Black Bean Bowls

Black Bean Bowls

These saucy Black Bean Bowls are one of our new favorite vegetarian meals! These bowls start with coconut-lime rice and are loaded up with ultra flavorful and saucy black beans and a quick mango-jalapeño topping. A simple (and optional) cashew-cilantro sauce gets drizzled on everything adding a citrusy freshness.

Black Bean Bowls

These bowls are part of my mini-series “cook once” enjoy all week long with these homemade, from-scratch black beans. A quick run-down: grab some dried black beans and prepare them (I promise, it’s so easy!) in the slow cooker or instant pot at the beginning of the week (or whenever you’ve got a free moment!) Enjoy those beans as a side dish that day for dinner and then use the leftovers in recipes throughout the week. (Or freeze the leftovers and use in place of canned beans for future recipes). 

These black bean bowls come together insanely quickly with pre-made black beans (and those black beans have only gotten more flavorful as they’ve sat overnight!).

Beyond these black bean bowls, I also share how to use those homemade black beans in these southwest egg rolls and this chipotle chicken salad. Cook once and enjoy some kitchen short-cuts in the remaining meal preparation throughout the week!

Let’s talk Black Beans

  • Don’t have the time to make from-scratch beans? It’s okay! Canned black beans work too. Here’s how to jazz up canned beans for this recipe: follow the “black bean” portion of the recipe in these black bean tacos.
  • If you do make the homemade black beans (highly recommended!), warm them through in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir gently to avoid mashing them up. If you like the sauce surrounding the beans (we love it!) spoon some of that on top of the beans and rice too! If not, drain the beans in a strainer before adding to the rice.
  • Even if you just crack open a can of black beans (and warm them through), you’ll love these black bean bowls thanks to all the other components!

Cilantro Cashew Sauce

I am so excited about the sauce coating these black bean bowls! It’s incredibly nutritious, but you’d never know it without reading the ingredient list! 🙂 Most of my creamy cilantro sauces rely on mayo or sour cream, but I was determined to make a vegan sauce equally as tasty! And so, I replaced the typical mayo/sour cream with cashews and the sauce is a total winner! A few quick notes:

  • Use a powerful blender to get an ultra-smooth consistency. Otherwise there might be unpleasant chunks of cashews)
  • Soak the cashews to ensure they’re softened enough. Since I usually forget to soak the cashews overnight, I’ve found a short-cut: pour boiling water over the cashews and let them stand for 45 minutes to an hour. Soft cashews in a fraction of the time!
  • Use roasted and salted cashews. The cashews can make or break this sauce! Be sure to get whole cashews that have been roasted and salted for maximum flavor.

Coconut Lime Rice

Be sure to use a good-quality, full-fat coconut milk and don’t forget to let the rice sufficiently sit (covered) after it’s done simmering; this will keep the rice from becoming sticky and gooey.

A few time savers when making this rice: using a microplane (like this one) and a citrus reamer or this citrus juicer makes getting lime zest and juice quick & easy.

Topping Ideas

The mango, jalapeño, and red onion topping adds texture, freshness, and sweetness to these black bean bowls! We’re totally obsessed with this combo. A few other topping ideas:

  • Additional fresh lime juice
  • A few cilantro sprigs (or finely chopped cilantro)
  • A few extra crushed up cashews
  • Additional thinly sliced jalapeños for even more heat

Black Bean Bowls Short-cuts

  • Make the black beans ahead of time. I discussed this in the above paragraph, but having the beans already prepared makes these black bean bowls come together so fast!
  • Purchase mango. If you don’t have time to prepare mangoes, a lot of stores have already peeled and cut mangoes in the produce section of the store. It’s a little more spendy, but can help save time. Alternatively, a ripe mango can save time because they’re a lot easier to chop! See “quick tip” below

QUICK TIP

We love honey mangoes (also known as Ataulfo or yellow mangoes) best in these black bean bowls, but regular mangoes work great as well. (Honey Mangoes are sweeter and creamier than regular mangoes.) To tell if your mangoes are ripe, gently squeeze the mango. If ripe, it will give slightly. Wait to make this recipe until your mango is at peak ripeness for the best flavor and texture. Here’s a quick and helpful visual guide on how to cut a mango!

