Does this ever happen to you? You put on a familiar outfit, but you decide to make one small change. Maybe that's swapping hoops for studs, adding a fun colored shoe, wrapping a scarf around your neck, throwing on a smart blazer, or wearing a new lipstick. Whatever the change, you realize this one small tweak transforms your entire look!
This happens in the kitchen too. Exchange the herb, acid, sauce or vegetable. Or in the case of today's recipe, use coconut oil in an otherwise Mexican-ish dish, and it suddenly veers towards Caribbean flavors.
Plantains and black beans are a popular duo across Latin America. Different spices and foods are added to reflect the local flavor. I ate the exact meal I'm sharing with you today (minus the coconut oil) almost every morning for breakfast while living in an indigenous village in Guatemala doing research for my Master's thesis. Check out this blog post to read about my experience in Guatemala and for another recipe inspired from that time.
The warming combination of spiced black beans and sweetly fried plantains, topped with avocado, lime and crumbly cheese was pure comfort food then and it still is today. Recently it’s become a welcome reprieve during these cool, damp spring days. So whether you make this humble meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I hope you enjoy it just as much as we do!
Spiced Black Beans, Avocado & Sweet Plantains
Spiced black beans (recipe below)
Fried plantains (recipe below)
8 corn tortillas
1 large avocado, sliced
Queso fresco, cotija cheese or feta
Salsa or hot sauce of choice
Plate beans, plantains and tortilla.
Top with avocado, a generous squeeze of lime, crumbled cheese, cilantro. Serve with salsa alongside.
Eat with a fork in one hand and a tortilla in the other. Or my favorite, pile everything into a tortilla and eat as a taco!
Spiced Black Beans
Knob of extra virgin coconut oil
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (180 ml) water
Juice from 1/2 lime
Heat coconut oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion, spices and stir to combine.
Cook for a minute, then add black beans, salt and 1/2 cup water. Cover, simmer for 10 minutes. Add final 1/4 cup of water and lime.
Use a potato masher or back of fork to smash some of the beans to thicken, leaving the rest whole. Taste and adjust for acidity or salt.
Note: Recipe calls for ripe plantains. Plantains are ripe enough for this dish when they are fairly soft with brown spots. If they're not ripe, store in a paper bag for several days to ripen.
6 Tbsp coconut oil (extra virgin or expeller pressed), divided
2 large, ripe plantains, peeled and sliced on a diagonal (1/4" thick)
Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large (12" or 30 cm) non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sliced plantains in a single layer. Do not overcrowd pan, you'll do this in two batches. Make sure you hear a gentle sizzle when adding plantains. If not, let oil heat up a little longer before adding the rest.
Cook on one side 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Use tongs to flip. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.
Add the final 3 Tbsp coconut oil and repeat with remaining plantain slices.