I’m normally someone who doesn’t like my food to touch, but there are some exceptions and this sweet & spicy bowl is one of them. Everything touches and I love it! Did I just make that sound a little strange? It’s just that I’m really excited about how the sweet, spicy and savory flavors in this just go come together so well. It makes me happy when I make dinner for me and Bob and both of us can wholeheartedly agree that it’s the bee’s knees. Because there are times when I’m, OMG this is great and he’s all, It was okay. This mostly happens with soup though. I am a huge soup lover. He’s not. And yet! I make soup almost every single week. I’m convinced that one day he will turn around and tell me, “I love soup! I want you to make soup every day!”. Or something like that. That’s not really how he talks.
I was inspired by this vegan Cuban bowl, but like always, wanted to put my own spin on it. I knew I wanted to fix a simple salsa and include the black beans so as to impart the spicy and fresh flavors to the beans. I also knew I wanted some of the salsa juice to seep into the rice (yum!) so the salsa had to be the layer just above. And the sweet potatoes and plantains were to be roasted and fried (respectively) in lightly sweet extra-virgin coconut oil. The avocado would have been great, if not for the completely rotten inside. I swear, every time I cut into a bad avocado, it’s like my hopes are dashed. “Noooooo!”, is what I scream in my head. And this one was bad, people. All brown, stringy and dried out so much that nothing was salvageable. What’s funny is that the next day, I had the perfect avocado. It was truly a thing of beauty. Take a look for yourself.
Anyway, my point is find yourself a good avocado and put it in this. It’ll be grand.
Trust me, this is easy easy stuff that doesn’t require you to stick so strictly to the recipe. I love that. In a nutshell, it’s this: roast the potatoes, fry the plantains, make the salsa and boil the rice. Add as much spice as you can handle. Put it all together and sweet, spicy, salsa-y magic happens in your mouth.
Sweet & Spicy Burrito Bowl (adapted from The Wanderlust Kitchen)
serves about 6
3 large sweet potatoes
3 sweet plantains (the best are the ones that are almost completely black)
About 6 tablespoons coconut oil (half for the plantains, half for the potatoes)
2 cups of rice, white or brown
1 15oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes (though I used 1 in this instance)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime, or 3 tablespoons lime juice
1-2 tablespoons raw honey (or maple syrup to make this completely vegan)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 teaspoons cayenne powder (more or less. I usually just eyeball the amount)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, or to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped avocado (optional, but recommended)
Sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel (or don’t peel) and dice the potatoes into small, bite-size pieces. Toss with coconut oil, a pinch of cayenne powder, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (I had to use 2) and place in oven for about 20-30 minutes or until soft.
Salsa: Dice the tomatoes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the black beans, lime juice, cumin, garlic powder, olive oil honey, cayenne, half of the chopped cilantro, salt and pepper and mix. Taste and adjust along the way. Let sit.
Rice: Boil 2 cups of rice according to the package directions.
Plantains: Cut off the ends of the plantain. Use a small, sharp knife to cut down the creases of the plantain. Then peel. Slice the plantains into 1/2″ to 1″ pieces. Heat up about 2-3 tablespoons (or enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan) of coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Place the plantains evenly in the pan. You might have to do this in a couple of batches if they don’t all fit in one pan. If this is the case, take note of oil situation. If the pan dries out after the first batch, add another tablespoon before frying the second batch. And so on.
Assemble the bowls: Rice first, then bean salsa, plantains, sweet potatoes and avocado (if you have it). Finish off with the rest of the cilantro. Serve.