When it comes to eating, it’s hard to hit the fine line between being “stuffed” and “satisfied.” More often than not, my eating habits lean toward the former, as I tend to gorge upon a tasty meal as long as there’s more of it available, regardless of whether or not my stomach is actually full. (The problem, of course, is the disconnect between our stomachs and our brains: if we’re eating fast enough, we’ll still feel hungry at the end of a meal, even if we’re technically stuffed.)
Anyway, I usually eat pretty fast because I love food, and so I frequently end up in the over-stuffed range. Frankly, I’d rather continue this practice than fastidiously limiting my food intake (again, because I love food), and so my goal is to find tasty food that won’t make me feel like a manatee after I eat multiple plates of it.
This is a long way of saying that the dish I’m about to describe for you below is so flavorful and delicious that you’ll probably want to eat 17 bowls of it before you’re through. And you can! Why? Because it’s light and healthy and won’t deposit a shot put in your gut.
Basically, this dish (which we poached—and altered slightly—from the excellent Cookie + kate) consists of three small dishes prepared separately and tossed together at the end: (1) rice, combined with a green sauce; (2) roasted sweet potatoes; and (3) spiced black beans. Without further ado, here we go:
For the green rice
Water or vegetable broth (in which to boil the rice)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of vegetable broth (for the green mix)
2 cups brown rice
3.5 cups baby spinach, lightly packed
1 cup fresh cilantro (mostly leaves, stems are OK), lightly packed
2 jalapeno, seeded, membranes removed and roughly chopped
2 medium shallot (or onion, if you’re like us and don’t have shallots), roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
2 lbs sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Seasoned black beans
2 (14 oz) cans black beans or 3 cups cooked blacked beans, with their cooking liquid
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or lime juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Enough spinach to make salad beds for your burrito bowl
Additional garnishes (if desired, or if you’ve got them hanging around)
Green pumpkin seeds
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the spinach, cilantro, jalapeno, shallot/onion, garlic, salt, and 1 cup of vegetable broth in a food processer or blender or put it all in a big bowl and use an immersion blender (slower, but what we did) Blend until smooth. (It should be green.)
- Cook your rice in whatever way you deem appropriate. We boiled water (approximately 9 to 10 cups plus 1 vegetable bouillon cube) in a large pot, tossed in the rice, let the rice boil for 30 minutes, and then drained the pot.
- While the rice cooks, toss the sweet potatoes in the olive oil, paprika, and salt until they are evenly coated in oil. Arrange in a single layer on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, until the sweet potatoes are tender and caramelizing at the edges.
- Meanwhile, transfer the beans and their cooking liquid (don’t drain the beans) to a medium pot. Stir in the cumin and chili powder and warm over medium heat. Once the beans are simmering, cover the beans and reduce heat to maintain a very gentle simmer until you’re ready to serve.
- Once the rice is done cooking, remove the pot from heat. Add the green puree into the rice. Stir until the rice is evenly coated. Cover the pot and let sit for about 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and season with salt, if necessary. Remove beans from heat, stir in the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the bowls: First, add enough spinach for a nice salad bed. Then, add green rice. Then pop in some beans and top with sweet potatoes. You can add a few slices of avocado and fresh cilantro, if you wish. Serve with salsa verde on the side.