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A hearty and healthy bowl with Cuban black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, fresh pico de gallo and homemade plantain fries. Make this vegan and gluten-free dinner tonight!
Happy Monday, Friends!
I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Mine was spent with my mother, sisters, and children; a delightful mother’s day weekend indeed! And incredible weather all along the way.
Today we are looking back at an old post that was first published over 5 years ago. 5 years ago! How drastically different my life was back then. But one constant has been these Cuban Black Bean Bowls. They have been a hit ever since they were first published. They continue to be a fan favorite AND one of my go-to summertime meals.
With all that love, I figured it was time to freshen this recipe up with a little makeover.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Rice – You can use either brown or white rice. Just note that brown rice takes about twice as long to cook. You could also use quinoa, couscous, or cauliflower rice.
- Pico de Gallo – Use either homemade or store bought. If you want to make your own you will need tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and salt.
- Sweet Potato
- Plantains – Plantains look like large bananas but are much harder and cannot be eaten raw. They are slightly sweet like bananas but without a banana flavor.
- Oil – Use a high heat oil like avocado or coconut
- Black Beans – This recipe calls for one 15oz can of black beans. that’s about 1 1/2 cups cooked or 3/4 cup dried beans.
- Spices – You will need cumin, salt, pepper
- Additional Toppings (optional) – I like to top my Cuban bowls with diced avocado, fresh cilantro, hot sauce (like Sriracha sauce), fresh lime, and vegan sour cream.
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to Make Cuban Black Beans
Making these Cuban Black Bean Bowls requires assembling a few components all at once. In addition to cooking the rice and beans, you will need to make plantain fries, fried sweet potatoes, and homemade pico de gallo.
But don’t worry. It’s all quite easy. Just follow these steps below.
Step One – Make the Rice
I recommend brown rice because it has more protein and is much lower on the glycemic index than white rice. Brown rice also has great benefits such as being anti-inflammatory and high in important minerals such as magnesium and manganese. For these reasons (and more), I almost always choose brown rice.
Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook. While it’s cooking, you should be able to do the rest.
Step Two – Make the Plantain Fries
Have you ever had plantain fries before? They are so good! A delicious combination of sweet and savory that I think you’re going to love.
To make the fries, slice the plantain into thin (fry-size) strips. Toss the strips with olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When they are done, the fries will be crispy and lightly brown.
Set aside to cool while preparing the rest.
Step Three – Make the Pico de Gallo
With the fries are in the oven, it’s time to turn your attention towards the pico de gallo. You can, of course, pick up some storebought pico but I love the freshness of this recipe and it only takes about 5 minutes to toss together!
Simply dice the ingredients and toss them together in a small bowl. Once your pico de gallo is prepared, place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. This allows the flavors to blend together in the most delicious and refreshing way.
Step Four – Make the Sweet Potatoes
Now let’s take a look at the sweet potatoes.
Cover the bottom of a heavy-bottom pan (I use cast iron) with oil and place it over medium-high heat. Add the slices of sweet potato and let them cook on each side for about 3 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are lightly brown and tender all the way through. Once they are done, transfer them to a paper towel to let any excess oil drip off.
Step Five – Assemble the Vegan Bowls
Now, all you need to do is heat up the black beans with a pinch of salt and a half teaspoon of cumin. If you are using canned beans, this should only take 3-5 minutes
To assemble the bowls, place a scoop of rice at the bottom of the bowl. Evenly divide the black beans, sweet potatoes, plantain fries, and pico de gallo among 4 plates. Add and additional toppings (cilantro, hot sauce, vegan cashew cream or sour cream, etc.) and serve!
Serving and Storing
Serve these bowls immediately with cilantro, lime, and hot sauce.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Pico de gallo can be stored for up to 5 days. The plantains and sweet potatoes do not store well and should not be made in advance.
More Vegan Bowl Recipes
- BBQ Soy Curls Bowl with Vegan Ranch
- Mediterranean Rice and Lentils
- Vegan “Fish” Tacos Bowl
- Satay Curry Buddha Bowl
Cuban Rice and Beans
You will need
Pico de Gallo
- 2 large tomatoes seeded and diced
- 1/2 medium red onion diced
- 1/4 cup of cilantro minced
- 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
- 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
- salt to taste
- Cook the rice according to package directions. Let simmer while preparing the rest of the dish.
- To make the plantain fries, preheat the oven to 400F. Thinly slice the plantains and place them in a bowl. Add olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper and stir to coat. Place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, flipping once.
- Pico de Gallo: simply combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Slice the sweet potato into 1/4". Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large cast-iron skillet and sauté the sweet potatoes until lightly browned and cooked all the way through (about 3 minutes per side)
- Stir together black beans, cumin, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes until beans are heated all the way through.
- To assemble place a big scoop of rice in the bottom of each bowl. Add black beans, plantain fries, sweet potatoes, Pico de Gallo, and avocado. Top with any additional toppings your heart desires and serve.