Ingrid Silva in Vessels. Photo by Renata Pavam

Ingrid Silva's Go-To Lunch at Dance Theatre of Harlem

Since moving from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to New York City in 2008, Dance Theater of Harlem's Ingrid Silva has used her family's recipes to energize her throughout the rehearsal day.

That means lots of white rice, black beans, chicken and steak.

While some consider this too heavy for dancing, for her, the concentrated nutrition amps up her strength and stamina. Her go-to? Rice and beans with steak. "With this lunch," she says, "I feel ready to work with energy for the rest of the day."

Here's her recipe:


  • olive oil to coat the pan, about 2 tbsp
  • chopped onion (to taste)
  • minced garlic (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 15.5 oz can black beans, preferably Goya
  • Sazón seasoning (to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 pieces skirt steak, chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • freshly minced cilantro (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp Alfredo sauce
  • 3 tbsp red tomato sauce

Directions: Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté on low heat to allow the oil to soak in until translucent. Add the rice to absorb the ingredients. Then add the water and cook, covered, until it is fully absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the beans, Sazón and bay leaf. Mix, and add salt and pepper.

In another pan, sauté more onion and garlic in olive oil that coats the bottom of the pan. Add the steak. For medium to well done, cook the steak for 15 to 30 minutes on medium heat. When it's halfway done, add the tomato, bell pepper and a dash of cilantro to finish cooking.

Mix the two sauces together. Then place the steak, veggies and pasta sauce in a container over a layer of rice and beans.

Makes: 4 to 5 lunches

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