A good, flavorful dinner doesn’t need to break the bank. These Cuban black bean bowls are easy, delicious and cheap.
I unexpectedly had to go to Delaware last week for a family thing. I thought we would be there a few days at most, but we ended up staying a whole week.
We got back on Monday night, exhausted, toting a poor, cranky kitty who was anxious to get out of her cat carrier. On Tuesday, I mopped and dusted away the week’s layer of summer grime, unpacked, went for a run, and didn’t do much else. Jason went to his parents house to de-gunk his bike, which was sticky with bugs as it had been hooked to the top of the Subaru for 7+ hours. He picked up our mail while he was over there.
Among the bills and junk filers, I found a delicious surprise: the Frugal Vegan cookbook by the creators of Well Vegan. I immediately started poring over it and bookmarking recipes. I’m the worst at making decisions, and oh, this book made it harder. They had pasta in creamy pumpkin sauce. Peanut butter and jelly granola. Watermelon granita, vegan taco salad. In the end, I just decided to go by what we already had in the house and what I know Jason likes. He loves black beans and rice, so I decided to make this tastier version: the Cuban black bean bowl.
They had a simple chimichurri recipe in there, so I decided to make that to go along with the bowls. It paired wonderfully.
These bowls were so good. I especially dug the cilantro lime rice. I made some small personal alternations to the recipe, mostly out of convenience and what we already had in the cupboards. I used canned black beans instead of the recommend dried ones (lazy girl) and white rice instead of brown rice (girl who isn’t gonna cook two kinds of rice just because her Jason won’t eat the brown kind). I also kept the onions and bell peppers raw, because I love their crisp juiciness when paired with the hot, carby, rice and beans. YUM.
For the chimichurri, I used half lemon juice and half apple cider vinegar, for no other reason than I love lemony things. But don’t cut out the ACV completely because it gives the chimichurri and wonderful depth of flavor.
Anyways, I am totally in love with this cookbook — which, full disclosure, I did receive for free. I know that I’m going to be using it a few times a week, every week, for a long time.
for some tasty, cooling, boozy beverages to go along with this, I recommend:
- rendezvous rum punch – pinapple, rum, lime. perfect pairing to these Caribbean flavors
- watermelon margaritas – pretty and pink and the cutest garnish you ever did see
- not exactly a beverage, but a cooling way to end a spicy meal nonetheless: strawberry prosecco popsciles. so fresh.
Cuban Black Bean Bowls with Chimichurri and Cilantro Lime Rice
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 small purple onion
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 3 plantains
- 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice
- 1 lime
- 1 handful of cilantro
- coconut oil
- Dice the purple onion and the bell pepper. Toss them together.
- Slice the plantains. Melt some coconut oil in a big flat skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, lay the plantains in a single layer in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, salt right away, and then lay on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Set aside.
- Fluff up the white rice. Zest the lime over the rice, and then add the lime juice. Mince the cilantro as tiny as you can get it and add that too the rice. Fluff again and add salt to taste. Keep the rice warm.
- Place the black beans in a pot over medium heat until nice and hot.
- Divide the rice, black beans, plantains, and onion-pepper mix among serving bowls.
- Serve with love and a side of chimichurri
for the chimichurri
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 jalapeno
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients, minus salt, in a blender till an even consistency is reached. Add salt to taste. This tastes much better if it sits for awhile, so make it a few hours ahead of time if you can.