Black Bean Bowls Variation Ideas

  • Don’t love coconut? Use plain or cilantro lime rice as the base (check out the “recipe notes” in this Cilantro Lime Chicken for a cilantro-lime rice recipe)
  • Can’t have cashews? I’d recommend using the creamy cilantro sauce on these shrimp tacos instead.
  • If you don’t love cilantro, I’d recommend the sauce on these Loaded Sweet Potatoes instead
  • Vegetarian: to make this recipe vegetarian, cook the black beans in vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Vegan: same change as vegetarian and leave off any optional cheese.

Other Black Bean Recipes

Black Bean Bowls

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These saucy Black Bean Bowls are one of our new favorite vegetarian meals! These bowls start with coconut-lime rice and are loaded up with ultra flavorful and saucy black beans and a quick mango-jalapeño topping. A simple (and optional) cashew-cilantro sauce gets drizzled on everything adding a citrusy freshness.

Black Bean Bowls

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #33658a; }

These saucy Black Bean Bowls are one of our new favorite vegetarian meals! These bowls start with coconut-lime rice and are loaded up with ultra flavorful and saucy black beans and a quick mango-jalapeño topping. A simple (and optional) cashew-cilantro sauce gets drizzled on everything adding a citrusy freshness.

Ingredients

Rice & Beans

  • 1-1/2 cups (432g) prepared black beans (or 1 (15.25 oz.)can rinsed and drained) See Note 1
  • 1 cup (184g) basmati rice (other varieties don’t cook up as well and become overly mushy)
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.; 400mL) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (100g) water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice + 1 teaspoon zest (1 lime)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fine sea salt and cracked pepper

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup (52g) roasted and salted whole cashews
  • 1 cup (26g) cilantro (leaves & stems)
  • 3 tablespoons (47g) lime juice + 1/2 teaspoon zest (1-2 limes)
  • 1/3 cup (80g) water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Toppings

  • 1 cup (145g) diced ripe mango
  • 2 tablespoons (18g) finely chopped jalapeno (stems & seeds remove)
  • 2 tablespoons (16g) finely chopped red onion
  • Optional: Fresh lime, additional cilantro, cotija cheese, additional cashews

Instructions

  • LET’S START WITH THE SAUCE!: Place cashews in a heatproof bowl. Boil about 1 cup of water and pour the boiling water over the cashews. Let stand for 1 hour and then throughly drain. Add drained cashews, cilantro, lime juice & zest, water, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) to a small powerful blender. Blend until completely smooth. Place in the fridge to get cold and for flavors to intensify and meld. Sauce can be made ahead of time, simply stir before serving.

  • BLACK BEANS: See Note 1.

  • COCONUT LIME RICE: Rinse the basmati rice in a fine mesh sieve. Combine the rinsed basmati rice, coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste). Stir and place over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the rice with a lid. Allow to simmer for 13-18 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, keep covered, and let stand for 10-15 minutes; don’t rush or it will be sticky! Fluff the rice with a fork and then add in the zest and juice of one lime. Stir to incorporate.

  • TOPPINGS: Add the diced mango, jalapeno, and red onion to a small bowl. Drizzle with some lime juice if desired (1 add 1 tablespoon) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

  • ASSEMBLY: Divide coconut rice evenly among 4 bowls or plates. Divide black beans evenly among the 4 bowls. Divide the mango topping evenly. Add any other desired toppings like additional cilantro, cotija cheese, crushed up cashews, and/or a fresh lime wedge. Drizzle cilantro sauce (as much or as little as you’d like) over the bowls. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: This recipe uses leftovers from these homemade black beans

  • Don’t have the time to make from-scratch beans? It’s okay! Canned black beans work too. Here’s how to jazz up canned beans for this recipe: follow the “black bean” portion of the recipe in these black bean tacos.
  • If you do make the homemade black beans (highly recommended!), warm them through in a small pot over medium-low heat. Stir gently to avoid mashing them up. If you like the sauce surrounding the beans (we love it!) spoon some of that on top of the beans and rice too! If not, drain the beans in a strainer before adding to the rice.
  • Even if you just crack open a can of black beans (and warm them through), you’ll love these black bean bowls thanks to all the other components!

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