Tropical flavors – mango, avocado, citrus, and plantains – dress up simple black beans in a healthy, hearty one-dish meal… Tropical Buddha Bowls with Black Beans, tostones, and mango pico de gallo can be on your table in less than 45 minutes!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – Black Bean Buddha Bowl Inspiration
I’m really not one to follow food trends, so I hate jumping on the buddha/burrito/hippie bowls “bandwagon.” Alas, here I am. These tropical buddha bowls with mango salsa happened, and I’ve got to convince you to give my off-the-beaten-path version a try. 🙂
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you are aware that I live on the border in McAllen, Texas. Tropical fruit is plentiful, inexpensive, and delicious! Plantains, avocado, and mango make a regular appearance at Andersen casa, and I’ve combined them in a unique and healthy “buddha bowl” recipe. I have included mango salsa, fried plantains, sliced avocado, and black beans with a bit of citrus and chipotle. YUM!
🥘 What is a “Buddha Bowl?”
So, what’s a buddha bowl? It’s a loose formula rather than an actual recipe. They’re typically colorful with bits of different ingredients arranged artfully in a deep-rimmed dish, and include a well-balanced mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
At the risk of being “trendy,” I started playing around with some of my favorite local, seasonal, and healthy ingredients. Living in south Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, plantains, avocados, and mangoes are seasonal year ’round. Black beans are a natural pairing with them, and this buddha bowl has a decidedly south-of-the-border flair.
🍌 Featured Ingredient: Plantains
Plantains, also known as plátanos, are closely related to our beloved bananas. They are a staple source of carbohydrates throughout much of Central America, Asia, and Africa, and are treated in ways similar to potatoes, yucca root, taro root, sweet potatoes, etc.
A green plantain must be cooked prior to eating. The plantain will sweeten as it ripens, but it is not sweet like a banana.
Plantains are high in fiber, have more vitamins A and C than bananas, and are a rich source of B vitamins as well. They have adequate amounts of minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. For this recipe, select firm plantains that are beginning to ripen.
📋 Ingredients Notes
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- lean bacon (optional) – I only include bacon about half the time… This is a great #MeatlessMonday meal. Just skip the bacon, and use a drizzle of olive or coconut oil.
- bell peppers – I like a mix of colors.
- ground chipotle or ancho powder – You can also mash a canned chipotle with its adobo.
- black beans – Whether you use canned or cooked from dried, they need to start out cooked!
- oil (for frying) – I use canola oil.
- plantains – Choose slightly under ripe plantains. Working with ripe plantains in this method is difficult.
- mango salsa
🔪 Cooking Steps
- Make the black beans.
- Make the mango salsa.
- Prep the garnishes.
- Fry the plantains.
- Assemble the “buddha bowls.”
Make the black beans, cover, and reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Make the salsa and prep the garnishes. Set out serving bowls and eating utensils. You want to assemble the bowls while the fried plantains are hot. Fry the plantains (this is a two step process). Assemble the Tropical Buddha Bowls, pour a “cold one,” and enjoy!
🥘 Buddha Bowl Variations
- Make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon. A teaspoon of smoked paprika will add the smoky flavor.
- Don’t want to spend time on tostones? Replace the tostones with air fryer plantains.
- Replace the tostones with cilantro rice or red rice.
🧂 Useful Stuff
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If you’re not ready to try fried plantains, but the flavors sound amazing, try Tropical Black Beans and Rice. I promise this healthy recipe won’t give you a buddha bowl tummy. 😆 Yes? No? Maybe so? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Tropical Buddha Bowls with Plantains, Black Beans, and Mango Salsa
- 4 slices lean bacon - cut in 1/2″ pieces (optional, see notes)
- 1 medium onion - chopped
- 2 medium bell peppers - I like a mix of colors, diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle or ancho powder - (see notes)
- 1 lime - zest and juice
- 1 small orange - zest and juice
- 1 ½ cups broth/stock
- 2 cans black beans - rinsed and drained
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper - to taste
- 1 large mango - peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 Fresno - serrano, or jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeds & veins removed, finely minced
- 2 scallions - or 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 limes - juiced (see notes)
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper - to taste
- oil - for frying
- 2 large plantains - peeled and cut in 1/2″ thick slices
- sea salt
- 2 avocados - sliced
- 1 lime - cut in wedges
- cilantro - stems removed
- To a deep saucepan (I like my dutch oven) over medium-high heat, add the bacon pieces. Fry until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- Remove all but a coating of bacon grease. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook until fragrant and onion is transparent but not browned. Reduce heat if necessary.
- Add the chipotle or ancho powder, fruit juices and zest, broth or stock, and black beans. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to a low simmer while you prep the rest of the dish.
- Combine the Mango Salsa ingredients in a prep bowl. Stir and check seasoning. Set aside. Prepare garnishes.
- To prepare the plantains: Cut ends from each plantain and cut a lengthwise slit through skin. Cut plantains crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces and, beginning at slit, pry skin from pieces.
- Heat coconut or canola oil to just hot enough to sizzle in a 12" nonstick skillet. You’ll need about 1/4-1/2" of oil.
- Fry plantains in batches, without crowding, until tender and just golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. With tongs transfer plantains as fried to paper towels to drain.
- Remove skillet from heat and reserve oil. With the bottom of a glass or a tortilla press, flatten plantains to 1/4-inch thick (about 3 inches in diameter).
- Heat reserved oil over moderate heat until hot (about 375 degrees) but not smoking and fry flattened plantains in batches, without crowding, until golden, about 3 minutes. With tongs transfer tostones as fried to paper towels to drain and season with salt if desired.
To Assemble Tropical Buddha Bowls
- Arrange a generous portion of black beans mixture, 1/4th of the fried plantains, a scoop of mango salsa, and garnishes as shown in the photos. Enjoy!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.