Friday, April 8, 2016

Brazilian Burrito Bowls

Last Year's Post:  Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Radicchio Panini
Two Years Ago:   Mixed Berry Jalousie

Clean, healthy eating doesn't have to be boring.  This recipe is a great example:  it contains white rice fragrant with lime, spiced black beans, and coleslaw with cilantro-garlic dressing - plenty of big flavors that you can spice up or down however you want.  If that's not enough, it also has crunchy radishes and crispy green plantains (a new thing for me).  The only thing that gave me pause when I found the recipe is that plantains are traditionally fried in Brazil which didn't fit with my vision of healthy eating.  So, a little research later I found a recipe for plantains that are baked rather than fried.  I'm sure they don't taste quite as good as the fried version, but they were crispy and delicious anyway.  Since I've never had the fried version they were plenty good enough for me.

I anticipated that a trip to a Mexican market would be necessary to find green plantains, so I was pleasantly surprised to find them at my local Fry's.  That could partly be due to the fact that I live in Phoenix where all types of  Mexican and Central/South American ingredients are more prevalent, or not.  You'll have to check your own store to find out.  Anyway, when you find them, they look like a big long green banana.

You don't want the yellow ones for this recipe because they're too sweet.  When cooked, the green plantains aren't sweet at all and instead are starchy, much like a potato.  They're stubborn to peel but the recipe I discovered suggested microwaving them, which helps.  If you decide you want to fry them rather than baking, follow the recipe through the step where you flatten them, then just fry in oil until golden and crisp.

Don't be scared by the chili powder and cumin mixed in with the beans - they add flavor but not much heat.  If you like your food spicy, you could add some cayenne as well or add some jalapeno into the coleslaw mix.

I'm trying to add more vegetarian dinners to our diet in the on-going quest to eat healthy in an unhealthy world.  This fits the bill without making you feel deprived.

Brazilian Burrito Bowls
Serves 4

1 cup white rice
1 ¾ cups water
Zest of one lime
Juice of 2 limes, divided
2 chopped green onions
2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
4 cups shredded cabbage
2 green plantains
Cooking spray
4 radishes, sliced
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425d.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

To cook the rice: heat 1 ¾ cups water in a saucepan to a boil.  Add rice, lime zest and juice of one lime.  Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender.  Stir in the 2 chopped green onions and keep warm.

For the beans:  combine the black beans, chili powder, cumin and a small amount of water in a saucepan and heat on low until warmed through.  Keep warm.

For the cabbage:  put the vegetable oil, water, remaining lime juice, green onions, cilantro, garlic, salt and sour cream in a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.  Toss the cabbage with enough sauce to coat and reserve the remaining sauce.

For the plantains:  trim the ends off the plantains.  Score each along two sides just deep enough to cut through the skin.  Microwave for 6 to 6 ½ minutes (if only using one, microwave for 3 to 3 ½ minutes) until soft.  The skins will turn black.  Carefully peel the plantains and cut them into ¾” slices while hot.  Flatten each piece with the bottom of a small glass coated in cooking spray.  Place on the foil-lined baking sheet and coat generously with cooking spray.  Season with salt and bake for 10-12 minutes, then flip and bake an additional 8 minutes until golden and crisp.  Season with salt again.

To serve, place a scoop of rice, beans and cabbage into each bowl.  Add plantains and radishes on top.  Garnish with additional cilantro leaves and drizzle with extra sauce.

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