Tropical flavors – mango, avocado, citrus, and plantains – dress up simple black beans in a healthy, hearty one-dish meal… Tropical Buddha Bowls with Plantains, Black Beans, and Mango Salsa can be on your table in less than 45 minutes!
I’m really not one to follow food trends, so I hate jumping on the buddha/burrito/hippie bowls “bandwagon.” Alas, here I am. Tropical Buddha Bowls with Plantains, Black Beans and Mango Salsa happened, and I’ve got to convince you to give my off-the-beaten-path version a try. 🙂
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.
Tropical Buddha Bowls Work Flow:
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!
If you’re not ready to try fried plantains, but the flavors sound amazing, try Tropical Black Beans and Rice. You might also like my Tropical Pressure Cooker Fish in Banana Leaves (or Parchment). I promise this healthy recipe won’t give you a buddha bowl tummy. 😆 Yes? No? Maybe so? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Recommended Pantry and Kitchen Items:
- Tortilla Press – makes quick work out of smashing the partially cooked plantains!
- Small Cast Iron Dutch Oven – perfect for frying the bacon and cooking the beans.
- 12″ Non Stick Fry Pan with Lid – fry up those plantains 🙂
- Chipotle Chile Powder
- Stoneware Bowls – Deep rimmed dishes for your Tropical Buddha Bowls!
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- 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 1/2 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
- 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!
Tropical Buddha Bowls are easily made vegetarian. Substitute a couple of teaspoons coconut oil for the bacon. Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. Easy!
Chipotle and ancho powder are spicy. If you're uncertain on quantity, start with a scant 1/4 teaspoon and add to taste. If you really don't like the heat, substitute smoked paprika.
I prefer refined coconut oil for this recipe as it has a high smoke point and is less subject to oxidation. For more on cooking oil see Smoke Points of Oils.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 487 calories; 19 g protein; 68 g carbohydrates; 16 g fat.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487