My great-niece, Claire Helen, is 16 months old and has three molars coming in. This is making her hostile. The other day, because she was feeling hostile, she decided to go on a day-long hunger strike. Nothing her mom tried could get her to eat. Finally, in desperation, she tried the ultimate temptation of Claire’s favorite supper – spaghetti. Claire Helen took one look at the dish in front of her, picked it up, and heaved it across the room. In a lot of ways, I’ve just got to admire that because that is exactly how I feel when I usually see a plate of black beans and rice. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, and the combination of beans and rice make it a ‘complete’ protein, but when I look at it there is an overwhelming desire to chuck it out the nearest window because it is usually so unappetizing to look at. There had to be a better way — and I think we’ve found it. The jasmine rice is scented with cumin and arranged around the outside of the bowl. Inside you’ll find black beans, but these guys have been marinated in a thick vinaigrette of lime juice and mango. Toss in some diced mango, drizzle the whole works with more of that silky vinaigrette, and add cilantro oil if you’re in the mood. How about roasting some pumpkin seeds for garnish? I’ll show you how to do it all, and you won’t believe how easy it it. Let’s jump on over to the blog so you can see for yourself, but first, here is a look at Claire Helen on a ‘just got out of my first pigtails and liking my spaghetti’ day.
To get started with the whole production, cook some rice and add some cumin. Jasmine is my favorite because it has a nice, almost floral scent without overwhelming everything else on the plate. Next, dice up some mango, rinse and drain a couple of cans of black beans, and mix them together with some green onion. Next, blend some more mango, fresh lime juice, and canola oil in a blender until a thick emulsion forms. Use about half of it to marinate the beans…..
Hold back the other half and drizzle some over the top of the whole thing. If you’re feeling energetic, you can also whip together some cilantro oil and drizzle that all over also. Not feeling it? Just add some fresh, chopped cilantro or skip the whole cilantro idea. Kinda feels like summer, don’t you think?
I know, I know – I never know when to quit. I love to add a crunchy note, so toasted up some pumpkin seeds to add right before serving. Super easy – just get your oven going, add some raw pumpkin seeds that have been tossed with a touch of oil and sprinkle of salt, and let them do their thing for about 10 minutes, or until they start to get fragrant. They will still be fairly green, which is a good thing. Let them cool and they will be super crunchy – I make a bunch more than I’ll need for the recipe because I usually eat half of them before it’s time to finish off the dish.
If you’d rather not go the platter route, you can always make individual servings.
Don’t forget to pass extra vinaigrette!! When I said it was thick and rich, I wasn’t kidding 🙂
Hope you enjoy this one – it’s great for a group, the separate parts travel well to a potluck or outside barbecue, and if you want it all just for yourself it stays good for days in the fridge, just waiting for your next visit. Happy summer!! Thanks so much for reading – we really appreciate it. xoxoxoxoxo Please feel free to share this with your friends if you know somebody else who might be interested in reading.
- FOR THE JASMINE RICE
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 2-½ cups water
- 1-tablespoon olive oil
- 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
- 1-teaspoon salt
- FOR THE MANGO VINAIGRETTE
- 1 large ripe mango, pitted and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¾ cup canola or other neutral oil – don’t use olive oil; the flavor is too strong and it seems to make the dressing bitter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- FOR THE BLACK BEAN MIXTURE
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 large, ripe mango, peeled and diced into ¼ inch pieces
- 2 scallions, trimmed and sliced on the bias
- 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and finely diced (optional)
- FOR THE PUMPKIN SEEDS
- ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- FOR THE CILANTRO OIL
- 1 large bunch cilantro, about 1 cup, rinsed well and very coarsely chopped
- 1-cup canola or other neutral oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- FOR THE RICE
- Heat water, olive oil and salt in shallow pan over medium high heat until water simmers.
- Add rice and stir to mix well with water. Add cumin.
- When water returns to a simmer, reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until water is just evaporated – try hard not to let it boil hard. Turn off heat, and let mixture rest for about 5 minutes. Drizzle with a bit more oil or a little butter before serving. Chill if not using right away, or allow to come to room temperature before proceeding with the rest of this dish.
- FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- Combine all lime juice and mango in a blender, and process until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil. Continue processing until mixture has thickened.
- FOR THE BLACK BEANS
- In a medium sized bowl, combine beans, diced mango, scallions and jalapeno.
- Add enough vinaigrette to beans just to cover – this should be about half of the vinaigrette. . Stir well and allow to rest for 30 minutes if you can so beans can absorb some of the vinaigrette flavors.
- FOR THE PUMPKIN SEEDS
- Place pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet in one layer.
- Drizzle with oil and salt lightly.
- Toast in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until seeds start to become fragrant but are
- still pretty much green in color.
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
- FOR THE CILANTRO OIL
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 3 minutes, or until mixture is very smooth.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl (try not to press down or mixture might get cloudy – if you just have to, do so gently).
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
- USE WITHIN ONE WEEK OR DISCARD – HERB OILS ARE NOT SAFE TO KEEP AROUND FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.
- TO SERVE
- Place the rice in a large, shallow bowl. Leave a well in the center for the beans.
- Using a slotted spoon, place beans in the center of the bowl of rice.
- Drizzle rice with any remaining vinaigrette. You can also drizzle with cilantro oil.
Just had to add this final photo….