California Brazilian Soul Bowl

Yields 4-6 servings

I love that this bowl is magnificently balanced with salty, sweet, savory, earthy, and spicy flavors.

I particularly love that plantains are used like sweet potatoes in Central American cuisine, and they serve just that function in this bowl.  They have more potassium and vitamins C & A than bananas, are rich sources of B-complex vitamins (particularly vitamin B-6), and provide adequate levels of iron, magnesium, and phosphorous.

I love that black beans and avocados provide protein and high quality fats.

I love that this dish is bright and colorful.

Ok, time to stop talking about it and just get in there, already.

Ingredients

1 batch of Brazilian Leeks (click for recipe)

1/2 cup dry qunioa or brown rice

3 ripened plantains (+1 tbsp coconut oil)

Black Bean Fusion

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
12 baby bella muschrooms, diced
1/4-1/2 yellow onion (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil

Pico de Gallo

1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno (seeded if you don't like spicy), diced
cilantro (about 1 tbsp)
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Guacamole

3 ripe Haas avocados, pitted and peeled
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
1/2 jalapeno (seeded if you don't like spicy)
1 tsp cayenne
salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)

Directions

Prep Stuff:

1.  Prep your guacamole (this can be done in advance, either the day before or earlier in the day):  In a large bowl, mash up your avocado with the lime juice, cayenne, and salt, using a fork or a potato masher.  Fold in jalapeno, onion, and garlic. Taste test and fudge with it til it makes you happy.  I like mine spicier; to each his own!

2.  Prep your pico de gallo (this can also be done in advance, to make actual meal time prep easier):  In a large bowl, toss all of your ingredients diced/chopped/minced ingredients + seasonings and mix well.

Fluff Your Grain

In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 cup of quinoa or brown rice, cover, and reduce to a simmer.  For rice, allow to simmer about 40 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed and the rice has fluffed up.  For quinoa, simmer about 10-20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa has fluffed up.

Get Your Brazilian Leeks Cookin'

Saute Up Your Plantains

1.  First, to pick your plantains: you want them to be really ripe.  Like, more ripe than you like your bananas.  First step:  the sight test.  Choose the mostly blackened plantains (which is the opposite of what you would do with a banana).  Second step:  the squeeze test.  You want your plantains to be a little squishy, but not too squishy.  The same squishiness that you like in your avocados.  Not sure how squishy your avocados should be, either?  They should give, a little with a subtle squeeze, kind of like a stress ball.

2.  Now, to peel your plantains.  It's not as simple as peeling a banana: these suckers like to hold onto their skin.  I slice mine down the middle, like a zipper, lengthwise, and peel off Mr. Plantain's jacket thataway.  Slice 'em into 1/4" slices.

3.  Melt your coconut oil, and saute your plantains over medium low heat until they begin to brown (make sure both sides get nice and golden).

Cook Up Your Beany Fusion

1.  Reuse the same pan you used for either your Brazilian Leeks or Plantains--no need to mess up another dish.  Melt another tablespoon of coconut oil, and saute your onions for a couple minutes--until they turn a slightly clearish color.  Add in your mushrooms until they shrink down a bit, then add your rinsed black beans.  Toss in seasonings and garlic.  Saute for another minute, stirring intermittently.  (Over cooked garlic gets bitter)

Serve Up Your Bowl

1.  Get a large bowl.

2.  Scoop in a serving of Beany Fusion, Brazilian Leeks, and quinoa/rice.  These are the main stars of the dish.

3.  Garnish with pico de gallo, guacamole, plantains, and a bit more green onion, if you're into that sort of thing.

Most of all, have a party while you're making this.  It's a fun dish, and the more fun you have while making it, the more delicious it will taste.

xox