s Prescriptions For Your Healthy Meal Makeover.


See you in the kitchen!


For this and other mouth-watering vegan recipes grab your autographed copy of Doc Fix My Plate! The Physician In The Kitchen’s Prescriptions For Your Healthy Meal Makeover here.


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